Saturday, October 17, 2015
Understanding the Politics of Politics
I think everyone will agree that our political system is broken beyond repair. Candidates who claim that somehow they will go---or return---to Washington or wherever and "make the listen" or some other nonsensical promise of reform is either delusional or simply pandering to you, the voter. We are far removed from any cosmetic changes or tinkering as we are from the government our Founding Fathers intended. In fact, we're not even the democratic-republic they originally established. Instead, we've become a oligarchy which caters to the 1% and their transnational corporations. The system was changed along the way to create a near permanent political class, thanks to election rigging--gerrymandering by name---and as well as unlimited terms in office.
What I want to discuss is something basic. One of the core principles behind our break with ole King George was our lack of representation in Parliament. I'm sure you're familiar with concept of "taxation without representation". It the nation that we had no say in how we were being governed while we were "illegally" taxed. We also have the right---I would say responsibility---to actively participate in how we're governed. At the very least, we need to vote.
So, let me ask you this. Did you know party primaries are paid for out of your tax dollars? Yelp, regardless of your registration or even if you are registered at all, a portion of your tax dollars go to pay for both party's primaries. So, if you're registered as a Republican or Democrat, I suppose it's no big deal (except for the fact they didn't ask you first). Still, at least you can vote in your party's primary and have a say in the outcome. But what if you're a registered Independent? In most states (like Kentucky), that's just too bad. You don't get to vote in either primary but you are still taxed. Same goes if you're registered a third party. Several attempts have been made to change this, but as you might guess, the political status quo is quite happy with the current set up. Hardly fair wouldn't you agree?
Now here's something else. The Board of Elections is set up with a Democrat and Republican representative to serve as check against any electioneering misdoings. This is at the state level all the way down to each county. These are appointed by the local county clerks. Yet, there is no representative for Independents or third parties. Why? Their pay tax dollars just like everyone else. Why should they be denied a representative? As some of you may know, anyone who wants to run for office as Democrat or Republican, must have the signature of three people from the same party sign their application (and, depending on the office, the same district). However, if you're a Independent, you need anywhere from several hundred up to a few thousand signatures of currently registered voters. I fail to understand how that is in any way fair. All it does is further entrench the status quo---which is ultimately the main problem in today's politics---by rigging the system to keep people out.
Lastly, I want to address the issue of endorsements. Everyone knows endorsements are made, in part, because those doing the endorsing agree with the candidate on at least certain key positions, and in exchange for the endorsement (and usually a financial donation to the campaign), the candidate will continue to promote that particular issue. Political back scratching plain and simple. So what does it mean when newspapers endorse candidates? What's the quid pro quo? What do newspapers gain---"good government"? No, seriously, what do they get? I often wonder, but that's not the issue here.