I’ve been following and/or writing about politics for the better part of thirty years. When I was younger, I used to look forward to general elections in the United States and my native Canada. I loved the possibility of affecting change and moving forward. Democracy. Progress. Yummy!
Having grown up in the Thatcher-Reagan-Mulroney era, by the time I reached voting age I wanted nothing more than to be rid of them and move on. As luck would have it, I was able to vote in the 1993 Canadian election at the tender age of 18 and I was proud to help chase our conservative government out of Ottawa. However, that would be the one and only time I voted for the Liberal Party.
Much like the Clinton Administration south of the border, the change I thought was coming to our countries never arrived. Instead of more meaningful progress, the likes of which we enjoyed in the decades after the New Deal, The Liberals we elected ended up latching on to Reaganomics, neo-liberalism, and free trade. They Lowered taxes on corporations and the wealthy, while raising them on the poor and abandoning the Middle-Class. Little has changed since.
In the subsequent years of deregulation, de-unionization, and globalization, the quality of life deteriorated considerably. Wealth inequality expanded, life expectancy decreased, and wages have barely budged since the 1970s. Meanwhile, corporate power has run completely amok, in and out of our political systems, while the average citizen’s political power has all but disappeared. Democracy had become a shade of its former self.
Those of you who have not already done so will march into voting booths today. You’ll wait for an unbearable amount of time in line, and if you’re not turned away at the last minute, you’ll get to vote between a career conservative politician funded by Wall Street, and a lazy and incompetent fascist, also controlled by Wall Street.
Biden has been in politics since I was born. He is responsible for much of what still ails the United States to this day. He was hand picked by Wall Street and Silicon Valley to be the Democratic nominee and bring corruption back behind closed doors with a smile.
Trump represents the worst of all of us, in just about everyway. He was hardly Wall Street’s first choice, but far better than any progressive challenger. Corporations don’t tell him what to do so much as Republicans tell him what to do for corporations.
Those are your choices in a nutshell. Biden may throw the occasional bone, while Trump will throw a random tantrum, but they essentially obey the same donors. It’s been this way for my entire generation. I’m not trying to discourage people from voting, I’m just telling it like it is. And that cold fact is, regardless of who you vote for, democracy isn’t being saved. It was gone long before Trump arrived.
“Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything.” – George Carlin
Many on the intellectual left, including the likes of Noam Chomsky, Cornel West and others are rallying around Biden, and I understand why. They see Donald Trump as an existential threat, not necessarily to what’s left of American Democracy, but to the earth itself. Global Warming, heightened nuclear tension, etc. They aren’t wrong.
The fear of the wanna-be dictator in Trump taking over in some kind of fascist coup, however, is just a little too ridiculous. He might try and steal the election sure, but Trump does not have the brains or competence to seize power in a way that would rid people of the chance to choose their oligarchic overlords every four years. That type of “Democracy” isn’t going anywhere.
They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, and city halls. They got the judges in their back pocket. And they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear! – George Carlin
And that’s where we’re at. Many politicians from both parties stopped caring about democracy a long time ago. Republicans try and suppress the votes of Democrats, Democrats try and suppress the votes of the Green Party and all the other third parties stand back and watch the endless cycle continue.
No one in power acknowledges the endless flow of cash in politics and the corruption that it breeds. As a result, no one acknowledges the concerns of voters. No healthcare or paid sick leave, maternity leave or responsible gun control, the people can’t even get minor financial help during a government-imposed lock down. A democracy that does not care for its citizens is simply not a democracy.
As you can probably tell, I haven’t looked forward to federal elections in an awful long time. Even if I had a say, 2020 would be no exception. I’m not saying I wouldn’t vote; I’d likely vote for Biden in a swing state. My wife is Iranian and there is a slightly reduced chance that her home would be bombed under a Biden administration. Still, if I lived in an uncontested state, I personally wouldn’t vote for either oligarchic spokespeople.
Voting for Biden won’t save democracy from fascism, voting for Trump won’t save democracy from socialism, voting third party won’t save anything either, except maybe your conscious.
Vote today, not to save democracy, but because it’s still your duty. A debt you owe to all that have suffered and, in many cases, died trying to make America a better place to live. Oligarchy or not, the fight goes on.