Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Time to sing a new song

We are less than two weeks away from going to the polls and having the lesser of two evils visited upon us once again. To be fair to Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama, they didn’t create the current clusterfuck that serves as democracy in America; they stand merely as symptoms of a much larger systemic failure.

Sadly, political contributions totalling billions of dollars could have been directed to better uses, not to mention the amazing amount of volunteerism that would have served us better if it had been invested in local efforts at community building, and bettering where we all live.

Once again, a little more than half of those registered to vote will participate in an election that only moves us closer to a looming train wreck of governance.

Those who do vote for the two corporate choices will hold their ground, tied to party loyalties that often won't stand even minimal scrutiny. How can you explain away one vice president, claiming to represent “regular” folks, dropping $150,000 of campaign contributions for shopping sprees to Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, with nearly $5,000 of that being for makeup and hair? And we thought John “Breck Girl” Edwards’ $400 haircut was an extravagance.

Of course, hypocrisy isn’t limited by party affiliation, as “Senator Plastic,” Joe Biden, never met a credit card peddler he couldn’t cut a deal with.

As Ralph Nader (a guy who probably buys his suits at Men's Wearhouse) opines over at Counterpunch, “The Song Remains the Same” when it comes to presidential politics. Nader makes the point that there is little real difference in the choice between Senators Obama and McCain, despite protestations to the contrary from Beck, Limbaugh, Carr and other right-wing talkmeisters (“he’s a socialist”) about Mr. Obama, and the left’s bleatings of senility, and VP incompetence, referring to the McCain/Palin ticket.

Asking the question, “Where then is the “hope” and “change” from the junior Senator from Illinois,”? Nader goes on to layout the similarities between McBama and O’Cain.

“…Obama and McCain want more nuclear power plants, more coal production, and more offshore oil drilling. Our national priority should be energy efficient consumer technologies (motor vehicles, heating, air conditioning and electric systems) and renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.

Both support the gigantic taxpayer funded Wall Street bailout, without expressed amendments. Both support the notorious Patriot Act, the revised FISA act which opened the door to spy on Americans without judicial approval, and Obama agrees with McCain in vigorously opposing the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

What about avoidance? Did you see them speak about a comprehensive enforcement program to prosecute corporate crooks in the midst of the greatest corporate crime wave in our history? Did you see them allude to doing anything about consumer protection (credit card gouging, price of medicines, the awful exploitation and deprivation of the people in the inner city) and the ripoffs of buyers in ever more obscure and inescapable ways?”

You can read the rest of the article, here.

Maybe we need the revolution that Nader and someone to his right, Ron Paul, are calling for. It is a credit to the character and integrity of both of these men (as well as Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin) that they could put ideological differences aside and find four points of common ground to offer Americans a common rallying point.

I continue to be amazed that each subsequent presidential election leaves us with so narrow a spectrum of choices every four years. A country with over 300 million people can't (or won't) grant us something better than two candidates splitting hairs over minor issues, and a perennial field of third-party candidates excluded from the debates, and blacked out by the news media.

Unfortunately, things will probably get worse before Americans wake up to the bankruptcy of going back to the same well and expecting a different tasting drink of water, one that’s not putrefied.

Hopefully, we’ll have a choice in four, or eight more years to travel a different path.

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