The presidential race is ramping up quickly, both sides having moved assertively into attack mode. Politics in America has degraded to the point that the billions spent on advertising are all about trash talk. It’s hard not to feel like one must choose the lesser of two evils when so much time and money is spent by each side making their opponent look like a jerk.
“How’s that hopey changey thing working for ya?” said Sarah Palin during one of her frequent forays into the public dialog amidst the 2010 election. Irony is nothing new to politics, but how ironic is it that Sarah Palin actually continues to get media attention?
One has to wonder why our 21st century political system has devolved into a primitive life form that thrives on the slaughter of decency and rational dialogue, seeming to have become an extended episode of “Real Politicians of New Hades.”
Ralph Nader, considered by many to have lost the election for Al Gore (though I think Al Gore lost that election all by himself, given that third-party candidates on the ballot in Florida other than Nader together accounted for more votes than Nader’s) famously said that the 2000 election was between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. As you can see from the title of this column, 2012 looks even worse.
The basis of Nader’s concerns in 2000 reflected his view that neither party in America actually represents most citizens, rather the imperatives and economics of corporate America. Accordingly, the President is beholden and captive to big money first and foremost, no matter what one hears coming out of the White House. Rhetoric aside, policies and programs follow the money, the very same direction given by “Deep Throat” to Woodward and Bernstein of the Washington Post as they investigated the corruption of the Watergate scandal.
Thus Republicans and Democrats alike cater to their old pals and established habits. The military and its budget consume billions, much of it paid to corporate America for ever more sophisticated weapons and warfare technology. Industrial farming gets subsidies and tax breaks, simultaneously feeding their shareholder’s coffers while generating a citizen health calamity of obesity, diabetes and cancer. Pharmaceutical companies, some of them simultaneously selling chemicals that cause cancer and others that cure it, vacuum the dollars from citizen pockets like lampreys suck the innards out of living fish. Banks and Wall Street financial firms collude, cheat, and steal billions, while their CEOs and leaders become cabinet members and regulatory officials. I know, I’m ranting, but this begs the question: does it actually matter who is elected president?
Supreme Court. Personal liberty. Women’s rights. Environmental regulation. Yes, these all matter, but given the nature of congress and the ways in which it has been bought, even these issues are likely to be given short shrift. The terrible reality of the situation is that, much as the late George Carlin sagely observed, America is owned and operated by Big Money, and Presidential elections are just entertaining window-dressing to keep people thinking that voting actually means something.
America needs a new revolution based on decency, compassion, selflessness, humility, mindfulness, honesty and trust. It’s possible things might change for the better, but it’s not likely to be Dumb Democrats who avoid the truth or Dumber Republicans who ignore it, to make that happen.