I've never been a fan of the two-party system. However, I've also come to the conclusion that a one-party system is even worse. And we kind of have that in Utah. A lot of the candidates for local office are uncontested, except in primaries by members of the same party. As a result, I've done things like registered as a Republican just vote in a primary, and even maintained my GOP registration for months at a time, just so that I have a voice.
But, because I'm an activist at heart, and because a two-party system would be something of an upgrade locally and in our state in general, I've finally gone over to the dark side. I attended the neighborhood caucus for the Utah Democrats, and volunteered to be a precinct chair. I am a delegate to the state convention tomorrow (and excited to see the caucus-convention system in action), and I've volunteered to be a legislative representative, along with two others.
While I don't subscribe to the idea that we all fit neatly into the camps of Republicans and Democrats, and I think our political system needs more nuance, I also subscribe to realism. And I like to be involved and feel like I'm doing something worthwhile for society. (My husband is a one-on-one type of person. He likes helping individuals while I focus on activism and wider swaths of people. He makes deeper connections with people than I do, but I get more worked up about the ills of society at large.)
Realistically, aligning myself with Utah Democrats allows me to encourage a diversity of ideas in the state, while still allowing me to associate with a party whose stated ideals of progressivism and liberalism are more in line with my priorities than another (although some might say there is little to choose between two parties both beholden to corporate interests).
Is it my ideal political involvement? No. But it's a good start, and I can be passionate about it on the local level, especially since, at this level, there is a dearth of challenges to the status quo, and local Democrats have the chance to offer an alternative.