Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
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

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail