This is my second political cycle witnessed from overseas. I believe the Internet allows me to stay more up to date than if I were there. The overload of politics that I subject my brain to each day has me once again on the verge of short circuit. I don’t believe that a democratic loss (which I foresee in the senate) will send me into the emotional tailspin of impending doom that the 2004 election did, because I think I’ve come to know better about the nature of modern politics.Everything is broken in the most streamlined efficient way one could imagine. What I mean by this is that our political system has evolved and learned from business to create a country of political consumers. The politicians have adapted and assembled their focus groups to figure out which platform the swing voters will respond to this year. What we get is a political system without vision, spinning its wheels in two-year cycles at the whim of security moms and evangelicals. And under all of this fluff and talk about gay marriage and the minimum wage, corruption is endemic. On both sides of the political spectrum the goal is power and control, little else regardless of what they espouse.
This is what I mean by everything is broken and efficient. The election process has been mastered and the country gets left behind. Our political system succeeds in electing the most powerful message that may or may not even be brought to the floor of the house for debate. The party with the strongest message prevails, and is allowed to continue aiding corrupt corporate interests behind closed doors thanks to a complacent population, uninterested in holding anyone accountable, or even voting. The dumbing of America, whether an unintended effect of our wealth dichotomies, or a phenomena perpetuated by fortune seeking elites, has maintained the status quo, and threatens our revered democracy.
So on election day as you battle long lines, and if you are one of the lucky one to actually have your vote accurately counted, try to retain some hope that our system can be saved. Thanks for exercising your right to vote, and extra kudos for fighting your urge to forego this right, despite feeling like it might not help.
I leave you with a quote by Japanese scholar Rokuro Hidaka:
‘If political and business leaders are indeed convinced that talk of clean government and clean capitalism is only for public consumption, while actually believing that such things are not realistic, and if they support the present system on the basis of such convictions, the result is nihilism. I do not wish to be ruled by nihilists.’