There are political theories that the people are neither well-informed nor capable when it comes to running a country. And as those theories go, the masses have no place in running the country; that responsibility belongs with the elites.
When we think of democracy, we think of a political system in which everyone has a voice. And when we think of the United States, we usually think of democracy. It’s true that it’s a limited form of representative democracy, at least insofar as voting on the national level is concerned. And on the local level, I don’t think it would be untrue to say that politics devolves into something clique-ish or even a tyranny of the majority.
If we were to believe that given access to information the masses of people can make reasoned judgments and vote for the candidate that would be the most beneficial to that system, then it makes sense to believe that people who are fed particular types of information could be manipulated into voting poorly.
Looking back at the Bush years and the devastation to the planet and to the economy, it seems unlikely in the extreme that Bush was in any way beneficial to the political system, and given Obama’s continuation of Bush policies I’m baffled as how what we expected of him is so different from what we got. It’s as if the express is roaring down the tracks and Hell is looming ahead with no chance of slowing or switching to another route.
Putting aside the voter caging and voting machine manipulations there were still a lot of people who voted for Bush, twice. As completely unthinkable as this is, it illustrates exactly why you can never predict how the people will vote unless you are the ones doing the manipulating. We must of course realize that this series of events has some sort of plan behind it – that people are actually being manipulated into voting one way or the other. So what happened to those people who you could trust to examine the evidence and make sound voting decisions?
Let’s move to the present, with the advent of the new team of Romney and Ryan. It seems to me that they are the twin harbingers of dishonesty and fascism – a pair straight from Orwell’s Ministry of Truth whose role is that of corporate puppet rule. My fear is that even though they seem to be so unbelievably bad for our political system, for our country, that they may actually wind up at the head of it.
One thing that bothers me is that there is what seems to be a large faction of people with the idea that Obama has betrayed the trust of those who elected him by not being the leftist they thought he was. Those folks feel that he should be punished by not voting for him, and damn the consequences, and they fall into two groups, one that might vote for the other party and the other that might vote for a third-party candidate. As usual, the third party candidate doesn’t have a chance in a quadrillion of serious consideration and it takes one vote away from one candidate without giving it to the other.
There are some die-hard Obama followers who remember the Bush years (How soon we forget!) and remember that the express was travelling even faster then, and who will vote for him again. My point of view is that Obama is our only real hope for survival as a country. Yes, it’s that serious. Voting for the other team ensures that we throw more coal into the boiler and watch as the wheels fall off. The flow of money from the near-extinct middle class will increase and anything resembling a healthy economy will shrivel and wither.
Once upon a time there was a Republican Party. Although they were sometimes a bit tight with the purse strings when it came to public welfare, they built a fast-growing and stable economy with public works projects from dams to interstate highways. And they actually cared about the success of the economy. Now, these guys may have thought that power belongs in the hands of the elite, but they also thought that a strong middle class with opportunity for all was better than stealing all the money.
But the ideological bent of the current Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the only ideal is to make the very rich very much richer by stripping away all the money from everyone until they have it all. We’ve seen this so-called free market plan impoverish nations all over the world since it was unleashed by its believers and it is crippling not only the economy but any ability to maintain infrastructures. So services are decimated. Police, fire, welfare and health, roads and bridges. Cities sell their assets off to anyone who can afford them, foreign or domestic, and much of our nation is now owned or owed to foreigners as our debt climbs. The blindness of the free market approach is staggering.
As always, art reflects life, and The Hunger Games envisions a world where “districts” are fenced gulags peopled in poverty and Capital City is a fantasy land where the wealthy have power and glory. It’s the Eloi and the Morlocks in a never-ending battle of control and ignorance. Soylent Green is people, my friend.
So give the people a little hope. In a second term, Presidents are often more free to follow their own policies rather than the policies of their handlers because, after all, they can’t be re-elected for a third term and they no longer have to please contributors. Obama has not been the disaster that Bush was in many respects and given some freedom might do a little better for us while Romney is a dissembling train wreck of luxurious privilege who will pull the throttle to its full stop and damn the torpedoes straight into the valley of death will ride the three hundred million.
No matter what the polls say, no matter how much more sensible a second Obama administration may be, the fix is in. The will of the people may not be all that well thought nor well-guided. In a nation of believers credulousness is the order of the day and there is far too much of it. We need another FDR, but what we have is Obama, and we should do the best we can with him. We don’t need another Bush on the strings of the Koch brothers or another Project for the New American Century to invent more wars to deplete our treasure even further. My fear is that my country’s voters are being fed a pabulum by the media that is laced with heavy metals and poisons and they can’t get enough of it.