I’ve reached a point where, for the most part, I try to ignore the shenanigans our so-called elected officials get up to. When you’ve got things like Obama’s trip to Australia costing $1.7 million for a one-night stay (they had to rent over four thousand rooms, if you can imagine), I feel pretty powerless in the face of a government that’s become an aristocracy.
When I wore a younger man’s clothes, I was fairly liberal for a variety of reasons. I identified with all these “underdog” causes, and got really heated up about a lot of them. One of my primary ones was the plight of the American Indian. I still think it’s deplorable, but…well, this blog isn’t about the minutiae of things like that. I want to get at the larger issues.
Eventually, I realized the aims and beliefs of liberals didn’t suit my temperament. They’re too concentrated on handing over ever more power to the government in the aim of achieving some mythical utopia that can never exist as long as we remain human. People need things to test them, things to strive against, and a utopia is, by its very nature, a static, stagnant thing.
So my political pendulum swung the other way. Personal freedom being at the core of my values, I thought throwing in with the conservative side of things was the answer. After all, it seemed to only logical alternative to the politically correct world of liberals where I constantly worried I’d say the wrong word and a spotted owl would die somewhere. Or someone would be offended.
But I slowly realized this wasn’t where my heart was at, either. Where the liberals cater to big government, the conservatives—at least the neoconservatives—cater to big business. If you find a megacorp, it’s likely you’ll find a conservative involved in founding it, or at least in expanding it.
Sum result? They’re two sides of the same coin: big business, where Everyman gets trampled under and locked into soulless cubicles in the name of Bigger Profit, or big government, where Everyman can’t be Everyman any longer because that’s somehow offensive and not diverse enough, so we need to cater to everyone, even if that means suppressing the rights of the many to avoid offending the one.
Either way, you’re looking at an accrual of power to select individuals at the expense of the majority of the population. Power is the coin, with conservatives and liberals making up heads and tails. Doesn’t matter which one lands up, you’re still stuck with the same coin.
So what happens when you can no longer subscribe to the platforms of the two major parties? You’re left on the outside. And when you’re left out there looking in, you begin to notice some interesting things.
For instance: Politics is reality TV writ large.
C’mon, look at it honestly and objectively. Obama makes a pronouncement, says he’s gonna do something. He’s got his phone and his pen, and he doesn’t need Congress. Well, that’s true, because, after a few facetious protests, Boehner will go right along with the man on most things. That gets people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity stirred up—not to mention all the Michele Bachmanns and Sarah Palins—and ta da! the circus comes to town.
Now the twenty-four-hour news cycle gets involved. Doesn’t matter if it’s Fox, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, what have you, they pick it up and run with it and make sure you don’t forget it, even if you’d rather not hear about it again the rest of your life (it seems NPR is especially adept at that, going on for weeks about anything major). Now that the news channels are onboard, the politicians have to make statements, stirring things up even more. It turns into a vicious cycle that feeds on itself.
And while you’re watching all the flashing lights, they sneak in laws that circumvent or nullify the Constitution on things like warrantless wire taps and arresting me because I have what Big Brother deems to be too much cash on me, therefore I must be a drug dealer.
And we’re caught in the middle. We have to put up with police state tactics like sobriety checkpoints, where they check for far more than whether or not you’ve been drinking. We’re subjected to what amount to strip searches when we get on planes. I was recently a passenger of a vehicle pulled over for speeding and had to present my license—apparently to prove I had the right to travel in the state of Oklahoma.
Somehow I doubt I’m the only one who’s noticed all this. I’m not stupid, but I’m certainly far from being an observational genius, either. I’m usually late to the game on things like this.
Here’s the crux of the matter, as far as I can tell: we keep electing these baboons. We’re sucked into believing we have to maintain the two-party system or this country will collapse, when nothing could be farther from the truth. George Washington counseled against letting us get divided into political parties way back in his farewell speech, and our Constitution and Bill of Rights wasn’t hammered out by Democrats and Republicans—it was hammered out by people who didn’t even have the right to vote but decided they needed to change things.
I think that’s where we are today, but we have that power to vote. We can stop electing the people who keep putting us in the same messes year after year, cycle after cycle. We can choose to ignore the dog and pony show and get to the root of the matter and choose people who represent us, not rule over us.
If we do it soon enough, we can have a revolution without firing a shot. And isn’t that what we’d prefer?
Think about it.