Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back On Topic

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams, April 1814.

How many of you out there think we have a two-party system here in America? C’mon, raise your hands if you think that’s true (it’ll make everyone in your office wonder what’s going on and what they’re missing).

There are now two (major) political organizations out there vying for your fealty come Nov. 4. At noon on Jan. 20, 2009, one of our presumptive candidates will raise his right hand and swear to “preserve, protect and defend” the bedrock of our republic, the U.S. Constitution.

And that right there, my friends, is why we don’t have a two party system.

Those of you with your hands still up, put ‘em down. You’re starting to creep out the other inmates of your cube farm.

What we have here in America is a one party system divided by ideology. You see, despite their alleged differences, both the Republicans and the Democrats believe first and foremost in democracy. They just have different ideas about how they should work it to better control you.

They are both with a little “d” – drum roll please – democratic organizations. The members, well most of them, believe in this little experiment in representative democracy we have going here. There are extreme ends, who either want to take your guns away or make you go to their church for three hours every Sunday and Wednesday, but we’ll ignore them as it is only right and correct when dealing with shrill extremists.

As P.J. O’Rourke says in “Parliament of Whores,” his classic book on the federal government, “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.”

With the exception of Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described democratic socialist, the other 536 elected members of our federal government are all Ds or Rs. Yeah, even Joe Lieberman, despite the (I-Ct.) after his name.

We have no communists (despite the dire warnings about some on the left), no fascists (again, despite the dire warnings, but this time about those on the right), no religious-based parties and no Greens lurking the halls of Congress or the White House.

In fact, except for their variation on one white-hot button issue (abortion), there really is virtually no difference between John McCain and Barrack Obama because, in the end, they both believe in democracy.

And on some of the only slightly less white-hot issues often dividing Americans – immigration, social security, the death penalty – both offer basically the same ideas. Both also support civil unions, but oppose gay marriage.

Ahh, you noticed I ignored the war in Iraq and energy. The reasons are twofold and simple. Despite what Obama or McCain claim and promise, America’s involvement in Iraq is like riding a tiger, and we’re stuck on that ride until it ends. And, even if they started punching holes off the Florida coast or building windmills tomorrow, neither of their energy plans will provide noticeable relief until long after they’re term-limited out of the White House.

They’re both going to take about the same amount of money out of your paycheck one way or another. Why? Because, once it has it, a government is exceedingly reluctant to give up either money or power. Come this time next year, you’re not going to be significantly better or worse off financially, all things being equal.

But, what would happen if a third party (also believing in democracy, of course) were thrown into the political Mix Master? A new ideology created to reclaim the center of the American debate both Dems and Reps have ground into dust.

An interesting idea (insert a Rock-like raised eyebrow here). Neither the Republican “Party” nor the Democratic “Party” offers us anything besides stagnation. When stagnation happens elsewhere, in business, science, art or literature, innovation takes over. It’s time for some innovation. Time for a better idea. Time for a political (r)evolution or, if you like, some political intelligent design (words you’ve never heard said before).

Viva la (r)evolution!!

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