Dennis Loo had an interesting piece at OpEd News this morning that asks a question all of us need thinking about the answer to. Basically, Mr. Loo wants to know if elections even make any difference anymore. My first instinct was to resort to my usual feeble-minded sarcasm and flip something like “as if they ever did” or some such out there but it struck me that this was a pretty damned serious question in view of all that we have ever claimed to be in this country and that it deserved at least an attempt serious answer. I find myself basically in agreement with some of his conclusions but having arrived at those conclusions by a couple of different routes.
If I could only answer yes or no my answer would be no for reasons that should be obvious to anyone that has taken any note at all of what’s been going on around him for the past 30 or so years and that actually would be an accurate assessment, at least in the case of presidential elections. The simple fact is that the outcome of presidential elections have had little to no effect on the downward spiral this country has found itself in since 1980. The reasons are again obvious to anyone capable of turning his head left or right.
There simply isn’t enough difference between the two major parties for any choice we make to have a significant impact on our slide into Fascism. In 1980, we elected the Patron Saint of the Downward Spiral, Ronald Reagan and that served to unleash the dogs of deregulation and “small government”. From that time on we have had three Republicans and two Democrats in the White House and we’ve still managed to get to where we are with little to no hindrance from the White House during the times it was occupied by a Democrat.
Let’s dispose of this whole idea that it makes much… if any… difference who’s in the White House. If it didn’t mean the doom of my worldview I’d have to laugh at the Teapers screaming that Clinton and Obama are both “Socialists” and that they’re taking us down t he road to Socialism on a wagon with no brakes. If Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are Socialists… or even Liberals… we’re going to have to come up with new names for the few REAL Socialists and Liberals left in the country.
As a matter of fact, a TON of damage occurred to the working classes… including the much whined about middle class… during Clinton’s time in office. Among Mr. Clinton’s “accomplishments” was the one that most people now judge to be his “landmark”, THE one that… as far as I’m concerned… sealed our doom as a free society. I’m talking the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which… by offering American corporations a myriad of incentives to move their manufacturing facilities to foreign countries and make major investments in the infrastructure of those countries instead our own while avoiding US taxes on those investments… practically guaranteed the exodus of millions of manufacturing and related skilled labor jobs in this country and led to the financial sector replacing manufacturing as the key player in our pseudo-capitalist system. From that point on, the bankers owned the joint and the rest of us played by their rules or we got out.
Of course the jury is still out on Mr. Obama. Only history can judge the effectiveness of a president over the long haul and his final legacy is going to depend on whether or not he gets a second term. In contrast to Mr. Clinton, his “landmark” accomplishment, the Affordable Health Care Act is actually somewhat defensible in terms of the fact that it has helped people who would otherwise have gotten no help. But actually, the AHCA does little to stem the obscene profits of the insurance companies, basically shifting the cost of private insurance from the individual to the taxpayers and actually depriving MediCare and MedicAid recipients of benefits in order to provide funding for doing so.
In other areas, Mr. Obama has shown himself to be pretty much to the right of even Ronald Reagan himself when it comes to curbing the excesses of the Wall Street fraudsters which led to our financial meltdown under GWB and the subsequent raid on the US treasury by those same Wall Street dog robbers and in fact often seems to be trying to outdo Bush in service to the Wall Street parasites.
Everything it would have taken to finally put a stop once and for all to Wall Street’s ruination of an entire planet for the money and power it would bring to the one percent was taken off the table before any discussions ever took place and every panel, committee or commission he’s slapped together has taken months and millions of bucks to finally spit out the same conclusions we knew they were going to. And in spite of the “reform” that DID supposedly come about, Wall Street continues to laugh all the way to the Cayman Island bank and add insult to injury by funding Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency. Maybe Mr. Obama intends to come out kicking ass and taking names during his second term and maybe his next “landmark” will be a landmark that everyone can rally around and that won’t line the pockets of the insurance and medical industries whose profits are already obscenely bloated. I’ll certainly be voting for him and hoping so.
But in the meantime, the answer is no. In these modern times, given our current party and a half system, presidential elections matter little in the overall scheme of things and the direction the country takes long-term. The two parties are too much alike and while voting one way may prevent X from happening, it’s usually because we give up Y to get it. Next time around it will be the opposite and we’ll swap X for Y instead.
Congress? Hah! Now that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms and that veritable pantheon of junkies and pimps and whores is where your future and that of your descendants is actually determined and your ability to separate the flim from the flam is a definite factor. We’ll talk about that later.