People who run for public office as Independents or under the banner of parties of lesser prominance, that is, not as Republicans or Democrats, can be admired for at least trying to make a difference.

Craig S. O’Dear of Kansas City is not a run-of-the-mill candidate of a third-, or fourth- or fifth-tier political party. In fact, he’s a nonparty candidate who is running as an Independent. We heard him speak at the recent Missouri Press Association convention in St. Louis. He left some lasting impressions. He stopped by The Missourian one afternoon last week. He has a campaign staff, but no handlers were with him. He was campaigning by himself.  One of his campaign-appealing stances is that “Congress Is Broken” and it’s because of the unyielding loyalty to a political party. He believes it has gotten to the point where it has seriously damaged the workings of Congress, endangers our government and is wounding the country.

We believe in the party system in our government, but we don’t have any confidence in some of their members who hold public office. Some of them are outright dangerous to America’s health. Too many radicals have control of the party’s leadership.

O’Dear wants to help fix the problem as he sees it. He believes the problem can’t be fixed by a Democrat or a Republican because of party loyalty, which means bowing to the leadership on demand.

We just witnessed an example of the problem — the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh. It was an extreme example. It turned out to be a political donnybrook, a political free-for-all, adding sex to enrich the search and destroy mission by the Democrats in an attempt to ruin a judge with a solid reputation in law with the aim to kill his chances of being confirmed for a U.S. Supreme Court seat.

There’s always been political parties in our governmental process since the union was formed and nastiness has been around for a long time, but the issues of the times have been breeding grounds for extremists in both parties, which has produced a bitterness and repulsive stench that leaves no room for compromises. The Kavanaugh confirmation hearing room had an air of hatefulness between party members. It was distasteful, even disgusting.  

Back to Craig O’Dear. He is a highly successful lawyer who also has an engineering degree. Why get into politics? “I feel what is going on is a threat to the country, and I feel it is time to step up and speak . . . time to try to make a difference.” Once a Republican, O’Dear left the party because of what he saw happening. He didn’t just jump in immediately. He gave it much thought, talked to people and finally decided to take the leap as an Independent. To date he has used social media and newspapers to get his words out and if enough money can be had, he will do some TV advertising in the final weeks before the November election. But he doesn’t plan to attack the candidates he is opposing. He said he doesn’t believe in going negative against the other candidates.

Running as an Independent is an uphill journey. But Independents have been elected. O’Dear is refreshing among the candidates. If elected he’s not going to be able to do much to make a difference until more Independents are elected. To buck the party system takes guts. O’Dear believes in term limits for U.S. senators, such as 12 years as the limit.

If elected, “I don’t want to die while in the Senate.” He doesn’t believe in the office as a lifetime position for himself or anybody else.

He isn’t expected to win, which is the case with anybody who runs as an Independent. But he is speaking out about the ills in government.