With more than two political parties, we would
no longer be in a false dilemma*.
[ Image Source ]
As this system now stands, the Tweedledeemocrats and Tweedledumlicans offer a false dichotomy in which both parties actually represent the same corporate interests, but use different rhetoric to mislead voters into believing that they stand for separate and distinct ideals. In essence, the parties collaborate in a sophisticated “good cop/bad cop” scam in which each attempts to make it appear that it stands for opposing principles, when in fact the only principles recognized by both parties are personal gratification and perpetual re-election.
Meanwhile, the rule in Washington seems fairly simple: “The Deficit” is important to the party in the congressional minority. Then spending power changes hands, and so do the fears of debt. It seems as though deficit spending is very worrisome to Republicans in particular. Except when it isn’t.
Now, Republicans can assert on “conservative principle” that the rich should be encouraged to get richer with tax breaks and the poor should be encouraged to get less poor by giving them less money to live on, but Democrats traditionally have professed more egalitarian values. Therefore, speaking for the record, they vocally object to the extension of tax cuts and nominally oppose reductions of social services.
But while the Republicans are caustic ideologues on the subject of social spending, Democrats seem for whatever reason unable to muster a comparable evangelical fervor for any projects or ideas of their own. They do not, for example, ransom tax cuts for increases in social spending, and, when they say a balanced budget is devoutly to be wished, they do not demand that the tax cuts be made up from the Pentagon’s untouchable budget.
How is it that two parties profess contrasting tenets, and yet, when they decide how deficit reduction is to be financed, the contested question is always “How much is this going to take from social services?” Not once do I remember hearing this: “Why are social services in jeopardy again? Could it be because the poor don’t have any money to bribe you with? Put the incentives to your favorite campaign contributor on the line, and then I will think you are serious about the deficit.”
When I hear this, I will think the Democrats care as much about people in need as they do about their own campaign contributors.
None of this is the fault of the parties themselves, although both benefit from it. The great political/psychological advantage this apparently polarized dualism confers is stability: “Right” and “left” can both be defined and re-defined according to the needs of the time and kept in a blind fury at one another; the parties can co-opt popular single-issue campaigns that might otherwise offer an opening for a third party; and the mass media have long been trained to dismiss as not “serious” any candidate who has not imbibed a sufficient portion of lucre from Lucifer to be “competitive.”
It is the electoral process itself that assures corruption in American politics. Until it changes, we can only continue to make a false choice between Devil-Bot and Devil-Bought, between psychopath and sociopath, between heads-the-elite-wins and tails-the-rest-of-you-lose. No wonder our national values, as they emanate from Washington, are satanic.