FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why God Created the Two-Party System

shutterstock_389333206

In the beginning–as you know–God created the heavens and the earth. On the Sixth Day, after creating cattle, creeping things, and the first two people (Genesis 1:26-28), sleepless, fidgeting, and for no particular reason, He created what we call “the Two Party System.”

(In God-language: מערכתדו-מפלגתית.)

Now, why the Two Party System? you ask. As opposed to something else?

As it turns out, that was the very question in the Creator of Everything’s own mind at that very time. You might think He’d have consulted with Adam and Eve, the first two humans He’d made in His own image. But there’s no evidence He did that.

God (known to some as “Yahweh,” or to King James readers as “Jehovah”) seems to have reasoned that, well, One Party would jeopardize His position as the One monotheistic deity. So that was out.

“No way that will fly,” he vowed quietly to Himself—although there was no one else there able to hear His words (Adam and Eve out of ear shot at the time) uttered under His breath in Hebrew, the only language created at that point.

And—He further reasoned (having created Reason itself, and this being a wholly new thing)—a “Three Party System” would threaten His intentions to become a Trinity within the next 4000 years. The number Three needed a divine patent: the Hindu Trimutri, the Buddhist Trikaya, the Christian Trinity etc.

So that was out too.

The Supreme Being, looking down on His Creation, basically seeing it as “good” although already showing causes for concern, mulled it over. “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do,” he realized, in an insight channeled through Harry Nilsson, 5968 years later. “Two can be as bad as one. It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”

Nevertheless, in His infinite wisdom, God chose two. “Two are better than one,” He said to Himself, inspiring a scribe to set this down as Holy Writ. (See Ecclesiastes 4:9-11.)

God was probably not aware at the time of the twenty-first century French philosopher Alain Badiou’s argument about the ontology of numbers. (But, although I find Badiou the most provocative communist thinker of our time, and recommend him for your attention, let’s not digress.)

God thought to Himself (even before popping that Serpent on Eve, tempting her with that fruit and bringing evil into the world): There is good, and there is evil. If there are two parties—-He further reasoned—one will be good, the other bad, and they will alternate in good/bad role-play to the very end of time.

It was a bold scheme to stabilize Creation, with one side blaming the other, everyone kept off balance but nobody really rocking the whole boat. You have to admire the genius of the divine plan.

When, six millennia later, God created the United States of America—as the Promised Land, Number Two (following the earlier Israel)—He created Two Parties to perpetually blame one another and associate one other with evil. Alternating in power, the two would both pledge fealty to Him.

There would be no basic differences between them, of course. (They would routinely join together in bipartisan prayers to Himself.) The people born in sin and stupidity would just keep electing them alternately. Even if one did something horrible it would be forgotten and forgiven by the next election (one held for the two-party legislature every two years). And relying on this base-two system, even the most awful of presidents could be elected for two four-year terms.

God ordained that the people vote for one of the Two Parties. Or at least vote for somebody within the ritual dominated by the Two Parties. God said: “If you don’t vote, you have nothing to say.”

But exercising “free will”—as naked Eve did in front of the fruit tree way back when—some humans don’t actually go to the ballot box! Just like they don’t go to the Holy Mass and take Communion! They reject the rite, finding it an insult to their intelligence.

They challenge the argument that the “competition” between the Two Parties produces any kind of progress. They note that many progressive movements, like those for gender and racial equality, have been sidelined into dead-end electoral politics.

When people rise up in outrage following another police murder somewhere, the media in the service of the Two Parties condemns “outside agitators” for teaching local youth how to make Molotov cocktails.

Local clergy unite with cable TV talking heads to urge God’s obvious solution: Register to vote! Get out and vote, for one of the Two!

They say: Be responsible, for God’s sake! Be grateful you don’t live in a ”multi-party system”—where two parties don’t trade off inevitably and there’s real competition between ideas!

That’s what we’re hearing now, quite literally, by pundits, politicians and press. They are the voice of the serpent in the garden, asking you (standing there naked, innocent and naïve) to eat the fruit, assuring you that it won’t kill you, will taste good and make you wise.

Sometimes the clever serpent affects a Brooklyn accent.

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” So Jesus addressed the above-mentioned God in the famous Lord’s Prayer. Since there is no way either Trump or Clinton will ever deliver us from evil, and are much more likely to hurl us headlong into hell, let us avoid the temptation to choose between the two evils, neither of them less poison than the other.

Both are—or at least should be—-forbidden fruit, the swallowing of which leads to eternal shame.

Don’t bite, Bernie supporters! Don’t cave into the theology of the “lesser evil.” That’s the devil talking. Just say no!

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
Marilyn Garson
If the Gaza Blockade is Bad, Does That Make Hamas Good?
Sean Posey
Declinism Rising: An Interview with Morris Berman  
Jack Dresser
America’s Secret War on Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Use and Misuse of Charity: the Luck of the Draw in a Predatory System
Louis Proyect
In the Spirit of the Departed Munsees
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Alex Jones and Infowars
Mundher Al Adhami
On the Iraqi Protests, Now in Their Second Month 
Jeff Mackler
Nicaragua: Dynamics of an Interrupted Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Ocean Physics
David Macaray
Missouri Stands Tall on the Labor Front
Thomas Knapp
I Didn’t Join Facebook to “Feel Safe”
John Carroll Md
Are Haitian Doctors Burned Out?
Kim Ives
Who is Jean-Henry Céant, Haiti’s New Prime Minister Nominee?
Ted Rall
Corporate Democrats Would Rather Lose Than Include Progressives
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America: the New York Emirate on a Bike
Manuel García, Jr.
Guesstimating Our Own Götterdämmerung
Basav Sen
Want to Create More Jobs? Reduce Fossil Fuel Use
Kent Paterson
The Great Crisis of Albuquerque
Yolanda Parker
I Grew Up in the Segregated South, For Me Supreme Court Rulings are Personal
John W. Whitehead
Institutionalizing Intolerance
Larry Checco
No More Whining on the Yacht
Dean Baker
Trump Derangement Syndrome at the NYT
Colin Todhunter
India: The State of Independence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail