The holiday shopping frenzy will have trouble exceeding last months exercise in cosmetic democracy. Our national election produced nearly four billion dollars for the economy, and that was its high point. Our worst president beat his worst opponent , and while a few still claim votes were stolen, a majority safely assumes that as usual, it is unrepresented.
While we force democracy on others, our own perverse version suffers disabling contradictions . America giving freedom lessons to other countries is like a pimp giving abstinence lessons to evangelicals. Election day irregularities and injustice are an American tradition , with poorer communities denied votes the way they are denied housing, jobs and health care. Our corrupt system depends on thousands of almost private, unregulated elections, competing in a supposedly national referendum. it is finally getting attention, but legitimate criticism that led to pre-election paranoia has become post election paralysis. Many still seek reasons for a dreadful defeat by blaming others, rather than facing the facts of their own shortcomings in backing a dreadful opposition .
Idealists who once opposed corporate power and the Iraq war , gave their votes to an elitist who supported both. Under the influence of Anybody-But-Bush dementia , millions voted for a loser who wasn’t supposed to be as much a loser as the other loser. A moderate killer was transformed into a liberal killer , in order to oppose a conservative killer. And now some of them are still calling for a recount of votes, while our nation wades ankle deep in the blood of Iraqis who may never have any votes to count.
The terrible turkey has become a lame duck who shouldn’t be as dangerous as before, given our economic warfare and its growing lack of support among many of the established elite. But don’t hang by your lip waiting for spineless Democrats to fight back ; it will take citizen action to get that moribund bunch to do anything but obey lobbies and collect money.
The victorious hard core fanatics will continue their overt attempts to market the universe, repeal the bill of rights, weaken the public sector , increase private profit, savage the natural environment and perform more foreign homicide than their soft core opponents, who prefer corporate dominance that is more cosmetically covert.
The peace movement which temporarily supported war needs to readjust and not only strive to stop the horror in Iraq, but work for democracy that means more than single issue politics. Those who want a better world must understand that if it isn’t for all of us, it’s likely to be for none of us. Continued separation of Americans into identity groups of white soccer dads, black nascar moms , gay secular republicans, or homeless lesbian immigrants will only further deepen our divisions, and thereby strengthen corporate power.
And it is to be hoped that those who endlessly respond to the crackpot realism that urges we deny our highest ideals to accept our lowest values, and pretend it will somehow make a better world, will benefit from the shock treatment of this election.
Some egotists claim that there are two Americas, one of intelligent humanitarians, the other of ignorant fascists, but they are grounded in the worst bigotry of our national origins. Regarding people as less than human and treating them with contempt is the problem, not the solution. The attacks of 911 didn’t focus on our bible belt, or our liberal suspenders. Those who hated us enough to commit suicide in order to hurt us, did so because they were angry at one identity group: Americans. The sooner we begin treating one another with respect, the sooner we may learn to treat others the same way, and understand that many despise us because we extend our domestic bigotry to foreigners. We cannot become good neighbors to them or create a better world future as long as we alienate our closet neighbors; Americans.
This election was stolen like all others; democracy was denied by financial wealth and its domination of the electoral process. If there is any conspiracy, it is of corporate capital, and it has been operative for a very long time. Realism – not the crackpot kind – should bring us to confront the material world, and do what we can to change it. That doesn’t mean blaming ignorant masses who somehow conspire against us, under the direction of satanically evil figures. Such simplistic and disrespectful attitudes toward fellow citizens can’t possibly produce a national movement towards a democratic majority.
We would do well to learn that there is no compromise with principle. The most practical way to do anything is to do it the ideal way. If we don’t want our rights trampled upon , we can’t trample on the rights of others . if we don’t want our loved ones killed by retail terror , we have to stop killing others with our wholesale terror . if that is idealism, and what we have is reality, then reality must be changed by actions that bring about our ideals. If that is not our intent, then we should just take our legal or illegal drug of choice, watch Fox , PBS or any other unreality channel, and forget the real world, especially any desire to transform it into something better.
But if we are serious about wanting peace, and an end to the deprivation of some for the profit of others, we might take some heart at this election. Motivated by nothing more than fear and hostility, much of it deserved, more than one hundred million voters went to the polls, mobilized almost exclusively to vote against someone. Imagine what could be accomplished if they had a party and candidates who stood for things which they could vote for, in positive hope rather than negative fear.
We ought to begin working for the uncompromised greater good, now, so we won’t again be tempted by the unprincipled lesser evil, later.