(Swans - October 24, 2011) I can hardly imagine how people in other countries fathom US politics. Here we are, finally, seeing street protests in many American cities that are long overdue, just like those that helped overturn governments in Egypt and Tunisia and fight governments in England and other European nations. The Occupy Wall Street and similar protests are totally justified, because the vast majority of Americans have been viciously abused by a greed-driven, corrupt political and economic system designed to benefit the rich and powerful. But will these protests produce results?
The main reason the answer may be negative is that the Tea Party movement was a huge disappointment for those of us waiting and hoping for the Second American Revolution. All it did was add vitality to the Republican Party, one-half of the corrupt two-party plutocracy that has made a mockery of American democracy.
The new wave of street protestors generally seems to have a leftist orientation and some Democrats in Congress already have aligned themselves with it, as has President Obama. This suggests that the new movement will be, and might have been designed to be, a balancing tactic to revitalize the Democratic Party.
So the key strategic question is will the new movement do what the Tea Party movement failed to do, namely passionately attack the two-party oligarchy and the integrity of the US political system controlled by it? If it does not do this, then the odds are it will become something that aids the reelection of Obama, which is insane, because he has proved himself to be a terrible leader, a delusional liar, and too cowardly to fight the powerful forces of Wall Street and the whole financial sector that raped the US economy. In other words, what everyone should watch out for in coming weeks is whether the current street protests get hijacked by the Democrats.
Obama has started to explicitly label himself as the underdog in the presidential race and admitted that Americans are worse off today than they were when he was elected. They are likely to stay that way. So, here is the unique historical aspect to the Obama attempt to get reelected: It is based primarily on the selling point that the chief reason to reelect Obama is that he is the lesser evil, compared to any possible Republican presidential candidate that opposes him.
All the current anger among street protestors aimed at Wall Street and the bankster crooks that have for some thirty years successfully ruined the financial well being of all but those at the very top of the economic ladder may become "managed" to make Republicans look worse than Democrats.
Sadly, many Americans are politically unsophisticated. So they will be manipulated as they have been in the past to ignore the fact that Obama and Democrats in general have also been bought-off by corporate interests, just a little less than Republicans.
Voting for the lesser-evil Obama is likely to be the road to his successful reelection. How can those Americans, especially those supporting the current street protests, who see Obama as the loser president he is, justify NOT voting for him? That is the central question and dilemma.
How can they avoid feeling guilty or responsible for electing an even worse Republican if they simply do not vote for either Obama or his Republican opponent?
Can they feel virtuous and patriotic if they do not vote for any presidential candidate or if they vote for some third-party candidate or the candidate resulting from the new Americans Elect national effort using a complex system on the Internet to select a candidate that will get on all the state ballots? This is very difficult, because the two-party plutocracy has enough power to make it inconceivable for any alternative to it to win the US presidency. Obama is likely to accumulate the $1 billion or more he wants to win reelection, and eventually the Republican opponent is also likely to get a similar amount, especially since unlimited amounts of money can secretly be given by the superrich because of recent Supreme Court decisions. With several billion dollars the American public can be brainwashed and manipulated to favor either Obama or his Republican opponent.
So, it makes just as much sense to not vote at all rather than vote for some third party or alternative candidate that will surely lose. In fact, I have long believed that there is a very good reason for not voting for any presidential candidate. Such a boycott of the election for US president becomes a vote against the corrupt, dysfunctional, and dishonest two-party political system. It sends a message to Democrats and Republicans as well as the whole world that at least some rebellious Americans understand that their broken political system is no longer a credible democracy that merits public support or world respect.
Maybe, just maybe, Americans will eventually understand that the Second American Revolution is necessary and develop the courage to reinvent their political system and reestablish a true democracy that serves the interests of all of its citizens, not just the rich and powerful. The path to radical reform is what Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC is strongly championing right now with his Get Money Out campaign, aimed at getting a constitutional amendment that would remove all private money out of US politics. I urge Americans to sign the petition at getmoneyout.com, because money is the root cause of all the corruption that has ruined the US political system.
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About the Author
Joel S. Hirschhorn was formerly a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and senior staffer at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association. He now writes about politics and government, and is the author of Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government and Sprawl Kills: How Blandburbs Steal Your Time, Health And Money. (back)