In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.
-- Peter Ustinov
-- Peter Ustinov
Thus begins my quadrennial political plea to my friends far and near. In 2008 I was able to blog this piece for the first time. Before that I used email and back in the dark days actual letters were written and posted. In the past eight years I have substantially increased the number of my conservative friends, so even though my liberal friends will not be less offended this time around, they will have more company on the right, who I am sure will be equally miffed at my now thirty-six years of political naivete. Yes, my friends, it has been now ten presidential elections since I first began making the same point I once again put forward to you today.
The two party system in the United States is broken; has been broken and will remain broken until reasonable, thoughtful voters like you take it upon yourself to stop swallowing the patently absurd notion that the lies Party A offers you result in substantially different policies than the lies that Party B tells you.
The litany remains the same:
They both raise your taxes, increase the national debt and spend/waste more of your money. There is no “tax and spend” party. There is no “party of the people”. A belief in such epitaphs is not voter involvement; it is simple being complicit in your own brainwashing.
The Federal Budget never goes down. Both parties believe in big government. The very nature of being in power is to maintain power. The appropriation process with its earmarks, pork and special orders is structured to keep legislators in office. The budget process is big government, its use and perversion is the life blood of all federal elected offices including those in congress, who are charged with its oversight. The system is perverted beyond saving.
They both believe in welfare. One believes in it for big corporations, the other for disadvantaged citizens and big corporations. Your only decision is not whether you are for or against handouts, but which handouts you are for.
They both are in the pocket of multi-national businesses and these days they are bought via the campaign contribution laws and loopholes by these same businesses. Every purchase you make in this economy has a tax added to pay for lobbyists in Washington. Lobbyists who may be advocating for programs and policies you say you oppose.
Neither party has done anything about energy, jobs or education. We had gas lines over twenty-five years ago, yet overall fuel mileage on American made vehicles is less than it was after the first “oil shortage”. Health care costs have gone up 166% faster than the rest of the economy in those same twenty-five years and insurance coverage has gone down as a percentage of the total health care bill. I have no children and therefore assume most or all of you are better able to draw conclusions on the educational system.
They both wage war. And they both continue to wage wars started by the other party. Since JFK handed Vietnam to Johnson and he passed it on to Nixon, there has been this insane policy of making decisions about war and death based on some unwritten rule that you can’t just reverse the insane warmongering of a previous administration because what would that mean for future presidents powers to maim foreign nationals. Like making them believe they might be held responsible for killing thousands and destroying entire cultures would be a bad thing.
Now you are perfectly right in your righteous indignation about the “other” party. Only I have noticed that just like every other election 45% of the voters when they listen to the debates do not hear the words or issues but hear instead what will support their guy and condemn the other guy. Another 45% do exactly the same thing on the other side. These are not the actions of a thoughtful electorate but of sheep. By the way the book, A Nation of Sheep by William Lederer, was published in 1967 and is still worth the read, he also wrote The Ugly American.
So once again let me say. The only reasoned, rational solution is to vote for a third party. Only when tweedle-dumb or tweedle-dumber is elected with less than 40% of the popular vote will 'who cares' & 'don’t care' get the message that the voters actually are upset with same old, same old, same old crap. Haven’t you had enough of this yet?
[This paragraph is lifted unchanged from my 2008 rant, tell me I was wrong] Now, let me speak to each side separately. To my liberal friends. Yes, I know this guy really excites you, just like Slick Willy did. So I know you are not going to listen—again. But in four years when you are making up excuses for why with a “friendly” congress, nothing still has been done. Perhaps then? You really think that big business will allow congress to shift tax supports from big oil to wind or solar? Well maybe in 2012 you will give my position a fair hearing. I don’t really expect you to not vote for Barack this time, I mean there is a war on right? Need I point out, we had a war too. You do remember Vietnam? Or for my younger liberal friends—Lebanon, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq.
For my new conservative friends and most of my immediate family. Admit it - you are not a Romney voter, you are voting against Obama. Why not step up and vote against who you are really fed up with - both of them! Romney isn't going to create jobs, he is going to make decisions that benefit the rich and hurt the poor and no one I know is going to benefit one damn nickel. He ain't your guy. I know Obama isn't either. So why are you voting for either one of them?
You actually do have a choice. A vote for a third party candidate is not throwing away your vote. Furthermore, if you would spend as much time talking to others about the third party option, spend as much time as you do convincing yourself that the choice you are being offered doesn’t actually turn your stomach, well then something might actually get done. Stand up to whichever party does not represent you; the one that takes you for granted; the one you vote for because they call the other guy nasty names. Do you really want to be associated with the unmitigated lies when your guy “approves of this ad”?
Finally, I remind you of the line you have all heard from me at one time or another. ‘When you chose the lesser of two evils, you still get evil.’ I remind you that a rational, reasoning person like you will at some point admit to yourself that they truly do offer you only the choice between two immoral, incompetent evils. Change the system; change the future, vote for a third party candidate. There are more than two roads to the future and many of the alternatives have not been bought and paid for by people you detest.
Postscript: For those who have not received my Presidential Observations in previous election years. Let me assure you that the “tone” of my words do not indicate that I am “in a bad place” or “more cynical than you remember”. My political position has been firmly outside of the myopic two party system since 1968. My presentation has not varied because the system has not changed. Do rest assured that “they” are not more evil now, W. was not worse than Nixon and Barack only appears slightly better than Dukakis, Mondale or Hubert Horatio Humphrey. I wish you all a pleasant and peaceful fall. See you right here in four years, stuck in the same muck, tilting at the same windmills.