Both political parties are manifestly hostile to citizens. This hostility reduces electoral participation to just over 50% of the voting age population for presidential elections and less than 40% for off-year congressional elections. The absence of 50% to 60% of those eligible to vote creates minority rule and threatens the legitimacy of any ruling party. Truly, every election ratifies the rejection of both parties.
Citizens are the foundation of functional democracies. The notion of the individual citizen is disparaged by some as an anachronism, a fanciful label from the 18th century that means little today. Democrats and Republicans parse voters by race, region, religion, and, to a lesser extent, income. These groups and subgroups within them are the building blocks of electoral victory according to the common wisdom.
Nevertheless, a vibrant democracy relies on individual citizens who give legitimacy to the nation state every day through their broad ascent to the laws, civil and criminal, and their willing participation in politics and civil obligations, formal and informal.
Citizens Consistently Reject the Political Process and Rulers
From 1980 through 2010, off-year elections showed a 37% average turnout. Presidential elections had a slightly higher participation, averaging 53% since 1980.
We were told that 2008 would break turnout records. When the dust settled, voter turnout was only two points higher than 2004. Only 38% of eligible voters turned out for the 2010 congressional elections.
The forbidden fact about public rule in the United States is simple and obvious: it is nothing more than perpetual battle between two minority factions that consistently fail citizens. Major changes in power represent voter punishment of the most recent failed rulers, while the largest faction, non-voters, consistently make the most profound statement about governance - it's not worth the trouble of voting.
The Bipartisan Beat Down
The non-voters and many of those who vote reluctantly have good reasons for their clear dissatisfaction with the political system.
Candidates are compromised before every single election by the uniform bias towards those with the greatest ability to make campaign contributions. Money is the first election hurdle. Those elected say that, at most, money buys access, a damning admission that is short of the truth. Money buys votes, legislation, regulation and other favors from the government, all used to preserve and expand the interests of those with the most money to give.
Once elected, the compromised servants are more interested in their true constituents, their big money patrons, than they are in the public.
Those elected give us wars that the majority reject or would have rejected had they received even the barest outline of the rationales for war.
Those elected cut long-standing benefits in order to maintain government subsidies for their contributors. Democrats countered the Republican proposal to destroy Medicare with a kinder, gentler set of austerity proposals. Social Security is also in the bipartisan cross hairs. Republicans long to privatize the system while Democratic leaders endorse the findings of a presidential commission co-chaired by two Wall Street minions who started with two assumptions. Benefits cuts were necessary and the military budget and bailouts were off limits. The cruel dialectic swings between nothing and nothing much at all.
Flat income, when adjusted for inflation, and no new jobs, when adjusted for population growth are the work product of those who rule in our name.
The elected dismiss threats to the environment of hand then offer remedies in the form of energy policies that produce more pollution.
The rights and protections supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution remain in tatters despite electoral changes. Habeas corpus is in limbo. Electronic surveillance becomes an option whenever authorities feel the need. They just file a motion with a secret federal court in Washington, DC and get the warrant (if they have time to bother). Torture continues as a sanctioned government program.
Citizens who just say no to voting or who vote with little expectation of change know these fundamental truths. Our votes do not matter. Our public servants are really privateers working for moneyed interests. Ultimately, there is no moral obligation or intellectual honesty on the part of rulers. They promote an ongoing fraud that has severely damaged the country. These so-called public servants have taken things so far down the road to ruin; there may be no achievable solution.
There is no law to protect us. We are at the whim of the financial elite, the author of our troubles.
There is no national hope, no future, and no redemption as long as the current system remains in place controlled by those with large accumulations of money.
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