Thursday, 20 December 2007
The Perversion of American Democracy
I am more discouraged and hopeless about the future today than I have ever been. I'm exhausted from the presidential campaign from which I have learned nothing about the candidates except their most excessive beliefs - or, rather, pronouncements, because there is no way to know what they believe. Their messages shift with the wind of the polls and all we are given by the news media day after day, hour upon hour (and where else is there to go for information?) is who is ahead by five points or 10 points or behind by 15.
Perhaps my hopelessness (and no small amount of fear) is what comes from a close reading over the past five or six hours of campaign coverage - in two dozen newspapers and at least that many political websites and blogs of all stripes, some research into the background of big-money campaign supporters plus the general television news coverage of the past few days which I spot check in the morning, at midday and evening.
The news is always the same - they just recycle yesterday's script and substitute new numbers. I could recite it from memory except for the shifting poll statistics.
From what I can glean, half the Democrats are crypto-Republicans and half the Republicans want to establish a theocracy in America. As a friend refers to him, "that Mormon fellow," trying unsuccessfully to channel John F. Kennedy didn't come within light years of JFK's unequivocal, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." Instead he told us "freedom requires religion". God save me and our country from all the ignorant religionists in America (and that's not irony).
I don't mean to single out Governor Romney. All the candidates but one of both parties are smarmy suckups paying lip service to democracy with their carefully crafted non-statements calculated to be empty of substance so they will be beholden to nothing and no one if they are elected.
There is one exception among them, Dennis Kucinich, but the public is not being allowed to hear the lone voice of reality and intelligence in the campaign. The news media almost never lists him in the preference rankings even though he regularly outpolls Senator Biden and Senator Dodd.
And on 13 December, Kucinich was shamefully and shamelessly banned by CNN and sponsor The Des Moines Register from participating in the final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses based on the stupendously stupid excuse that he doesn't have a campaign office in Iowa, instead working out of his home. Will someone explain to me how this is different from tyranny where the power elite decide whose voices may be heard.
For the rest of them, every healthcare plan is variation on every other healthcare plan designed to further enrich the insurance companies. No one has anything new to say about improving education. All equivocate on the illegal immigrant debate which is a phony issue, anyway - immigrants are here to stay because corporations want the cheap labor.
I can't find anything useful from any candidate about the horrendous economic problems they will inherit if elected. And not one has addressed how they will restore the civil liberties the Bush administration has removed from the Constitution. Or the hundreds of signing statements with which the president has neutered Congressional legislation.
The pundits - paid press and unpaid bloggers (yes, me too) - discuss the issues and candidates as though they matter. Only one thing matters - the person who will be selected president, and I use the word "selected" purposefully because the corporatocracy decides who wins.
So what if Ron Paul raises $6 million in one day. Corporations can dump a hundred times that much into the campaign in the blink of an eye. What's that to such as a CEO of Goldman Sachs who was paid $70 million in 2007 - and that's just salary, not yet counting his year-end bonus. Some predict the cost of this presidential election will come close to a billion dollars. Think what that amount could do for the education system or those 47 million citizens without health coverage.
As backup - just in case the American public is pissed off enough to see through the money haze - the corporatocracy, much of it controlled by the most zealous of the religious right, have their rigged voting machines to assure the victory of their candidate. Our government is owned by corporations, exists to serve the wealthy and the next election is already decided. The 11 months between now and election day are a charade, a perversion of democracy.
And you know what? Even if all that weren't so, when was the last time any president lived up to his campaign promises?
[In keeping with the approaching holiday, today at The Elder Storytelling Place, Lia tells of the Ghost of Christmas Past.]