We all have numerous choices in America. It’s one of the trademarks of a Capitalistic society. Grocery stores confuse me and I tend to stay out of department stores for fear of getting lost. If I visit Amazon.com or any one of thousands of online stores (millions?) I’m struck by the plethora of choices I face.
So why is it that when I vote in America, I’m dumbfounded by the lack of choice?
Let’s see; I can choose a Democrat…or a Republican…a Democrat…or a Republican…a Democrat…or a Republican.
Some choice. It’s like voting for the devil or his twin brother. And always it makes me feel discouraged, as if knowing that neither choice will bring the change I hope for locally and in Washington. I’ll be forty-three years old on Wednesday, July 14th, and having voted for twenty-five years, I come to find that I’ve never voted for anyone I thought was a good choice.
Sure, I voted for President Obama like so many other people, but not because he was a Democrat…like so many other people. For me, it was because he seemed more of an Independent than a Democrat, while McCain just seemed old. I come to find out that he really is a Democrat; complete with all of the trappings of that party. Got a crisis? He asks himself, “what would a Democrat do?” Recession? What would a Democrat do? War? What would a Democrat do?
It turns out, Democrats aren’t much different from Republicans. Sure, their ideologies are worlds apart, but the way they actually govern isn’t. In practical terms, there’s only one ideology that governs in Washington; Incumbency.
It’s more than just an individual thing, too. If that were all it were, I wouldn’t feel so cheated at the poll. One man’s ideology is his right, and in many cases, can be honorable. But a political party’s ideology? That’s a different thing. When a mass of humanity clusters, and then jostles for power collectively, their opponents become enemies. And every seat of power becomes something to win and then to hold on to, as if owned. Along the way, the issues of our day meet the differing ideologies, and often become secondary to the struggle for power.
Such is the state of our union; this glorious union of the States of America.
The state of our union is corrupt; dominated by two political parties who weren’t even in existence when our Constitution was written. Those two parties are almost wholly funded by Corporate or special interests; many of those even foreign interests. It’s become so bad in these last years that in a decision between special interests and the interests of the citizens of America, special interests always win. It doesn’t matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in power; if there is legislation to be written, Las Vegas bets that Corporate and Special interests will be favored. If indeed there were a “line” on the legislation, the odds for special interests or corporate interests would be two-to-one while the odds against normal citizens would be 50:1. That’s what money buys you, and money owns and operates Democrats and Republicans.
So when I vote this fall for a governor, a senator, and a congressional seat, I’ll be choosing between two parties who really only represent one interest; the corporations or special interests who gave the most money. Sure, if I had a billion dollars to give these folks I could buy legislation, too. But that’s not the way our system is supposed to work!
I’m supposed to have choices! This is America, for God’s sake! But time after time, the choice I’m left with is (R) or (D). Like I said, some choice.
It’s not a choice. It has the illusion of choice, but it’s not really a choice. If it were, we might be able to trust a politician when he says he’s an outsider and he’ll change things. But when I look at that guy and see a (D) or an (R) behind his name, I know that no change is coming. That guy is a Democrat, or a Republican. If you think he’s suddenly going to have new ideas and new values, you are crazy. I’ve been watching these guys for twenty-five years. I’ve been waiting for the guy who actually carried the mantel that went with the words for that long. I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard all of the “I’m different!” speeches that I care to. I heard the first words out President Obama’s mouth the night he won the White House, “Change has come to America!”
No, it hasn’t. I knew then that it hadn’t. I liked the guy, but I knew then that change was at least another four years away, and probably a lot longer than that.
You see, it’s as I said. I’ve heard all of the speeches. In 2000, George W. Bush ran as a Washington outsider. In 1992, it was Bill Clinton. In 1980, it was Reagan. And on and on and on. Change? Washington isn’t the problem.
It’s the two political parties that are. It’s these two massive corporations that recycle the same, tired rhetoric year after year, election after election. “Vote for me! I’m different! I’ll bring change to Washington!” (R)
“Vote for me! I’ll change the way Washington operates!” (D)
See? That’s not a choice. It’s the same thing. It’s two massive corporations controlling every aspect of America, and each one is determined to have you believe that they will change what’s wrong in Washington. There’s nothing so wrong in Washington that a well placed tactical nuke hitting both party conventions couldn’t solve in an instant.
Did I say that out loud? May it never happen, because in America, we don’t solve problems that way. We solve them at the polls. Which leads me to the point of this entire article.
What America needs is not a third party. Sorry Tea Party, but you are Republican Lite. We need another one of those like we need a Second Great Depression.
What America needs is a new, yet old, philosophy. We need to start anew the idea that we can govern ourselves without the help of political parties or a ruling class. That’s what political parties are, you know; a ruling elite, without whom America would be lost; or so they would have us believe.
I find great solace in the fact that America won its independence and wrote its original constitution entirely without the help of a political party, or a class of ruling elite. Farmers, doctors, business men, soldiers, and inventors wrote our constitution. The self-made and the self-educated partook in the process. Today, our process is dominated by cookie-cutter, inside-of-the-box, centuries-old, obsolete ideology, and by money. It’s time to change that.
If you want change, you aren’t going to find it with an (R) or a (D) behind its name. That means you probably won’t find it this fall. Sure, Republicans hope to win huge victories this November, but those victories won’t represent change for you and me; only change for the party elite. Even regular Americans who support the Republicans cannot realistically expect anything to change in Washington after the elections. That’s because you can’t clean a baby with dirty bath water, and the bath water in Washington is completely polluted by Republicans and Democrats. They are part of the problem; one with it, in essence. Expecting them to change it in a way that favors American citizens who don’t contribute to their campaigns is like asking the mafia to police themselves.
If you want change, you are going to bring it about yourself. Look within yourself; look within your neighborhoods and your towns. And for God’s sake, don’t look within the two parties. Find an Independent, or become one. Run for office Independently. Do it locally, or, if you can get the funding, do it nationally. Change won’t come easily, and it won’t come all at once. But it won’t come at all if we keep making the same choices we’ve always made.
It turns out, those choices weren’t really choices at all.