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Political System Crash
Elections No Longer Matter
We're caught in a trap. We can't walk out. With apologies to Elvis, his song about a failed relationship applies not only to the couple he bewailed but to the relationship between the American people and the United States government. We all are in the trap, and the federal midterm elections are in November.
The two major parties have effectively eliminated all ballot box alternatives to themselves. The voters' choice lies between Patriot Acts, Iraqi wars and authoritarianism and Obamacares, Afghani wars and authoritarianism. As we now are seeing the latter takes America over the cliff more quickly in its destructiveness in economics, foreign policy and basic civil rights such as freedom of speech and choice, but the former is like taking chemotherapy to cling to life in the face of debilitating, terminal cancer: it will not cure the disease, it only prolongs the misery. Washington is out of control. The rate of its accumulation of power and its irresponsible exercise of it in dysfunctional policy is accelerating. Graph it, and the curve has almost reached its vertical end point. There is nothing beyond that but a train wreck.
One common response to this maddening situation is to buy time to delay the crash by putting the right into power with no confidence it will perform any better than it has in the past, and regardless of a zero expectation of faithfulness pray for a miracle that will change the government's course. The obverse of that is to crash the system sooner by keeping the left in power so America can start rebuilding sooner. Neither offers any promise of stopping the runaway train or switching it to a different track. Both are status quo outcomes, and either will preserve the status quo.
A response that tries to change the equation is that of the tea partiers: keep faith in the basic system and try yet once again to reform it. That movement is attempting to avoid the Perot paradigm by working largely within one of the two major parties. The result will be one of two alternatives: the political rebellion will be coopted, turned and lead into a dead end by a leader repeating the 1990's trajectory of Gingrich, one who panders to the troops with revolutionary rhetoric to keep them in line while betraying their movement to the establishment; or it will rightwardly radicalize the Republican Party in an aping of the leftward radicalization of the Democratic Party by Dean, KOS, Democratic Underground, ACORN and the gaggle of special interests that took it over during Bush the Younger's administration. That, too, leaves America caught in the trap, just with a starker dichotomy in the choices, which is to say with heightened division in the country and wilder swings of the pendulum each election cycle. The crash is not averted.
The third way is to walk out of the house of mirrors. Become apolitical. Put your thought, energy, time and effort into discovering and creating a way for yourself and your own people to survive the train wreck toward which the political system is driving the country. More Americans than ever are considering leaving the USA for less authoritarian lands with less threatening governments. One recent survey concluded that an astounding 96% of us have thought about it. Voting rates continue to decline as, every election, more Americans are doing things other than going to the polling places, putting their time into activities they have concluded are more promising for their own future than is participation in sophisticated political machinations designed to keep the people on board the train while avoiding any genuine change in its route or operation.
That is where we Americans now find ourselves. Our real choice is no longer between two exclusive, establishmentarian parties in the by now laughably futile hope that putting one or the other of them behind the engine's levers will bring actual change, it is between continuing to ride down the rails with them or looking for a way to get off their careening train before it runs out of track. It rapidly is coming down to a matter of everyone for himself. It may already be there.
If you are an American voter, think about how you wish to do your civic duty this November. It is up to you and you alone, but consider that casting your vote for candidates of the two major parties no longer is voting for change, it is merely supporting a corrupt political system that has stripped you of genuine choice. Voting against whomever you hold to be "the bad guys," or for those presented to you as "the good guys," may no longer be the right decision. Doing that has not lead to meaningful reform in the recent past, and there is no reason to think the parties have altered their habits now.