Greetings! I’m Marcia Ford — journalist, writing guru, blogger, and author of We the Purple: Faith, Politics and the Independent Voter. Oh, and I’m a Christian, an evangelical no less. Ordinarily, I’d withhold that last bit of information for a while; I’d rather have people get to know me before they make wild and crazy assumptions about who I am based on my faith. But we’re blogging here, and that means we need to get right to the point.

Which is this: you cannot presume to judge a person’s politics by the church they attend. That’s truer than ever today, thanks to a variety of reasons: disenchantment with partisanship in the church; more open dialogue about faith and politics, largely taking place in cyberspace; and a greater freedom to question and challenge religious authority.

And yet, as recently as three years ago, I was pegged a Republican solely on the basis of the church I attended. Ironically, at the same time but several hundred miles away, I was pegged a Democrat because I chose to spend several days at a particular retreat center. There I was, a die-hard independent, with the stench of partisanship all over me. I would have none of that. The only way I knew to cleanse myself was to write We the Purple — and walk away from church for a good long time.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging not just about the relationship between faith and politics from an independent perspective but also about independents in general, particularly those who are politically active, savvy, and making a difference despite the major parties’ attempts to keep them from doing so.

I’ll look at who independents are and what they want, the areas of agreement that enable them to work together, and how the Internet has fueled the growth of the independent movement and related grassroots activism. And I’ll show how the two major parties attempt to suppress voter turnout, as well as use two specific hot-button issues to manipulate the religious vote. Finally, I’ll take a look at transpartisanism, a growing effort to bring major parties, third parties and independents to the table to work together on solutions to our nation’s many problems.

It’s a truly exciting time to be an independent, and not just because politicians are courting us more than ever before. We have the opportunity today to bring about radical political reform, from a position outside the two-party system — the only place genuine reform is likely to occur.

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