Thursday, September 27, 2012

Voting Tribally

Only in the very loosest sense of the word is democracy still alive in this country. What we have left is a sort of tribal warfare between two mobs of fanatical lunatics, warfare that is essentially meaningless since we are in any case governed by a wealthy oligarchy which is going to keep the general population under its heel regardless of which side wins.

In a discussion last week I suggested that winning an election without proposing any principles or policies but merely by disparaging the opposition and becoming the “lesser of two evils” was a losing proposition for the nation, and I was met with the response to the effect that the only thing which counted was winning and that “how we do that doesn’t matter.”

That is a repugnant and fanatical statement, and I reject it outright. Of course it matters “how we do that.” No one who believes in democracy can make such a statement. To say that is to legitimize the election of 2000. Obama supporters who say that are as delusional and fanatical, and as repugnant, as the Tea Partiers who demand Obama’s birth certificate.

This week in a discussion I suggested that while Romney was a bad choice and that I supported much of what Obama has done, and while I do not expect a perfect candidate, there are some “bright lines” which I cannot cross. Killing people overseas with Hellfire missiles when we do not even know who they are, killing Americans without due process of law, initiating war without Congress... These things I cannot support.

The response was similar to last week. It doesn’t matter what Obama has done, our side must win regardless because, while our side is killing people all over the world and detaining people without charges or trial, the other side is unthinkably evil.

When we are voting tribally, without even thinking about what or whom we are voting for, then this is not democracy in any meaningful way. This is the abandonment of judgement and reason, which are required ingredients of democracy. These are two mobs incited by the frothing of the oligarchy for its own purposes, and is the failure of democracy in the nation which was the “great experiment” in democracy.

Democracy is failing in this nation because the people in this nation have given it up. We gave it up in the 1980’s for flat screen televisions and SUVs. We gave it up in the 1990’s for our 3000 sgft homes. We gave it up in the 2000’s so that we could be “kept safe from terror.” We held the “great experiment” in our hand, and we opened our fingers and let if drop.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your "bright lines" resonate with me big time. In addition, I can't vote for anyone who supports the NDAA. Unfortunately, when I talk to most of my fellow Americans, they don't know what the NDAA is, and they don't grasp how these drone strikes undermine the founding principles of our "great experiment".

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