Saturday, October 30, 2010

Viva, Viva, La Democracia!

So here's a dilemma: which congressional candidate to vote for.

--A long-term incumbent Democrat who has a good record of bringing federal dollars into the district. A large number of local working families benefit from the jobs made possible by this federal largess.

--A nice, "country club" Republican who promises to cut spending, taxes, repeal Obamacare, issue school vouchers, kill the inheritance tax, and make government smaller in general.

--A Libertarian whose platform seems eminently sensible (with a only few small exceptions), but who doesn't have a chance; a good way to "send them a message," but a vote for him may tip things toward the Democrat.

Tough one, eh? There's no doubt the public is in an anti-incumbent mood this year, and you hear a lot of "throw the bums out" talk. But is it a matter of relacing Tweedledee with Tweedledum? Quite possibly it is.

Most political action in English speaking countries revolves around two parties. Other countries may have several splinter parties that come together in a Parliamentary coalition, but the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have two parties. If a third party arises, it usually is based on a single issue or personality, and it's eventually absorbed into one of the major parties.

Once a congressman gets to Washington, he (or she) will have to align himself with one of the major parties, even if he was elected by third party. It's not as if some of the Tea Party-backed start-ups are really going to change anything, assuming they are elected. They'll be expected to pay their dues and "go along to get along" like everybody else.

So who does one vote for? The guy that will get an influential committee assignment? The challenger because change is good? The third party because "they" need a reminder that the "working man" is still out there, and he votes (sometimes)?

And then there's the problem that virtually no one is talking about the real issues. Jim Kunstler, perpetual predicter of doom, has summed things up today better than I ever could.

The proud winners of seats in congress and the senate might as well put on clown suits and little pointed hats on Wednesday morning and drive around the Washington monument in toy cars. There will be a desperate need for a new politics in this country, for people unafraid to tell the truth and act in the genuine public interest. If we can't generate it from the saner quarters of this country where people think thoughts that comport with reality, I'm afraid we could see some generals step into the picture.

Hoping, seemingly against hope, that we will somehow muddle through.

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