Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hysteria and the Quadrennial Farce

"The most important election of our lifetimes." The legitimacy czars are working overtime to convince us that the PR extravaganza now taking place before us in the name of "elections" is somehow not the private auction it in fact is. Even if the loser in the fund-raising sweepstakes ends up winning the White House, it's a fore-ordained conclusion that he will be an enthusiastic advocate of the very "free market" delusions that have brought our economy to the brink of collapse, and very likely will again. That's nothing for Main Street to cheer about.

The hysteria of the Democrats is palpable, as the dismal record of their man Obama has largely crushed the rapturous idealism of his 2008 voting base, leaving him nothing but lesser evilism to offer in 2012. Hence the resort to ridiculous claims of a pending abortion ban and the return of "Jim Crow" and/or Soviet-style elections.

Recall that in 2004 Democrats were encouraged to "vote or die" on the pretext that a second term for George W. Bush represented an "existential threat" to the nation that would overturn Roe v. Wade and introduce a military draft, neither of which happened. But facts are not a hysteric's business.

It is a ludicrous stretch of the imagination to think that a voter ID card issued at government expense if necessary is the equivalent of resurrecting Jim Crow. Blacks in the segregation era were regularly lynched, which is certainly not the case today, and those few who attempted to defy white authority by registering to vote were confronted by such qualifying "exams" as, "How many bubbles in a bar of soap?"

Requiring people to prove they are who they say they are is hardly in the same league. We do it all the time at the public library, and none dare call it Bolshevism.

Speaking of Bolshevism, the complaint in the West about Soviet elections was that one had to be a member of the Communist Party in order to vote, and the party was closed to all but a tiny portion of the population. Gee, doesn't that sound remarkably like the microscopic Property Class in the U.S., which rejects all candidates who express even the slightest skepticism of their Free Market religion? The major financial donors upon whom both Democrats and Republicans are totally dependent represent an even smaller fraction of the electorate than did Communist Party members in the former U.S.S.R., but that somehow doesn't invalidate the presumed democratic legitimacy of U.S. elections, the way it routinely did (in Western eyes) in the case of the Soviet Union.

Hypocrisy? You bet.

The fact is that U.S. presidential elections are a sham insofar as they are presumed to express a democratic will. Polls demonstrate that a substantial majority of the electorate believes the country is "on the wrong track," and has been through both Democratic and Republican administrations for a long time. If the system were in fact democratic, the two major parties would be busily engaged in correcting this perception - by delivering what the American people want.

Well, what do the people want? Again, polls over a substantial period of time demonstrate majority support for social spending ahead of Pentagon spending: for environmental clean-up, expanded educational opportunity, and government-funded security against illness, injury, and old age, plus state subsidized child care for working mothers who otherwise can't afford it. Such desires are particularly strong among those who occupy the bottom half of the wealth pyramid, and these are the same people who tend not to vote, since no candidate representing such policies is ever allowed to win. Rigged elections? Not in the sense of tampering with electoral machinery, though that occurs as well under "democracy," but certainly in the sense of using elections to thwart the popular will rather than express it.

All of this is bad enough, but our rulers are not content to simply rig the game, they also have to ridicule the democratic will. Thus, the people's desire for social and economic security is contemptuously dismissed as "a letter to Santa Claus" - to quote Ronald Reagan's U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick dismissing the social and cultural protections of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as childish fantasy. (The specific rights objected to are: social security, "just and favorable conditions of work," protection against unemployment, equal pay for equal work, "just and favorable remuneration" i.e., decent pay, the right to join a union, adequate rest and leisure, a decent standard of living, public education, and access to the cultural life of the community and scientific advances.)

A letter to Santa Claus. That's also what Barack Obama and Mitt Romney think of the reigning international standard of human rights, which happens to dovetail nicely with the American people's central political desires. Note that our leaders don't debate these ideas, they simply discard them.

Think about that the next time you are in a voting booth, and ask yourself how long we can afford to leave our leaders' contempt for us unaddressed.

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