“We’re all gonna rock to the rules that I make.
I wanna be elected.”
–Alice Cooper, “Elected”
Last night was the opening of the presidential debate season…or as it’s known at Ralph Nader’s house: Passover.
We got Coke vs. Pepsi. McDonald’s vs. Burger King. MasterCard vs. Visa. General Electric vs. Westinghouse. Yale-educated millionaire war criminal vs. Yale-educated millionaire war criminal.
The debate pitted an alleged liberal (who supports the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, NAFTA, WTO, welfare repeal, the war on drugs, appointing anti-abortion judges, etc.) against an un-elected president who is somehow seeking re-election.
The next time someone tells you America has a two-party system…I suggest you demand a recount.
In 2004, we Americans will spend far more time researching what car to buy than we’d ever dedicate to an examination of how our tax dollars and our votes contribute to death and destruction at home and across the globe.
The vast majority of humans in this world live in abject poverty while those who don’t, well, they live their lives in such a manner as to threaten every living being on the planet. Many of us know this but it doesn’t seem to be enough to inspire more than pithy bumper stickers and increased sales of recycled toilet paper.
Like the bull in a bullfight, the American voter chases the elusive red cape…distracted from the real targets through an attractive image or illusion.
Our energies are so poorly focused that we offer no threat to the status quo. In fact, we willingly contribute by assuming our predetermined role as a voter/consumer.
Media-hyped millionaires are sold to the public like any other commodity. Ideologies are neatly packaged and marketed with the same intensity and deception as a cell phone or SUV.
Once in office, we trust these men (and women) with our moral decisions and are satisfied with the illusion of having elected them, never comprehending the reality that if voting ever looked like it might change anything, it might be made illegal.
What if every eligible voter who stayed home in 2000 comes out on November 2 and writes in my name?
In 2000, 50,455,739 voted for Bush; 50,996,039 for Gore; 2,781,109 for Nader; and the rest were scattered over a handful of other candidates.
In 2000, there were 195,027,520 eligible voters in America…156,421,311 were registered, but only 110,604,647 actually hit the polling booths. That’s 56.7% of eligible voters participating.
Almost 85 million more Americans could have voted in the 2000 presidential election…but opted out.
Imagine if they came out in 2004 for, well, me. I never went to Yale (or any college, for that matter). I’m not a millionaire or a war criminal (but I do sympathize with Dubya’s efforts to avoid the front line), and I don’t windsurf.
This idea isn’t specifically about me winning…although there are enough non-voters out there to easily elect anyone. Even me. This is all about increasing the size of the voter pool so some of those disgruntled and alienated masses we keep hearing about can send a message that there’s more to life than Coke and Pepsi.
Imagine if even 10 or 20% of those 84,422,873 people who could’ve voted but didn’t in 2000 become motivated to make the effort and then imagine if they all voted for me…if for no other reason than to demonstrate that what they (we) want isn’t on the menu.
I’ll be like a bottle of filtered water against their sugary, chemical-laden Coke and Pepsi.
Fifteen million protest votes? In America? In one fell swoop, it would have the corporate media scrambling to catch up and explain what this means and why the powers-that-be didn’t see it coming.
Zach de la Rocha, formerly of Rage Against the Machine, wrote: “The structure is set; you’ll never change it with a ballot pull.”
We will change it when Americans embrace the subversive pleasure of thinking for themselves and challenge that structure. With the point of no return fading in the rearview mirror (or at least obscured by an SUV), the time is long overdue for all of us to recognize that the primary difference between Republicans and Democrats is that they tell different lies to get elected.
Thus, I kick off my one-month campaign with a presidential haiku:
you once seemed very important but now you are another four years
MICKEY Z. is the author of “The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda” (Common Courage Press). For more information, please visit http://www.mickeyz.net.