Third Party & Independents Archives

December 05, 2003

A vote for Revolution

Under our current system of government, we no longer have a democracy. Sounds like an outrageous statement doesn’t it? But, consider the following. A democracy is a government of the people, whose decisions are made by the people and for the best interests of the majority of the society’s people. But what we have today does not meet that definition. The reason is that 1/2 of the eligible voters don’t vote, and 1/3 of registered voters are not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican party, therefore, the Democratic and Republican voters don’t even add up to one half of the eligible persons to vote.

I vote. I won’t vote Democratic or Republican. Like the majority of Americans, I will not vote to support the two party system that fails to represent me. I will vote, as I have for decades, with hope. Many would argue that my vote will be wasted, since a vote for a third party or not voting at all, simply results in the maintenance of the two party system with help from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) controlled by the two major parties.

The winning candidate never represents a majority decision of the people anymore. A plutocracy is a government run by the wealthy. An oligarchy is a government run by a small number of the population. Given that our government's officials are elected by a minority of adults in the country, and their decisions are bought and sold through compromise of wealthy special interest lobbyists and donors as a few hours spent watching C-Span makes evident, we have a plutocratic oligarchy, not a democracy. We talk democracy to get votes, but, make no mistake; our government's decisions and lawmaking are based on plutocratic lobbyists representing an oligarchy of corporate, business and wealthy individual's interests.

So, why bother to vote if you are not a Democrat or Republican, eh? My reason is that I believe in democracy and democracy demands of its citizens that they be informed and that they vote. I feel a responsibility to the future of my daughter's generation to do my part to further democracy regardless of how futile it may be. Also, as long as I vote, I can hope that others will too.

However, I am convinced that our growing plutocratic oligarchy will collapse under its own weight of corruption and failure as democracy. Precisely because 1/2 of the eligible voters don't vote, and 1/3 of registered voters are not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican party, the minority Democratic and Republican parties will be successful and their very success in elections will insure their inability to change their non-democracy ways.

This plutocratic oligarchy will fail, in time, and then, and only then, can we reinvent democracy that will work in these modern times. The current system of the worst government that special interest money can produce cannot be undone as long as the two party strangle hold on the election system (FEC) remains. However, if the Democratic and/or Republican party recognizes that the system is headed toward collapse and revolution, they may "see the light" and reform their non-democratic ways. That would likely be too late, however, for once they realize it, so will the majority of citizens in the country and then, why should the citizens believe either of the two major parties who brought the system to the brink of revolution?

Chinese history, especially in the 20th century, teaches that revolution and servicing the interests of the majority of the population are the only options for a government. Mao Tse Tung reined over the revolution that was necessary to unify the nation. Subsequent leaders have diligently worked to represent more and more of the people's interests to the point of now endorsing democratic changes at a measured pace. They know that if the future of China does not rest in some form of democracy, it will result in yet another revolution.

Our government under the two party system must choose to reinstate democracy of, by, and for the people, or face revolution in the end. I can find no viable third parties that could return, through acquisition of office, democracy to the American people. Therefore, I can only look forward to the two parties changing their successful winning strategies (extremely unlikely) or revolution. By voting Green or Independent candidates, I further the cause of one or the other of the possible outcomes for our system returning to the principle of government of, by and for the majority of the people.

Revolution in America? Not possible, right? Not with a middle class. That has been the thinking of scholars and philosophers in the 20th century. But, this is the 21st century and the middle class that believed in, supported, and were largely fulfilled by, the two party system, no longer exists. The majority of adults are frustrated with government, and its constant reversals of policy which provide no long term stability, planning, or implementation of solutions which can only be fulfilled by long term adherence to those solutions. In addition, more and more middle class Americans fail to see any positive return from their taxes that even comes close to the value of the work they put in to earn those tax dollars.

This kind of frustration, lack of faith and belief in the government, and disappointment which is becoming a majority sentiment, will only grow. Revolutions are not born on a day when millions wake up on the same morning and say, that's it, I have had enough. Revolutions are like a garden. Frustration, disappointment, and anger are the soil, fertilizer, water, and sunlight. All that is left to make something grow, is a seed. The seed will be a spokesperson with access to a mass audience, who taps into the soil and says, today is the day. Today we plant. Like Mao Tse Tung, the right person, at the right time, with access to enough disenchanted population, is all that is needed to start a revolution when the people are ready to demand change. Whether it be peaceful or violent, it will come if the soil bed is prepared. And we are preparing it today.

In my daughter's generation, or her daughter's generation, if the two party system does not alter it's selling of government to the highest bidding special interests, if the government does not find a way to unite a majority of citizens behind it, over the next generation or two or three, a revolution will be inevitable.

Thus, my vote for Green or Natural Law Party, or simply not voting at all, is a vote to further either a wake up call to the two party system to act as a democracy, or a revolution. And that is a vote I believe is very worthwhile casting, either way.

Posted by David R. Remer at December 5, 2003 02:22 AM
Comments
Comment #4170

A good piece. I agree with most of it. The notion that the current two party system does not serve democracy well is highlighted by the analysis done on the Political Compass site that Thomas Leavitt drew my attention to. It can be found at

www.digitalronin.f2s.com/politicalcompass/usprimaries.html

There is so little separating the people who have a realistic chance of being elected that the democratic process is much diminished and almost (but not quite)redundant. Having said that, however, is it really worth voting for an independent on principal alone, when that vote could be used to remove the current admin, who do appear to be the worst of all possible alternatives?

Posted by: Bob Hope at December 5, 2003 12:11 PM
Comment #4171

We still have a democracy. Problem is, right now, that we have to fight the system to use it to our advantage.

We can talk about a plutocracy, but the reality is, there is nothing official about it, nothing fundamentally plutocratic about our government. Tendencies exist, but they do not necessary determine the shape of our government. Everything that has been done to the advantage of the rich and the powerful so far is statutory and regulatory, both of which are reversible.

We can despair at the hold a few select individuals have on our government, or we can use the resources at our hands to do something about it.

Until somebody comes along who can really build the Green Party into a suitably powerful political force, I don’t see the point in investing my votes in them, especially when the result will be more Republicans elected, and more Republican agendas enacted. What is needed is a Democrat mandate. If not the removal of Bush from office, then the loss of seats in the house and the senate in the 2004 elections.

Otherwise, it’s their ball game. We must pick the lesser of two evils here, or be forced to endure the greater of them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 5, 2003 12:43 PM
Comment #4172

We must pick the lesser of two evils here, or be forced to endure the greater of them.

Or shoot them both. It’s almost time to get the guns out. 2005, regardless of who’s elected.

Posted by: Son of Liberty at December 5, 2003 01:09 PM
Comment #4176

In response to Bob Hope and Stephen Daugherty, I appreciate your comments and understand your perspective. But, you both presume that the Democratic Party is somehow a better choice, or lesser of two evils. If one is a Democrat, or liberal that may seem obvious.

But, I am not talking about issues like medical care access or headstart. I am talking about restoring democracy to a unified majority of citizens in the country. And on this issue, the Democratic Party is no better than the Republican Party in regards to their participation and control of the Federal Elections Commission, whose primary objective is to insure that no other populist parties have a prayer of competing and therefore excluding the political process from the majority of citizens who do not align their views with either of the two major parties.

The FEC limits people’s choices to the only two parties the FEC will permit to exist as viable parties. Now if the FEC were to open equal access and support for all parties with a minimum standard of public support, my optimism would grow significantly about restoring democracy to the people. But, the two major parties have no intention of doing anything like this as it would increase political competition, and neither wants that.

So, like Son of Liberty in the preceding comment, my hope lies with the collapse of the non-democracy we have today, so the people may restore democracy of, by, and for the majority of Americans with protections against plutocratic and oligarchic influences. Unlike Son of Liberty, I will continue to use the ballot box instead of insurrection as the means of bringing this about. But, I am hearing more and more folks, on the internet and even a few friends, speak in support of Son of Liberty’s point of view.

That point of view is of our own making and we should heed the warning those “crackpot” voices are yelling about. For if their voices grow in number, you can be sure, this government will not want the rest of the nation to hear about it. And in just such a manner did our own 18th century Revolution come about.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 5, 2003 02:13 PM
Comment #4201

Democracy exists. If you do not accept that, if you do not believe that, you have lost already. At this point in time, nobody is looking over our shoulders when we head into the voting booth. At this point, we aren’t voting in compulsory elections, with only one candidate.

Until then, we have a democracy. Not pure, but since when is any human enterprise pure, and ideal? Since when are we handed any agreement with anybody else on a silver platter? We have to get use to the idea that the Republicans have gained power.

If we do not think they deserve it, we don’t have the power to simply yank them- we have to appeal to people by persuasion, or else watch as their policies become imposed on us again and again. I do not suggest the Democratic party because it is pure, because it always right, nor because it is entirely beholden to liberal ideals. I pick it because it is the simplest place to start for anybody wishing to oppose the Republicans.

If the Green party does everything right in the next twenty years, then maybe they will be in a position to challenge Republican policy. In the meantime, what will our government look like? What policies will have been imposed upon us? Will we sacrifice the crucial opportunities of the next couple of decades simply on the faint hope that one day we might get our way across the board? Or do we work now, with the people in power most sympathetic to our policies, our worldview, and create an effect opposition to Bush and his people now?

I vote, literally, to do so now. To vote for the candidate, however imperfect, who is both closest in agreement to me, and most able to see my kind of policy done. I am not going to give another term to Bush, simply because his strongest opposition is not a hardline liberal. That is simply allowing the worst to come to past, just because the alternative is not the best that could happen.

Besides, in order to get hardline liberals in office, you will have to get moderate liberals there first. As long as Republicans hold elected majorities in the legislature as well as the presidency, regular liberals will have a hard time seeing policy done, much less green party people.

In essence, your best bet for a favorable environment for Green party Growth, is the Democratic party back in favor.

To sum up, it’s my belief that unless you can convince a majority or large plurality of American voters that Liberal interests reflect their own, then trying to bootstrap the Green Party during these times, by taking support from the Democrats is simply political suicide.

Support the Democrats, and the political change that supports will in turn support you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 7, 2003 12:12 PM
Comment #4209

Part of the problem in America is that we have grown accustomed to redefining words to meet our needs regardless of what the dictionary says. George Orwell called it “NewSpeak” or doublespeak. A methodology for brainwashing in his famous book, “1984”.

Those who would call our political system democracy when little more than 1/3 of the eligble citizens to vote determine what laws everyone else is to live by is using NewSpeak and trying to preserve the notion that we are a democracy in order to hide reality and keep the populace brainwashed into submission.

You want to restore democracy to America - Give a tax break incentive to every eligible adult who votes. Simple, appropriate, and fully supportive of true democracy. But, of course, that will never happen, because you need a democracy to pass such a law and we don’t have one.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2003 07:04 PM
Comment #4237

You make some heady claims. I’d love to see the polling data to back them up.


What I don’t understand is why you want apathetic Americans to vote. Do you really want someone who knows nothing about the issues to vote? Do you really think that will bring about a 3rd party? Those people would overwhelmingly vote for the incumbent, because that is the name they hear the most. Your methods would solidify the current political landscape.

You can deride our two party system but nearly every other country is one too. In Parliamentry governments, parties unite to form a coalition-essentially they become one party. The opposing parties consquently unite to form the opposition party.

My Final point: if only 1/3 of Americans are active, that’s enough. Approximately 1/3 of Americans supported the Revolution. The majority didn’t support either side; they didn’t care enough to get involved.

-Jim

Posted by: Jim Saksa at December 9, 2003 01:36 PM
Comment #4244

First of all, a great many non-voters are NOT apathetic. They are unrepresented.

You seem to presume that voters DO understand the issues. A great many don’t, because the issues are mired in economics and politics and structure of government, topics not studied or learned about by the general public. What little exposure they get to these subjects in H.S. is forgotten soon after.

If only 1/3 of Americans is enough for you, that is fine. But, it is nothing more than a political ploy or typical lying through advertising to call it democracy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 9, 2003 05:12 PM
Comment #4249

Oh, and there is one major problem with tax breaks for voters.

The party in power could each make bigger and better tax breaks a part of their platform, in effect encouraging people to vote for the party most willing to give them the big tax break.

Legalized voter bribery.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 9, 2003 09:28 PM
Comment #4253

Stephen, there is no question you have an important point there. For the idea to have any merit, some kind of protection against that happening would have to be incorporated. And for the life of me, I can’t think of one, right now. I think I will just concede this one to you, Stephen. Excellent point.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 10, 2003 01:27 AM
Comment #4342

My comment is that the Republican and Democratic parties are not in reality two separate parties. They are merely two wings of the Ruling Party. Democracy? What Democracy? Our nation is a Republic. We have a Representative form of Government. Actually, this was designed as an improvemnt on One Man, One Vote, which is the Athenian model of true Democracy. However, our politics have become thoroughly corrupted…it’s only about money now. Mr. Reamer is totally correct in pointing out that there is no democracy in America anymore. Our current leaders are consistently pushing us into the nightmare existence of 1984. Our real choices here are to Love Big Brother…or…at some point to fight to recover our freedoms. I have just about lost all hope with the Process, with working with the Powers That Be. It’s coming down to Resist or be Assimilated.

Long Live Freedom!

Posted by: E. X. Midnight at December 12, 2003 05:51 AM