Democracy, Shamocracy

As I wander around campus and across Burlington lately I have noticed a call to governmental participation unparalleled to any I have experienced in my life. Could it be that somehow a trend has been started, that it is now considered cool to vote? Will new cliques be formed around ones political activism in coming years rather than clothes, cars, and hairstyles? The answer is most assuredly no.

Why then this recent concern? Could it be that people have stumbled upon a newfound confidence in democracy, a new awareness and sense of responsibility for the status of the world around us? I hope so, I truly do. With the world in such a dismal state nothing could be more promising and uplifting than a new breed of people, concerned with things outside its own sphere of living, ready to take action against the unfairness and tyranny of those who would take advantage of those unfortunate enough to be born outside of the most pampered, “overweeningly bumptious” society in history.

Well, I am here to tell you that voting is definitely not the road to change, and it has not been for quite some time now. It is an activism placebo, relieving members of society of their influence by assuaging them with false belief that we can change our government. Well, frankly, the ones who will change the government must be the ones who control it, and we are certainly not those people. Voting will not change this.

In response to the article “Kerry’s Sham Populism” written last week by Bill Nagler, I personally would not choose either Bush or Kerry to represent me ideologically or otherwise, but for you to say that Bush is preferable for the reasons you present is somewhat ridiculous. First of all you accuse Kerry of flip-flopping, and while this may be true, Bush has done the same thing on numerous occasions.

In fact while running for office Bush promised a smaller government which would spend less and allow greater freedoms. Yet what has he done? Bush’s presidency marks the first time in almost a decade that the national debt has increased and his policies on personal liberties are Stalin-esque. The point is not that one switches more than the other, but that they are both politicians and will do whatever it takes to beat the opposition and achieve their own goals, even if it means perjuring themselves, changing positions, and going to war for no reason. Political speeches and executive moves are no longer born of patriotism, dedication, and the desire to represent the people; these are things of the past. You can be sure that every move candidates make on this long and crooked campaign trail will be planned and analyzed by a crack team of statisticians and advisers, and the word that will boost poll ratings a quarter point will be the one uttered, be it deception or truth. I admit that Bush seems to have the upper hand on the average-man appeal, but when country music is the top selling in the world this is hardly surprising. In reality neither of these candidates is the average man, living an average life, with average concerns.

Our politicians have ceased to serve the will of the American people. How could they when less than 50% of the population votes? In a two candidate race this means that in most elections around 26% of the population is represented. Couple this with the fact that one must be a multimillionaire with past political connections to even be considered as a candidate and it becomes clear that this country is more of an oligarchy than a democracy. I would prefer Bush as president, for I feel the opposition will be just as misleading but perhaps more covert. At least Bush is blatant and obvious in his deceptions. I fear that regardless of who gets elected neither candidate will be as honest as the American people deserves, but I feel more confident knowing that Bush lacks the foresight to cover up his fraud. All in all, I can not in good conscience, advise in one direction or the other. The America of old, the one created by the people and for the people is dead, and what remains is hardly comparable. I don’t think either of these men is fit to lead the American people, never mind responsible enough to control the greatest economic and military power in the world. In this country the best man does not win, he doesn’t even get to run.