Politics is not what happens on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Real politics is the process of arguing about how we want to live. In America that happens over dinner with our families, over drinks with our friends, over the water cooler at work (if you still have a job).
What happens on Election Day is a circus, a farcical distraction meant to siphon away the vitality of real politics.
Real politics is dangerous. Real politics, as we saw in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, can actually change things.
The two-party system is a twisted con based on fear. If you don’t vote for Party A then Party B, which is slightly more evil, will win. If “your” Party A wins, all you get is the dubious, incremental pseudo-victory of somewhat less suckiness. But Party A gets something infinitely more valuable: political legitimacy and the right to claim a mandate for policies that you mostly dislike.
“Hey, you elected them.”
“You got the government you deserve.”
Not at all.
It’s a terrible, lopsided bargain. You get little to nothing. They use your vote to justify their policies:
One war after another.
Wasting your tax dollars.
(Notice: I didn’t specify which party. Compared to the vast spectrum of possible politics from left to right, which encompasses such ideologies as communism, socialism, left libertarianism, right libertarianism, fascism, etc., the Dems and Reps are more similar than different.)
Until there’s a revolution we’re stuck with these jokers. But that doesn’t mean we have to pay attention.
2 thoughts on “The evil of two lessers”
I’m all for revolution, but we’re still a long way from it, I guess because Americans feel guilty rather than angry when their quality of life declines. (I should have worked harder, my twelve-hour workdays weren’t enough!) There’s no chance the growing gap between rich and poor in this country will begin to narrow again without a serious third party challenge to the Republicrats, but there hasn’t been a hint of this happening for 2012.
We DO have to pay attention. We DO get the government we deserve.
This is an easy inexpensive problem to resolve by the use of an unelectable third party composed of students. We have debating teams in the schools so all we have to do is have the debates center on issues that should be explored during elections instead of sound bites and misdirections. The high school student debate winners would debate the political candidates on local elections and the college debate winners would debate the candidates on state and national elections.
Students would hold the politician’s feet to the fire and make them work out real solutions to problems and would be sure to make an issue of any failures in subsequent elections. Students would get a political education while young and become better voters and parents would be more interested in politics by watching their kids.
Anyone or any teacher could start it off and it should not be too hard to convince the League of Women Voters to include students in the local political debates. Politicians would hate it and do anything that they could to get it stopped but once started it should snowball.
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