I wasn’t very politically aware in my twenties but I wish I had been. Back then (in the 80’s) politics were different and I think I would have been more hopeful. I think at that time there were still a good number of politicians that were going into the “business” of politics to serve the people. Back then the political arguments – the ideas and issues-driven arguments, had meaning. That isn’t the case anymore. As a result, I have lost faith – just like religion – and I no longer believe our Democracy as designed exists. The discussions over the issues, the headlines, the newscasts, are mere smokescreens – they’re pointless. Today’s politicians are self-serving. They seek to satisfy their ego through status and money. As a result, our democracy is dying and is being replaced by something different – something I call a Dual Dictatorship.
At some point, the individuals now serving in government may have pursued public office to serve. It is my belief however that the current political system either converts those of moral standing or eliminates them from the process long before attaining higher office. A desire for money and control – and control purely for the purposes of maintaining the flow of money – is what remains. It always comes down to money. (I admit there may be a handful of individuals that still desire to improve the lives of their constituents because it’s the right thing to do, but that group is too small a number to matter or make a difference – literally).
Party affiliation is a tool to maintain a money base. While personal beliefs on social, financial, global, etc. issues may play a role in allying oneself with a particular party, once the alliance exists, the issues become secondary. Those beliefs (and subsequent party affiliations) simply allow politicians (and corporate executives) to comfortably fight for their party’s strength and influence, again, to maintain the flow of cash, but not to make decisions about what’s best for their constituents.
Same is true for most corporate executives. Same is true for the corporate executives that control the media. At the top are people that simply care about their position and income. Here’s the difference – In the business world, executives admit that they’re profit and power driven – that’s free enterprise, it’s what they’re supposed to do. But anyone with an ounce of sense in their head recognizes how corruptible people are under the influence of money. Nobody is surprised by a corporation doing what’s best for stock-holders over what’s best for humanity (at least they shouldn’t be surprised).
That’s not supposed to be the case with politicians. Yet it is. Any seemingly altruistic action taken by the members of today’s Congress are done so to the accompaniment of an excellent PR campaign– but at the heart is a desire for money and the preservation of their position. Today’s party affiliation negates the possibility of individually. In today’s Congress, if there were a morally-driven individual, then he/she would drop their party affiliation and proclaim their independence, or walk away from the system altogether.
The intent of the founding fathers was that ordinary citizens temporarily serve for the good of all in a democratic process. The assumption was that these individuals would make choices based upon the desire of their constituents, albeit with the good of that nation as the mitigating factor. Our democracy was founded upon the hope that The People would elect those of moral character to represent them. The founding fathers could not foresee the enormity and impact of the media in swaying public thought, or the lobbyists swaying the political agenda.
Merely two-hundred years into this experiment, that hope is dying. Party affiliation has replaced individual initiative. “Service” has been replaced by political “careers.” Today’s campaigns focus on demonizing the opposing party. This eliminates morality, and the real issues, from the political process. The nation argues over vague party ideologies and headline-making public interest “issues” that are supposed to represent the shared values within each party – while missing the reality that their leader’s real purpose is to maintain control for control’s sake, and maintain the flow of money. The result is partisanship – a Dual Dictatorship.
Singular dictatorships never work in the long-run because of the vastly differing opinions regarding beliefs about how to maintain control. In the end, the masses demonize their governments and revolution ensues. The Dual Dictatorship on the other hand is a sly evolution. It gives people the illusion of choice and freedom so that vastly differing beliefs can rally and demonize the other.
Choosing the lesser of two evils is not true choice or freedom. The Dual Democracy plays on the inherent laziness and naivety of most people. You don’t need to think about the real issues; you don’t need to think about what’s right, you simply make an enemy of the opposing side and then all your actions are justified, no matter how unconscionable.
Our founding fathers couldn’t foresee every contingency. Even with their great insight into the true nature of man, they couldn’t foresee a complete collapse of moral character. They could not envision a money-machine this big. They couldn’t foresee a lethargic middle-class.
As long as enough people in this country have the wealth to employ the rest of us, and through that employment enough of us achieve an income level that allows us to live in relative security and comfort, nothing will change. As long as there are two parties whose mission is to polarize the nation and keep the attention away from the dysfunctional government as a whole, nothing will change.
However, if the number of ill, displaced, hungry and destitute individuals and families grows large enough, then eventually there will be violent revolution, and the US, as we know it, will cease to exist. My belief is that that won’t happen because, again, that would mean the loss of power and money both for politicians, and for the corporations that pay their salaries. They’ll fix just enough to maintain the status quo. But that won’t make the conversations about the issues relevant, and on the streets of America, it won’t feed our hungry children.
We make the mistake of thinking sometimes that our country, that our Constitution, is greater than anything before it. As good as it is we fail to recognize that regardless of the ideals of some very, very great men, most men are simply that – men. Ideals are not actions. Most actions of men are self-serving. In the end, the best we can hope for is a system that allows the greed of men to express itself and give power to those that seek it, while still making enough people comfortable to avoid revolution and a collapse of social order. Maybe we’ve found that model – I hope so, because it’s the best we can hope for.
So, what’s the point of this diatribe? Only this: Micro-political arguments are pointless. Arguing over the issues and being frustrated over the lack of progress is a result of not understand the larger reality – that we’ve allowed this new political system to emerge – this Dual Dictatorship – and it needs to be fixed before any of the lesser issues can be fixed. I listen to the arguments and political “analysis” and feel like I want to vomit. It’s like complaining to the flight attendant about how uncomfortable your seat is on the plane that going down in flames. Or to put it in a more common way, we aren’t seeing the forest for the trees.
I watch the rallies and extremists on both sides pointing fingers and blaming each other for the problems that everyone seems to want to fix, and know that in the mansions, our congressmen are laughing their asses off at the stupidity of it all. They really do think we’re stupid. And unfortunately, I believe that on the whole of it, they’re right.
There may be nothing I or anyone can do in this day and age to change anything – the machine may be too big already. But that doesn’t mean I need to walk lock-step with these idiots on both sides of the aisle. Some of us see the bigger problem. Some of us get it.