This being an election year, we are again subjected to pre-approved candidates that do not represent solutions but wish to distract us with catchy slogans and scare us into voting for them. Bush voters regularly stated the ability for Bush to provide security from terrorism as the reason they chose to vote for him (which is needless to say, hilarious), and voters for Obama could be relied upon to unironically state the need for “hope” and “change” as legit reasons for their own choices. The former being scared into voting for a madman, the later being distracted into voting for the same.
To ask the public what their stances are on issues, would be to discover the vast divide from what the public wants and what our elected officials then provide. Instead we are treated to pre-approved issues that really don’t matter. If we had really wanted to ensure that all our sisters and brothers could receive the healthcare we all deserve then universal strategies like single-payer would have been implemented instead of being removed from the discussion before it even began. It doesn’t matter to our elected officials that the public thinks that our drug laws are absurd – the officer who murdered Oscar Grant in cold blood will still serve less time than someone caught with 5 grams of crack. The murder of thousands of their fellow citizens is not even enough for these officials to be honest with us about the causes of “terrorism” and how it can humanely be addressed and ended. The profit margins of the lands we have decided to rape trumps the value of your life and the lives of those who live there. The everyday possibility of nuclear devastation has only served to produce romantic speeches of some quixotic world free of these weapons and marginal reductions in their numbers, leaving enough to glass the planet over.
Those that would actually work to help those who most need it are quickly sidelined, whether they decide to work within one of the two corporate parties or not. Those that somehow do make it into the representative system currently controlling our government are quickly made dependent on their party’s power structure. “Progressives” like Kucinich or Sanders, in order to retain their positions and receive campaign donations, are forced to vote for impoverishing or murderous legislation just so that they may live to compromise another day. And indeed this is enough for many. So distracted by the team aspect of our politics, actions that even hint at the demands of the public deserve ticker-tape parades, no matter how meaningless. When faced with Voltaire’s maxim that “the perfect is the enemy of the good,” we need to understand that when this is used in modern politics it is only to delegitimize policies that can be implemented and produce exponentially better results of what is currently being discussed. After talking about this with a friend last night I was reminded that we will never reach perfection – so the “perfect” that Voltaire speaks of really doesn’t exist and there is no reason not to try and get as close to it as possible. Our survival depends on it.
This November, when we participate in the exercise to the benefit of the corporate parties, despite any of the slogans, ads, jingles, or campaign promises – we will receive nothing but a fulfillment of the closing lyrics of Bigwig’s “Owned and Operated”: “Another four, another four, of poverty and war!”