It boggles the mind to contemplate, but the 2008 presidential race has officially begun. Well, at least that’s what this morning’s clip on MSNBC informed me. Not surprisingly, the media has already begun running its polls and is already handicapping the race and anointing front-runners. None of this bodes well for anyone remotely concerned about representative government, of, by, and for, the people.
Just like in 2004, and 2000, and before that, 1996, and before that, 1992…(get the point?), the participants are merely figureheads for those pulling the strings behind the scenes. The talking heads and political pundits will all make sure that we are all given several reasons why we must participate in this exercise in futility. There will be a semblance of intrigue and the show that all is being run legitimately. In the end, the average citizen will once again be the biggest loser.
Here is the up-to-the moment cast of characters that will be revving up their own version of the political dog and pony show. They’ll begin criss-crossing the country and stopping off in places like Iowa and New Hampshire. A few will become buzzworthy and possibly even become the early “upstart” and possible “spoiler."
Knighting the front-runners
The pre-emptive front-runners appear to be Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Senator Clinton, has been seen of late, talking tough on foreign policy and doing her damndest to appear presidential, despite the fact that no woman has ever been elected president and despite the fact that this is the 21st century, I wouldn’t wager any money you wouldn’t want to lose on the fairer sex, at least for president. Of course, the Republicans have been yammering about a run by Condelezza Rice, also.
Then, there is John McCain. Everyone’s favorite maverick, despite the fact that he’s never done anything to warrant that label. Even so, pundits and pollsters are already getting hard-ons about McCain’s ability reach the voters who are neither Republican, nor Democrat, but known merely as Independents.
Since it doesn’t matter that McCain isn’t really a maverick, or the anti-candidate, just that the perception is of such things, McCain will be given a free pass to wear the “outsider” mantle for most of the next two years.
The Rest of Us
While it’s probably a bit early for most Americans to give two shits about the 2008 presidential race, there are a couple of things worth taking away from this. First, any real hope for change in the way business is conducted in the corridors of power, is merely fantasy. The U.S., for all of its posturing and lip service paid to the “D-word,” is actually a fascist oligarchy and voting merely gives some legitimacy to the sham foisted upon us every four years.
In defining fascism, Noam Chomsky accurately describes our present system that we are told is democracy. As he writes, “That's what a fascist system traditionally was. It can vary in the way it works, but the ideal state that it aims at is absolutist -- top-down control with the public essentially following orders. Fascism is a term from the political domain, so it doesn't apply strictly to corporations, but if you look at them, power goes strictly top-down, from the board of directors to managers to lower managers and ultimately to the people on the shop floor, typists, etc. There's no flow of power or planning from the bottomup. Ultimate power resides in the hands of investors, owners, banks, etc.
People can disrupt, make suggestions, but the same is true of a slave society. People who aren't owners and investors have nothing much to say about it. They can choose to rent their labor to the corporation, or to purchase the commodities or services that it produces, or to find a place in the chain of command, but that's it. That's the totality of their control over the corporation." (Secrets, Lies, and Democracy by Noam Chomsky; Odonian Press, 1994)
For the first time in my life, I’m not going to take part this time. I’m not going to get all caught up in an exercise that disenfranchises the wishes of the majority of the U.S. citizenry. If voting really mattered, then I’m sure that someone would pass a law making it illegal.
When you look at the field being offered at this early stage, there isn’t one person in the lot who could make a difference. Any truly “maverick” or independent candidate would end up eventually excluded from the debates that are orchestrated to give the appearance that real issues are being debated.
Without there being any hope for a truly independent, third party, one that represented the agenda for working-class Americans, the election of 2008 will once more represent politics as usual here in Oceania, I mean, the United States of America.