Of Screams - The Real
Election Winners And Losers
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
09 November, 2006
political correctness. The revolution has NOT arrived! Bush is still
president. The corporate state is safe. The Upper Class has little to
fear. Lobbyists will be writing different names on checks. Winning Democrats
will entertain more than they will produce historic restorative reforms.
Did Republicans deserve to lose? Of course!
However, Americans who thought
their votes would bring much needed change to our political system also
lost. They just don’t know or admit it yet. As usual, the third-party
movement lost, because the two-party duopoly maintained its stranglehold
on our political system. Populists and true progressives lost. Who or
what was the biggest winner? The short-term and delusional tactic of
lesser-evil voting won big.
On the liberal left, millions
of anti-Bush, anti-Iraq war voters held their noses, repressed the truth
about cowardly and compromised Democrats. They rationalized why beating
Republicans was the most important goal. Fake, neo-progressives, little
more than embarrassed Democrats, finally showed their true blue commitment.
On the right, millions of fiscal conservative, pro-life, and evangelical
voters blocked out many facts, disappointments and scandals, and rationalized
why keeping Republicans in power was the most important goal. They wanted
to stay the course. Many spiritual libertarians given no Libertarian
Party candidates went red. Spiritual greens went blue. Many independents,
centrists and moderates unable to vote for None of the Above, went lesser-evil.
Self-delusion ran rampant as placebo voting ruled the day.
Mainstream media and Internet
sites whipped up sports-like-beat-the-other-team enthusiasm masquerading
as civic responsibility and patriotism. Political pundits, negative
ads, and bloggers kept us entertained. The recipients of some $2 billion
spent on campaigning made out like bandits. The postal system benefited.
Landfills filled up faster from all the political junk mail. Despite
all the hoopla, however, the majority of eligible voters were not motivated
to vote. Do not ignore this sobering fact: It is estimated that national
voter turnout was slightly over 40 percent, compared to 39.7 percent
in the 2002 midterm. Two-party dominance does not bring out voters,
and many Americans reject lesser-evil voting. Low voter turnout defines
the opportunity for renewed new third-party efforts.
This much is clear: Voting
has become more of a distraction from dealing with real problems confronting
ordinary Americans, than a means to solving them. Voting should mean
more than helping your side win. When it only comes down to defeating
one party so that the other one wins, lesser-evil voting produces a
different color of evil.
Two-party partisan change
is not about attacking the status quo; it is about preserving the worst
status quo of all: two-party control. Transferring power between the
two major parties creates the dangerous illusion that our democracy
works. The winner gets more money from corporate interests and their
turn at pork spending, easier corrupt behavior and self-serving legislation.
Visualize this: Over decades
our democracy has been sliding down a cheese grater. Stopping the slide
and putting the pieces back together will require a mighty effort. Our
wicked, unjust economy now uses consumer spending to destroy working-
and middle-class Americans, increase economic inequality, and turn us
into a two-class society with Upper and Lower Classes. Our government
is an embarrassment, justifying global hatred of the USA. With so many
voters unsure that their votes on electronic devices would be accurately
counted, our electoral process is a joke. Hypocrisy trumps democracy.
This year, lesser-evil voting
vented considerable anger, frustration and despair over the worst presidency
in our history. In their hearts, however, the majority of Americans,
no matter who they voted for, know that our nation will most likely
remain on the wrong track. If political dissent becomes muted, then
this election has cost us dearly. If anything, we still have dissent
In a Jeffersonian sense,
we the people lost this election. Our delusional democracy with its
delusional prosperity has survived. Our culture of lying and corruption
has prevailed. Campaign promises will now be either forgotten or converted
into deception and lies. We just heard a disgraced evangelical leader
admit he was a “deceiver and a liar.” Our winning and losing
politicians, especially President Bush, will not make that same confession,
though they should.
We should not be surprised
that we have a delusional president; he suits a delusional democracy.
Some do get the government they deserve, but most of us do not.
Power to the people remains
a distant political goal. We now move on to the next cycle of lies and
lesser-evil voting – the 2008 presidential campaign, that the
Republicans are now more motivated than ever to win. Worse than not
admitting the emperor has no clothes is not seeing a whole democracy
without trustworthiness, accountability and credibility.
You are thinking “What
a cynic he is.” But I see it as reality based, anti-delusional
thinking. I take small comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Despite
being anti-Bush, I could not become an enthusiastic supporter of Democrats.
After decades of lesser-evil voting I found my inner conscience and
commitment to political dissent, to what I call progressive civil disobedience.
Decades of empirical evidence
had shown me that neither Democrats nor Republicans would ever deliver
quality to our democracy and justice to our economy. Yes, I went and
voted, for third-party candidates that were uniformly more qualified
than the major party candidates, and on ballot measures. I asked for
a paper ballot, but was told it was not an option.
Long live delusion. May it
protect the millions of Americans without good paying jobs or job security,
without health insurance, without confidence that they will be able
to keep paying their mortgages and credit card debt, without hope that
global warming will be effectively addressed, without confidence that
social security will be there when they need it; and without hope that
their children will have a better, higher quality of life than theirs.
And surely few believe that political corruption and scandals are now
gone. If all politics are local, so is all corruption.
Lesser-evil voting has brought
us here, to a lesser-quality democracy with a lesser-quality government,
lesser-quality economy, lesser-quality health care system, and lesser-quality
Under two-party rule, we
have arrived at the sorry state where nearly 75 percent of Americans
believe the nation faces a leadership crisis, according to a new survey.
It also found evidence of an epidemic of self-delusion. People think
that among the top 32 industrialized nations the U.S. ranks 10th for
citizens’ life expectancy, when it really ranks 24th; that is
ranks 15th for economic equality and mathematics literacy, when it actually
ranks 30th and 25th, respectively. Being the only superpower is one
thing. Being the best democracy is something else entirely.
Despite widespread delusion
pain seeps through. So the pharmaceutical industry will make bigger
profits from even greater demand for anti-depressants, sleeping pills,
and new anti-obesity drugs. Shopping, eating, Internet surfing, pornography
and gambling will keep feeding distraction. The rich and super-rich
will keep finding ways to spend their super-sized wealth, and avoid
taxes. American soldiers will keep dying in senseless wars. Globalization,
pushed by sycophants like Tom Friedman (who lives in a $9 million house),
will keep sucking the lifeblood out of our nation, as will hoards of
illegal immigrants. Americans have no nearby richer country to flee
to, so we must numb our pain.
Long live delusion. Our new
congress will surely keep us entertained. Behind the scenes lobbyists
will create new, less visible ways to corrupt our elected MISrepresentatives.
There will be much talk about our lame duck president, but not about
our lame duck democracy.
Tell me, to begin a Second
American Revolution, when will millions of clear-minded dissenters unite
behind a new centrist or populist party and take back our nation?
You will decide, through
attention or distraction, through truth or delusion, through action
Let us not forget that a
MAJORITY of Americans did NOT speak with their votes. They rejected
both Democrats and Republicans. That only 40 percent bothered to vote,
especially this year, shames our nation and confirms that we have a
And remember this wisdom:
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Our behind-the-scenes
Ruling Class remains; they will now speed dial more Democrats.
[Check out the author’s
new book at www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]
Share Your Insights