Created on Thursday, 06 August 2009 17:59
Written by ddjango .
Reclaiming the Vote
In my previous post (Oblahma: Time for a Moratorium on Talk), I asked, "If there is no really discernible difference between the real agendas of the Democratic and Republican parties, what do we do about the prospect of elections in 2010 and 2012?" Let me suggest a partial response to the question ...
There is strong evidence at present that, in spite of the anger in the electorate, our choices are more limited than ever before and it will take an enormous amount of work on the part of the disenfranchised to create the necessary movement that will create cohesion around specific principles, goals, and strategies, that will result in breaking the status quo stranglehold.
Such a movement is as critical as it is nearly impossible.
As one who has several times over the past decade directly agitated for a coalition of the various "parties of the Left" under a negotiated consensus platform, I find that that same Left and its parties have been further marginalized. In some cases that marginalization even takes the form of vilification, as the tide of the radical liberalism called "libertarianism" has gained momentum in reaction to the increased unveiling of the one world government and economic system agenda. The core of the traditional American Left - democratic socialism - has been all but crushed by the call for small government and the insistence of the supremacy of individual rights.
Please do not assume that I advocate the further suppression of the right to choose how to live or what to study or what to believe or whom to love. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just happen to believe that there is such a thing as truly democratic socialism and that, under such an umbrella, freedom, rights, and community can co-exist - thus generating a societal equanimity that is vibrant and inclusive.
My rejection of liberal radicalism/libertarianism and anarchism as solutions is based on my impression that in the United States, the Land of Selfish Narcissism, embracing the fundamental libertarian program (if there really is such a thing) can only lead to an irreparable and destructive breakdown of society and the rise of chaos and violence as individual rights clash with common community values that would strengthen us as a people and as a nation. I must simply refer you to the Einstein quote invoked in the title banner of this humble blog.
To further clarify: a sense of common purpose should tolerate, celebrate, and encourage a diversity of ideologies and beliefs, while insisting on a consensus in melding and molding that diversity into a system of laws and other socio-economic practices and limitations. Unfortunately, at present, we seem incapable of such an attitude, as each ideological group seems bent on crushing different views and attaining total rule and power based only on its own ideals and agenda. A balanced ecology is impossible under such conditions - even a forest of giant sequoias would die if it did not include a great myriad of other species in symbiosis.
In short, just because an idea is old it is not necessarily invalid. So I remind you that your freedom to shoot a gun ends at the border of my body, my family's, my friends', and my possessions.
Now to the vote. I have not voted for a candidate for national office - president, senator, or congressperson, for many years. I did work on Kucinich's 2004 campaign until it obviously was hopeless. I have not voted for a simple reason: The candidates eligible to receive my vote in those elections did not in any way represent my values. Period.
For still far too many Americans, voting is the only direct opportunity to practice popular democracy of which they take advantage. The vote, however, should not be the goal. For by the time a vote is cast, at least in national office elections, the winner is usually already decided by the forces of finance and corporate media, the Coleman-Franken "race" notwithstanding. I refuse to vote in a rigged beauty contest. I'd rather vote for a drooling, inarticulate hunchback if she represented my values, than for a well-dressed, well-spoken, handsome man who can read a script without giving the finger to the audience.
Voting, at best, should be the last step in a process that demands many steps. To vote based on a pre-selection by elitist forces of two foes whose agenda is much the same, after "campaigns" that are cynical spectacles of circus and infotainment is a crime against democracy and society. Campaigns should be a discussion of values and goals, not arguments about cosmetics.
We currently have two chances, in 2010 and 2012, the latter of which I fear may be the final election we experience for a very long time, to regain our democracy and our self-rule. We have two chances - no more - to bring down the entrenched Establishment of the "two-party" corporate monopoly over our nation. I urge those who still cling to the dominant parties to simply abandon them, rejecting any further attempt to "reform" them. It will not happen, especially in the Democratic Party, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group coalition of the ruling elite. We must at least recognize that in the post-political, fascist national environment, "bi-partisan" does not really define a discussion between two opposing forces, but an unruly bar fight among people who are really pretty much on the same side.
I also maintain that attempting to energize existing third parties, such as the Libertarians and the Greens, is futile - although I suspect that both may gain some congressional seats in 2010. Perhaps that would be a good start, but would not be enough. A party will not create a movement; movements, however, can create parties and those parties can attract a plurality of candidates and voters if they embrace a consensus of value and purpose. Such a convergence, by the way, can only be successful within a framework of complete freedom of expression and tolerance of divergent viewpoints, rather than intolerant restrictions of ideology.
We have to figure out where we want to go as a nation (or even if we want to be a nation) before we can decide anew what common values we have and how we want to pursue them.
Above all, we must be at and about peace.