The Grand Delusion
With an endless, futile and costly Iraq war, a stinking economy and most Americans seeing the country on the wrong track, the greatest national group delusion is that electing Democrats in 2008 is what the country needs.
Keith Olbermann was praised when he called the Bush presidency a criminal conspiracy. That missed the larger truth. The whole two-party political system is a criminal conspiracy hiding behind illusion induced delusion.
Virtually everything that Bush correctly gets condemnation for could have been prevented or negated by Democrats, if they had had courage, conviction and commitment to maintaining the rule of law and obedience to the Constitution. Bush grabbed power from the feeble and corrupt hands of Democrats. Democrats have failed the vast majority of Americans. So why would sensible people think that giving Democrats more power is a good idea? They certainly have done little to merit respect for their recent congressional actions, or inaction when it comes to impeachment of Bush and Cheney.
One of the core reasons the two-party stranglehold on our political system persists is that whenever one party uses its power to an extreme degree it sets the conditions for the other party–its partner in the conspiracy–to take over. Then the other takes its turn in wielding excessive power. Most Americans–at least those that vote–seem incapable of understanding that the Democrats and Republicans are two teams in the same league, serving the same cabal running the corporatist plutocracy. By keeping people focused on rooting for one team or the other, the behind-the-scenes rulers ensure their invisibility and power.
The genius of the plutocrats is to create the illusion of important differences between the two parties, and the illusion of political choice in elections. In truth, the partner parties compete superficially and dishonestly to entertain the electorate, to maintain the aura of a democracy. Illusion creates the delusion of Americans that voting in elections will deliver political reforms, despite a long history of politicians lying in campaigns about reforms, new directions and bold new policies. The rulers need power shifting between the teams to maintain popular trust in the political system. Voting manifests that trust–as if changing people will fix the system. It doesn’t.
So voters become co-conspirators in the grand political criminal conspiracy. Those who vote for Democrats or Republicans perpetuate the corrupt, dishonest and elitist plutocracy that preferentially serves the interests of the Upper Class and a multitude of special interests–some aligned with the Republicans and some with the Democrats. Voting only encourages worthless politicians and those that fund and corrupt them.
Public discontent leads to settling for less through lesser evil voting rather than bold thinking about how to reform the system to get genuine political competition and better candidates and government.
I understand why sane people would not want to vote for Republicans, based on the Bush presidency. But I cannot understand why politically engaged people think that putting Democrats in power will restore American democracy and put the welfare of non-wealthy Americans above the interests of the wealthy and the business sector. Bill Clinton’s administration strongly advanced globalization and the loss of good jobs to foreign countries. Economic inequality kept rising. Trade agreements sold us out.
And in this primary season talk about reforming our health care system among Democrats never gets serious about providing universal health care independent of the insurance industry. And why should citizens be supportive of a party that favors illegal immigration–law breaking–that primarily serves business interests by keeping labor costs low?
Nor have Democrats stood up to challenge the official 9/11 story that no longer has any credibility to anyone that takes the time to seriously examine all its inconsistencies with what really happened and the laws of physics.
Whoever wins the Democratic presidential nomination will not be free of corruption and lies. He or she will owe paybacks to all the fat-cat campaign donors. Voters will be choosing the lesser-evil Democratic presidential candidate. Is that really the only choice? Is there no other action that can advance the national good?
There seem to be just two other choices. Vote for some third party presidential candidate, but the downside of that is twofold. No such candidate can win in the current rigged system. Worse, voting gives a stamp of credibility to the political system, as if it was fair, when it is not. Voting says that you still believe that the political system merits your support and involvement.
The second option is to boycott voting to show total rejection of the current political system and the plutocratic cabal using the two-party duopoly to carry out its wishes. When a democracy no longer is legitimate, no longer is honest, and no longer serves the interests of ordinary citizens, then what other than violent revolution can change it? When the electoral system no longer can provide honest, corruption free candidates with any chance of winning, what can citizens do? Either stay home or just vote in local and state races and for ballot measures.
I say remove the credibility and legitimacy of the federal government by reducing voter turnout to extremely low levels. Show the world that the vast majority of Americans have seen the light and no longer are deluding themselves about their two-party democracy. A boycott on voting for candidates for federal office is a form of civil disobedience that has enormous power to force true political reforms from the political system. This is the only way to make it crystal clear that the presidency and Congress no longer represent any significant fraction of the people. This is the only way to show that America’s representative democracy is no longer representative and, therefore, is no longer a credible democracy. Just imagine a federal government trying to function in the usual ways when only 20 percent of the eligible voters actually voted.
It takes more courage to boycott voting than to vote for lesser evil Democrats and in the end this is the only way for people to feel proudly patriotic. This is the only way to not contribute to the ongoing bipartisan criminal conspiracy running the federal government.
We have broken government because the spirit of Americans that gave us our revolution and nation’s birth has been broken, in large measure by distractive and self-indulgent consumerism. It is better to recognize that those who vote suffer from delusion than to criticize those who do not vote as apathetic. Non-delusional nonvoters recognize the futility of voting.
Democrats will not restore our democracy. That is the painful truth that most people will not readily accept. Such is the power of group delusion. Voting produces never-ending cycles of voter dissatisfaction with those elected, both Democrats and Republicans. It is time to break this cycle of voter despair. Voters that bitch and moan about Congress and the White House have nobody to blame but themselves, no matter which party they voted for.
JOEL S. HIRSCHHORN is the author of Delusional Democracy — Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government that presents many electoral and other reforms. Formerly, he was a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association. He can be contacted through his website: www.delusionaldemocracy.com.