By Ron VandenBoom
Americans may like to think they have a two-party system, but you don't have to search very far to learn that there are actually more than just two political parties in the United States.
The best known and largest of the third parties is the Reform Party located at www.reformparty.org.
Interestingly enough, the reform party web site is one of the best of all the national party sites I've found both in completeness and in neatness.
The site has conveniently categorized the party material into easy to find sections with headers that actually make sense. Surfers should have no difficulty finding the information they are looking for. The headers include Principles and Issues, Support and Volunteer, News and Views, States and Contacts, Committees and Events. There is also a section on the media and on the candidates.
Under each header are subjects that again are broken down into areas more specific to the interests of the surfer.
The overall effect is one of neatness and organization that was designed with the visitor in mind.
This was a quality I found less effective on the web sites of the major political parties.
The party also has provided red bullets to indicate which of the items on the site are new or updated areas and which are old.
It may be interesting to note that while the major parties appear less organized and the Reform party appears organized, the opposite appears to be the case off the web.
The system of organization continues whether you are looking for a specific candidate or simply checking out the latest party news or making an on line donation to the cause.
Also on the third party list is the Libertarian Party.
Libertarians are mistakenly often thought to be a radical right wing political party. They are, indeed, somewhat radical when compared to the more traditional, business-as-usual, mainstream, Republican and Democratic parties, but I find nothing about the party philosophy that would even hint at being right wing.
Libertarians promote individual rights and liberties and advocate an end to the war on drugs, an end to income taxes, and in their own words are pro-choice on everything.
It is a basic your-rights-end-at-the-tip-of-my-nose political party that, indeed, appears radical by today's standards. In fact, all other political parties seem to veer either right or left from the libertarian viewpoint.
The web site, located at www.lp.org., is simple and provides surfers with one of the more interesting features I've found on political web sites the "Are You a Libertarian" quiz. Also called the "world's Smallest Political Quiz."
The quiz asks questions about how visitors feel regarding a military draft, government control of radio, TV, the press or the Internet, repealing drug laws, taxes, foreign aid, and government subsidies to name just a few.
Your answers are then compiled and you are rated as a Libertarian, left liberal, moderate, right conservative or authoritarian.
The site also provides the philosophy and positions of the party on other issues as well as links to various state sites.
Just so you don't forget, other political parties include the Green Party, the Independent Party, The American Party, the Constitution Party, Socialist Party, the Natural Law Party, and even the Internet Party.
I have not taken the time to investigate all of these yet, but I suspect that before too long I will. I encourage you to do the same. It's not that you, the surfer, need to join any political party, but at least take advantage of the Internet to check them out and broaden your educational understanding.