Unless you’ve been in a coma, everybody in the United States knows that today is election day. It is freedom’s crowning achievement. It is the day when each of us gets to express his views at the ballot box. We choose our leaders to make decisions that will affect all of our lives. Tens of thousands of people have died for this right to choose. However, over the last several weeks, I’ve begun to wonder if we really have a choice at all.
Where is the Choice?
At first glance, it certainly appears that we have a choice. By now, we all know the two major party candidates for president. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent so that we know who the are. The media even has reporters that traveling with their campaigns, highlighting the “stark” differences between the nominees. However, when we look closer, neither party is truly serious about reducing the deficit. One gives us bailouts. The other claims to want a balanced budget yet plans to increase military spending which already encompasses nearly 1/4 of the federal budget and is more than the next 13 top spenders combined. (Aren’t we supposed to be entering a time of peace?) So, on spending, where is the choice really? Economically, things aren’t much different. Both use tax cuts to try to stimulate the economy. It is just a matter of whose taxes you’d like to get the bigger cut. Instead of providing a real choice, the two major candidates and their political parties divide us using social issues. Those who dissent from either party and try to provide real economic solutions are cast aside as lunatics and unelectable.
Yes, I will do my duty as a citizen of this country today. For the first time in my adult life, I have seriously considered writing in a third-party candidate. To my surprise, my choices are even limited there. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to write-in the candidate I would really like to vote for because he is not considered a legal write-in here in my state. How is that giving the electorate choices?
The Two-Party System is Broken
You see, the two-party system that we have in this country is rigged. It is set up to elect only people from one of the two major parties. Because most Americans fall somewhere in the political center, the two parties have raced to the middle over the years in order to secure more votes. The effect has been that their ideology has become nearly identical. Neither party is going to do much about the deficit or the debt. Truly making spending cuts would affect too many voting constituencies on both sides, decreasing their chances of reelection. Their economic policies practically mirror each other, and you need to look for the nuances if you are going to find differences.
Worse yet, these two-parties have become slaves to big business. If you want to know who is running an organization, just follow the money. The same is true for our government. Money buys influence otherwise you wouldn’t see big businesses contributing to both parties like they do. Indeed, both parties are too tied to big business to ever make any difficult decisions and truly lead. If they do, they risk their money spigot being permanently shut off.
The media is also complicit in this. Regardless of right or left slant, media outlets would cease to function without advertising revenue. So, why would big media report against their own interests. They play the game, only covering the two candidates that are “feasible” to win.
Distraction Through Division
Rather than being stewards of our money, both Republicans and Democrats are able to distract us through division. They have successfully campaigned to divide us on social issues. They use issues like gay marriage and abortion to distract us from what is really going on. While we argue about these social issues amongst ourselves, the fleece is happening behind our backs. Both major parties and their wealthy donors are lining their pockets, restricting civil liberties, destroying our environment, and gaining more and more power over all of us – and we are allowing it to happen!
Elections do matter. However, until we eliminate the money from politics, we will always be at the mercy of those with the deepest pockets and largest financial interests. Our politicians will govern based on where the money for their reelection is coming from rather than answer to their voting constituencies. In order implement true changes in policy, we need to free our politics from the influence of money. Let’s remember this as we vote today and in the future.