Now that the conventions are behind us with party “D” having had their usual lovefest and party “R” having had their usual hatefest, we have to get down to the business of getting our candidates elected. This process causes angst for many of us on the progressive Democratic side of the fence who feel that our issues weren't properly addressed over the past few years by those who promised “Hope and Change.” Likewise, many people on the Republican side of the fence are starting to get the sinking feeling that their party has gone totally over the top. I totally agree with that!
I can certainly understand why any Republican voter would be thinking about jumping ship and voting Democratic. I can also understand why some Democratic voters feel that they were let down by politicians who talked a great game in 2008, but didn't fight hard enough for issues that are vital to the survival of working people, the poor and the retired. While I'm pretty sure that those Democrats who feel let down are not going to vote for Willard Romney, some are still talking about either not voting or voting for a third party candidate that doesn't have a chance of winning. That kind of protest vote may be emotionally satisfying, but it is self defeating. Our system is rigged so that it only allows you to successfully elect candidates from one of the two major parties, the evil one or the lesser of two evils, voting for anything else goes to one of the two parties by default.
I can't tell you what to do or how to vote but here's what I'm doing: I'm voting for Barack Obama and for every Democratic candidate on the ballot. I'm going to try to convince you, my neighbors, my closest friends and my family to do the same. I'm going to ask you to do duplicate my actions and get the word out. With any luck, we'll be able to secure a Democratic majority in both houses, giving President Obama a clear path to getting laws passed that more closely match his original campaign promises of 2008. This time around, I would like to see a lot more FDR and a lot less Ronald Reagan.
With a Democratic majority in place, there can be no excuses for legislation that protects corporate interests at the expense of we, the people. Any such legislation will be a painfully obvious violation of our trust and hopefully, will result in a massive third party movement that will include almost every voter and become the next winning party and the ruling political party in America for years to come.
Believe it or not, years of watching television have conditioned most Americans to think of and classify everything in terms of brands. This branding process doesn't stop with boxes of laundry detergent or cans of cola, we even classify politicians and political parties by the identifying characteristics programmed into our heads from watching years of campaign advertising. What comes to mind when you visualize the two political parties and their candidates? The GOP wants you to think that it and its candidates stand for mom, the flag and apple pie. The Democrats want you to think that they are the party of working people and the poor.
The stereotypical classifications of Democratic politicians as being the saviors of working people and the poor and Republican politicians as being patriots are deceptive at best, dangerous to democracy at worst. Those popular perceptions are borne out of years of political ads and carefully controlled public relations campaigns. The reality and track records of both parties should tell most Americans that nothing is further from the truth. Both parties are just assuming their traditional identities and playing to their target audiences: In the case of the Democrats, that would be working people, the retired and the poor. In the case of the Republicans, that would be the rich and the Archie Bunker variety of working people.
In the mind of their target voters, each of the two parties represents the previously mentioned characteristics; the Republicans represent patriotism, the Democrats fight for working people. Much in the same way that a certain brand of cola and a certain lemon-lime soda have their own specific taste profiles, voters expect each of the two brands, Republican and Democratic to stand for their implied values. When the Republicans rant about patriotism, but support “free” market policies that enable outsourcing jobs overseas, a decidedly unpatriotic act, it dilutes the Republican brand in the minds of their target working class voters. Similarly, when Democrats “compromise” with the Republicans on cuts to Social Security and Medicare and support job killing “free” trade agreements, it dilutes the Democratic brand in the minds of their target working class voters.
The subliminal message that political brand dilution delivers to prospective voters is that neither party delivers on their promises. That kind of message leads to passionless voters who feel that they are voting for the lesser of two evils and feel that once again, the system ripped them off. We have reached the point where one more disappointment might be the straw that broke the camel's back and be the tipping point that triggers a majority third party movement! The only thing that will prevent that from happening is for Democratic politicians to be authentic Democrats and truly support the working people who faithfully supported them. That would entail curbing job offshoring by restoring trade tariffs on imports to pre-Reagan levels, supporting pro-union legislation, fighting for Social Security and Medicare and remembering that the Democratic party is the party of FDR, not Herbert Hoover! One more thing, will Democratic electeds please stop making comments that venerate Ronald Reagan?
I want you to try this one one on for size. Since Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are embroiled in a seemingly endless political ad battle about outsourcing jobs overseas and both seem to agree that outsourcing hurts the American middle class, we have the rare opportunity to get both candidates and their political parties to put their money where their mouth is by having a truly bipartisan effort to end job offshoing. Instead of both candidates and by extension, both parties accusing each other of promoting job outsourcing, let's see the electeds of both parties take immediate concrete steps to curb job offshoring. I want to see President Obama propose trade tariffs on imports to bring manufacturing and jobs back to the USA. I want to see Congress and the Senate write legislation to bring those tariffs to life. I want to see President Obama sign that legislation.
Rest assured, trade tariffs will bring jobs back to the USA in droves because no corporation wants to lose the American people as customers. Foreign corporations will even open factories here to avoid the tariffs only this time they will be paying decent wages because they will be competing with American owned corps. for workers. We will have jobs, jobs, jobs and the American dream will return.
What's that? Do I hear murmuring from Republican and Democratic politicians that tariffs won't work because we live in a "global" economy? Well in that case, just keep signing those "free" trade agreements that gave away our jobs in the first place and we will assume that those political ads are just empty campaign rhetoric. We will then elect the customary lesser of two evils and use the next four years to grow an all powerful third party that really listens to working Americans!
Did you ever write a letter or an article and realize that you just scratched the surface on the subject? Here is a quickie discourse that will tie all of the information of my previous posting together. What if the “two” party system was created to control a nation's populace? Please understand that the theory that I am going to present to you is purely hypothetical. - - OR IS IT?
Just imagine that you are corporate and banking wannabe oligarchs. You make massive campaign contributions to and do other things to curry favor with BOTH political parties of a nation's “two” party system. Obviously, after making that investment in the future of BOTH parties and their politicians, you expect a decent return on your “investment.” You want that return to come in the form of little things like:
The key thing to remember is that this kind of “two” party system, which is really a virtual one party system, is the ideal way for corporate and banking oligarchs to take control of a country. The corporate and banking masters of the universe find it to be preferable to a one party system because it give the illusion of democracy, while it divides and conquers the citizenry. If voters are given the “opportunity” to pick one corporate and bank backed candidate from one corporate and bank owned party, even the most thick-skulled voter would realize that he or she has been had. The “two” party deception serves the corporate/banking oligarchy well, by having two corporate and bank backed parties that play one group of voters against the other group of voters in a double version of good cop/bad cop.
I hope that this food for thought hasn't given you indigestion.
As you know, I am more than just a casual observer of the political scene. In fact, I have spent most of my life watching the comings and goings of our two party system. As such, I don't claim that I am the most qualified to make some keen observations, just that I've seen a lot of things, for a lot of years and kept my eyes and mind wide open.
Over those years, each political party seemed to have its own unique identity:
The current GOP/corporate strategy seems to be to attack every Democratic initiative individually, using the same scare tactics they used during the cold war when they painted themselves as the patriotic bulwark against communism. They did their dirty work by reducing every Democratic initiative to a derisive slogan and elevating every GOP protected species and sacred cow to a glorifying slogan, healthcare legislation = Obamacare, job offshoring corporations = job creators. If you think that this tactic makes the Republicans seem like they are the only bad guys, read on.
The Democrats forgot who really put them in office when President Obama, with the huge momentum of a solid victory that was a repudiation of Bush and Republican policies, threw away that bully pulpit by stating at the outset that he's “everybody’s President.” Well “everybody” didn't elect him, we did! When he spent the next three years trying to “compromise” with the GOP, he was “compromising” our futures and our families. That “compromise” lowered the bar in negotiating with the Republicans and allowed them to set the agenda! If you think that the whole thing looked like a fixed boxing match, you could be right.
If you take away nothing else from this, I want you to realize that the extreme posturing of the GOP electeds made the apathetic indifference to their REAL constituency of the Democratic electeds look benign by comparison. All of that reminds me of a boxing match where the champion is “asked” to throw the fight by an unnamed “benefactor.” Corporate backers? Wealthy backers? Who knows? The evidence is circumstantial.
We now find ourselves smack in the middle of an election year. We are being held hostage by the “lesser of two evils” meme that's been spewed out, ad nauseam, by numerous O-pologists! Until unions and other groups step up to the plate and sponsor their own candidates who are NOT part of the rigged duopoly that is basically corporate America's surrogate in government, we are doomed to living with and by the dictates of America's real rulers, corporations and the rich!
As we approach the mid-term elections, it becomes apparent that many of our elected officials from BOTH parties, have taken a condescending, we know what's best for our constituency approach. The Republicans want voters to forget everything that happened during the eight years of the Bush administration, the greed and the get rich quick schemes that were allowed to run wild in the financial sector. They want voters to forget how they encouraged Americans to run up a credit tab to give the illusion of a middle class lifestyle. They want voters to forget that they ran up a huge deficit. Yeah, it's tough trying to finance an expensive war and give tax breaks to the rich at the same time! You have to make many references to 9/11 in your speeches to keep something like that going!
Bush's party had and has the nerve to blame all of those deficits and everything else on President Obama. They even blamed him for a bailout that started during the Bush administration when, even Bush finally realized that his policies brought us to the brink of financial Armageddon! The Republicans spent almost every minute of President Obama's term trying to derail every bit of meaningful Democratic legislation that came before Congress and the Senate. Never mind that, especially in these economic hard times, America needs meaningful health care reform to protect it's population. Never mind that we have massive unemployment partially because the private sector is fond of outsourcing it's manufacturing and jobs overseas and gets tax breaks to do that. The Republicans back and endorse all that as being part of "free" enterprise! They even had the nerve to try to block unemployment extensions for the casualties of their economic policies!
The Tea Partiers talk a good game but are about as populist as the Fortune 500. How can a "grassroots" movement that is purportedly bankrolled by the wealthy, represent the wants and needs of John and Jane Q. Public? Now onto the Democrats who were compromised from within by their blue dogs who were in reality, wannabe Republicans. They just kept on trying for "bipartisan" solutions that hindered their ability to be true agents of change. Translation, someone needed to remind them that they won! Because of that, almost every piece of legislation that would have brought meaningful, indisputable positive change to our country was diluted beyond recognition. If every Democratic legislative initiative was passed as originally written, the results and benefits to the average person would have been indisputable and every Democratic Congressman and Senator would have probably gotten a ticker tape parade in his or her home district instead of having to worry about where each vote is coming from.
For the above reasons, plus the massive lobbyist influence in Washington, we didn't get the change that we were promised, we got SMALL CHANGE. Nonetheless, as working people, we have to make the only choice that will preserve what's left of the American dream, we have to vote Democratic and after they are elected, hold them accountable!