What’s the Difference?

Every four years we elect a president and the dramatic run-up to this spectacle has already begun. We can expect to be treated to near-daily tidbits of information from here on in. This is owing to the fact that, for the Democratic and Republican Parties, election day is everyday and an exploitable public is, as always, assuming the prone position.

These parties have two main tasks. The first is convincing the public that voting in the presidential election is the highest form of citizenship, and is therefore illustrative of patriotic spirit. The second task, hidden from the public, is to ensure their continued role as co-exploiter, and is therefore illustrative of the daily struggle for political power.

Whichever way the winds blow for these parties, the winner will claim to represent the will of the people, something we should be extremely leery of as a political concept.

How would we test the idea that the election of this or that party actually represented the will of the people? Taking a simple example, Gore argued that Bush’s proposed tax cuts would disproportionably benefit the wealthiest 1% of Americans, and the election was not 99-1, but a statistical tie. Obama argues that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest must go, but they’re not going anywhere. Given the dire straits our economy is presently in, and given the outlandish wealth and income disparities that exist in it, why would this issue even be close if the will of the American people had anything to do with it?

The political parties serve their own interests, just as regular people do. And just as regular people are selfish (self-ish), so are the parties. They represent the will of the people to the extent that it can be useful to them. Where it is harmful, that is, when the will of the people comes into conflict with the will of the elites that the parties serve, the public loses and is subjected to a propaganda campaign to soothe its unrealized will.

Should it be needed, a remedy from elite sectors would be felt with immediacy and intensity.

There is no public remedy, save for the inevitable reassurance that it will come in the next election. Public remedy is of paramount importance in the history of our country. Our founding document, The Declaration of Independence, is a stunning example of a peoples’ unequivocal and radical remedy to a government unwilling to accede to the demands of its people. Now it is assumed, by virtue of little else besides the quadrennial march to the ballot box, that our government always embodies the will of its people.

Both parties want the country all aquiver about next year’s election. This is what they have, and so long as people show up and vote to validate the system, the system will be in good hands. Theirs!

I think the theme for 2012 should be, What’s the Difference?, because for the things that truly matter to the common man or woman, there is none between Bush and Obama, or between Obama and Palin/Bachmann. Even though no president moves beyond the party,liberals agonize over the calamity of a Palin or Bachmann presidency. Perhaps they like the idea of giving our “smarter” president a little more rope to hang themselves with.

For those wondering what degree of overstatement is intended with the “no difference” remark, here’s a little rundown:

Bush orders attacks on countries, Obama bombs relentlessly. Bush authorizes torture, Obama winks at it. Bush condones assassination, so does Obama. Bush takes the path to our becoming a national security state, Obama accelerates it. Bush targets whistleblowers, Obama raises it to a first principle. Bush is secretive, Obama more so. Bush prefers to look forward, ignoring history. Obama prefers to look forward, ignoring justice.

Things are going to happen that are beyond the control of the common man or woman. Least of all will they be able to affect them at the ballot box. That’s a losing game. Great change will come in a way it has always come, through popular mass movements of people making demands. At a critical stage the government will recognize that it cannot afford not to be aligned with the movement.

The International Criminal Court has a case against Muammar Gaddafi for crimes against his people while putting down an uprising. It may be painful for an American to think about this, but consider what the reaction of a Bush or an Obama or any American president would be to a massive group of people, even non-violently, calling for a throwing off of the government. Do you picture the government sitting on its hands, or lying in wait? And would we embrace the same standard that we apply to Gaddafi?

No advocacy here. The comparison is presented solely to illuminate the lengths that any concentration of political power will go to when challenged, as when the Kingdom of Great Britain responded to events of July 4, 1776.

James Rothenberg can be reached at: jrothenberg@taconic.net


More articles by:

James Rothenberg can be reached at:  jrothenberg@taconic.net

Weekend Edition
March 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Roberto J. González
The Mind-Benders: How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections
Paul Street
Deplorables II: The Dismal Dems in Stormy Times
Nick Pemberton
The Ghost of Hillary
Andrew Levine
Light at the End of the Tunnel?
Paul de Rooij
Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Coming in Hot
Chuck Gerhart
Sessions Exploits a Flaw to Pursue Execution of Meth Addicts
Robert Fantina
Distractions, Thought Control and Palestine
Hiroyuki Hamada
The Eyes of “Others” for Us All
Robert Hunziker
Is the EPA Hazardous to Your Health?
Stephanie Savell
15 Years After the Iraq Invasion, What Are the Costs?
Aidan O'Brien
Europe is Pregnant 
John Eskow
How Can We Live With All of This Rage?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Was Khe Sanh a Win or a Loss?
Dan Corjescu
The Man Who Should Be Dead
Howard Lisnoff
The Bone Spur in Chief
Brian Cloughley
Hitler and the Poisoning of the British Public
Brett Wilkins
Trump Touts $12.5B Saudi Arms Sale as US Support for Yemen War Literally Fuels Atrocities
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraqi Landscapes: the Path of Martyrs
Brian Saady
The War On Drugs Is Far Deadlier Than Most People Realize
Stephen Cooper
Battling the Death Penalty With James Baldwin
CJ Hopkins
Then They Came for the Globalists
Philip Doe
In Colorado, See How They Run After the Fracking Dollars
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Armed Propaganda
Binoy Kampmark
John Brennan’s Trump Problem
Nate Terani
Donald Trump’s America: Already Hell Enough for This Muslim-American
Steve Early
From Jackson to Richmond: Radical Mayors Leave Their Mark
Jill Richardson
To Believe in Science, You Have to Know How It’s Done
Ralph Nader
Ten Million Americans Could Bring H.R. 676 into Reality Land—Relief for Anxiety, Dread and Fear
Sam Pizzigati
Billionaires Won’t Save the World, Just Look at Elon Musk
Sergio Avila
Don’t Make the Border a Wasteland
Daryan Rezazad
Denial of Climate Change is Not the Problem
Ron Jacobs
Flashing for the Refugees on the Unarmed Road of Flight
Missy Comley Beattie
The Age of Absurdities and Atrocities
George Wuerthner
Isle Royale: Manage for Wilderness Not Wolves
George Payne
Pompeo Should Call the Dogs Off of WikiLeaks
Russell Mokhiber
Study Finds Single Payer Viable in 2018 Elections
Franklin Lamb
Despite Claims, Israel-Hezbollah War is Unlikely
Montana Wilderness Association Dishonors Its Past
Elizabeth “Liz” Hawkins, RN
Nurses Are Calling #TimesUp on Domestic Abuse
Paul Buhle
A Caribbean Giant Passes: Wilson Harris, RIP
Mel Gurtov
A Blank Check for Repression? A Saudi Leader Visits Washington
Seth Sandronsky
Hoop schemes: Sacramento’s corporate bid for an NBA All-Star Game
Louis Proyect
The French Malaise, Now and Then
David Yearsley
Bach and the Erotics of Spring