Monday, July 26, 2004

The Yes-or-No Party System (and other infrastructure problems)

So voting is here again, finally our participatory democracy provides us with the extent of our participation. We poke a hole in a card or touch a button on a screen and pray to our respective deities that Katherine Harris, a house of Bush relative, and/or Scalia won't be able to not count it(Oh I'm sorry I mean not abrogate "state's rights" with a "federal chad standard", but will abrogate "state's rights" when the medicinal marijuana case comes up next season).
   If you've ever seen the movie "Waking Life", a movie that follows different actors as they give melodramatic monologues on philosophical and political issues(the cool thing about the movie is they had different artists paint on the film, and then in the final cut removed the film, so it is a cartoon of sorts, but very intricate and beautiful if you can sit through some of the more boring dialogue[reminds me of someone else hah]). One character complains that his right to self-determination is not being granted by Democracy and only having one chance every 2 years to vote for certain representatives and 4 years for the president is not enough political power to give to the people. This man soaks himself in gasoline and sets himself on fire on a streetcorner(following the example of some monks protesting China's annexing of Tibet).

Our general public seems to be losing faith in this yes-or-no system. Where is the anti-pre-emptive war candidate????  Where is the candidate who doesn't blame 9/11 on security procedures, but on the massive horizontally organized net of militant Islamic fundamentalists.     This network is the network that the United States created, funded, and trained called the Mujahadin(spelling is always different so I made up my own). The Carter and Reagan administrations started funneling money to these militant Islamic fundamentalists to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. These administrations thought they were pretty smart: just use the Muslims as cannon fodder and when the cost for the USSR is too much they'll pull out with a major defeat. It worked and the "evil empire" was halted in its' tracks.
The problem was we then ignored Afghanistan and left the entire apparatus of a network of militant Islamic extremists. These people helped secure like 70% of the country for the Taliban and became what we today call Al-Qaida(Craig Unger talks about this in his book "House of Bush, House of Saud").

Our candidates are not dealing with reality.
How can I act, as Sartre would say in "good faith", voting?

If I vote for Bush I would be advocating my own death and the death of thousands of civilians, I would be advocating a Draft, war with Iran, war with North Korea, and torture.

If I vote for Kerry then I am voting for the individual who voted for the Iraq war resolution. The candidate who will not get our troops out of this Vietnamesque hellhole immediately and another slave of soft money given by large corporations.

If I vote for Nader I am complicit in the election of Bush and basically ceding that he is the best candidate for the country. Although Nader is the only candidate who will bring up issues I feel are most important like the injustice in the justice system, pre-emptive war, soft money reform, and most importantly drive a wedge between the state and the corporation.
So who?

I already know the answer: Kerry, there is no way I can risk in any way having Bush in office again, its like asking for a bloody revolution. This man centralizing power in the executive branch and spouting his religious fundamentalist rhetoric. Guess what asshole? If there is a god he or she doesn't favor the individuals from the United States over everyone else in the world, if anything he or she is learning to dislike us from our current track record(Pre-emptive war, erosion of civil rights, torture and rape of civilians, etcetera etcetera). I can't be complicit in the continuing unilateralism. I am a US citizen, but also a citizen of the world. I'm sure if I met some guy or girl from Iraq and we had a chance to chill I think we'd get along. The last thing I'd think is we need to bomb them, occupy them, search them, degrade them, torture them, rape them, steal from their oilfields, and I heard this one jackass on Fox News saying he thought IRAQ SHOULD PAY US BACK FOR INVADING THEM!!!!!!
I will vote for sanity.
I will give Kerry and the democratic party a chance. Once they have the bully pulpit they better start speaking their minds again, forget the fact that the mainstream media has completely shifted far right after 9/11, and hopefully bring home our soldiers.
Politicians say "We need to say until the job is done."
The problem is that there is no done, all the leaders and even the Rupert Murdoch crowd can't articulate when this could possibly be done.
Remember this also: We lost Fallujah early, we will not win Fallujah in a ground war. If staying until the job is done means killing all Iraqi rebels then Fallujah will need to be completley and totally destroyed through a campaign of mass bombing which will be tantamount to genocide.
Fallujah is to Iraqi Occupation(US v. Iraq)
Stalingrad is to World War II(Germany v. Russia)
So if controlling Fallujah is neccesary to "be done" we will lose hundreds more young men and women. Thousands more will be wounded and our country's image and history will become a little more tarnished.

You gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em

So why is a two party system bad?
The two party system is fundamentally flawed in my opinion. By only having a yes and no answer there is very little room for dissent. Without dissent, opinions are not heard, with less variety of opinions there is less scenario planning, without an abundance of feasible scenarios our policy options become EXTREMELY limited.
By only allowing two points of view we have eroded the right of self-determination.

So you whiny "Liberal"(this is what people say who are convinced all political and philosophical thought can be boiled down to a simple left-right dichotomy) how do we get outta this and why don't you go to Canada if you don't like it?"  Well you get out of this by dismantling soft money fundraising apparatus (by making it illegal to donate so much damn money from one individual or interest) to decrease the parties' power, which will simultaneously choke corruption and corporate influence out of politics. This will be the only enforcement needed in this policy, and there is already an enforcement agency that enforces these laws on Hard money, but after this it will be called what it really and the enforcement will make no exceptions for party donations
   This will give rise to Libertarian interests and social-democratic interests. Marxists and Anarchists. Neo-Nazis and Black Panthers. Poor, middle class, rich. Jingoists and Facists(these are the two ideologies overrepresented in the current regime).
This will not fragment the US, it will only strengthen by providing representation for a wider spectrum of political views.

The problem is multiparty democracies are fragile. The current multi-party democracy of Italy and the past multi-party democracy of the Weimar Republic are examples of this. It seems that in Italy the governments ends up being a coalition of allied ideologies that can gain majority acceptance. The remaining opinions end up being deemed the opposition parties. So these coalitions last for long periods of time and the opposition party grows stronger and we see a bi-partisan democracy forming again. Also we all know that happened to the Weimar republic(and if you don't, go read about it, the years after the Weimar are surprisingly similar to present day United States Foreign Policy and civil rights for Muslims).
So after empirical analysis I can't say the evidence supports the need for all voices to be represented, but does the logic outweigh the empirical analysis? Isn't it the most important thing in a Democracy to have political equality? or is the chance of a disenfranchised party system leading to an increase in Executive power to much to risk?  
So as politicians run towards the middle they lose the ability to actually lead, to cause CHANGE. This is the stagnation I feel is affecting our government today and another reason I support dismantling the current soft money system.

Three other reforms which are necessary for the continuing function of our democracy are:
-Dissolve the Senate. The "Millionaires Club" should be abolished and its duties bestowed upon the house of representatives. A unicameral legislature will run a lot smoother and be closer to the people to be held accountable for their actions. Maybe when the foreign policy is placed in the hands of the House they will enact things like CTBT or the Kyoto Protocols, because the people like clean air and surprisingly they do not want to be killed in a fiery blaze of radioactive energy, so banning testing will slow proliferation and make it obvious who the real threats are. Or this analysis is based on the fact Jessie Helms is a backwards racist who has worked dilligently to bring American foreign policy back to the habits of the early cold war.

-Dissolve the Electoral College. Jefferson disagreed with the electoral college and I agree with him. This "safeguard" is the definition of aristocratic rule, meant to check "the people's" power in case they elected someone that wouldn't be good in the eyes of the landed elite. The electors are now merely a formality, they will never change their votes if their state is won(unless state law has guidelines about sharing electoral votes). So its time to dispense with the formalities and get back to work on creating a genuine right to self-determination. No one can define an argument for the electoral college that has contemporary application, so why is it still here? I for one am not afraid of the people and their choice for president, because I am a person in that crowd of people. Its like some arrogant Americans remark "Well why has UK got a queen?". Well why the hell do we have The Electoral College?

-Voting reform. We need to have a comprehensive reform effort that goes county by county over a period of time to make sure our voting system actually works. Yes I also advocate having the United Nations oversee our elections and Iraq's(because call me crazy but I trust the UN more than Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris when it comes to electing their good friend George Jr.). I do not want the supreme court deciding my President again.

If Bush wins and continues on his path.
If Kerry wins and continues the pre-emptive war in Iraq for years.

I will be through with both of them. Bill O'Reilly is always talking about how he wants liberals on his show to learn how they developed their philosophy. If you've seen that clip from Outfoxed of him telling tons of people to shut up its hilarious. I thought about going on his show with the "Hope and Memory" copy of Adbusters with this history of US imperialism spanning a great breadth of time. Ask him about a few recent stints in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  
How can he justify the neo-manifest destiny?
How can he feel military action is justified unless in defense of an imminent and obvious attack or to halt genocide? These are the only two reasons I believe a war should be fought and many would disagree with me on the second reason saying that is too large a window. I'll put it this way: these are the wars I would die for my country for. But we all have to remember that fighting FOR your country is not the only way to die FOR your beliefs. You can also die fighting for your country but not for your military, like in the protests in Seattle, people fought against the country's muzzling of their opinions, and died for the constitutional right to free speech(although they were truly there to voice their opposition to neo-slavery otherwise branded "free trade" for marketing purposes). They had the opportunity to listen to O'Reilly and shut up. Instead they chose to have their voices heard and celebrate the first amendment in our consitution. They took the idea of America and held it in the highest esteem by actually employing their right to free speech. The internal security force beat that right, right out of their skull along with their brains.
They died so the rest of us don't have to, we are reminded again that freedom of speech is important, but obviously it isn't good enough. If you have read about the "free speech zones" being set up at the conventions. Messing up their photo ops I guess. This era will be documented in history books. When the leaders regain their sanity and start to recall that the entire country is a "free speech zone".

"Count bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
the bogeyman comin' , the bogeyman comin'
keep your head down go to sleep to the rhythm of the war drums"
-A Perfect Circle

-Jimothy J. Jones

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