What Debate?

If the lights went out for the entirety of the last two presidential debates, would anyone be able to distinguish between candidates? Would anyone even know that there was supposed to be a debate going on?

In the gloom, you might think that you were hearing nothing more than the echo of one voice stirring the darkness with the declaration, “we have to hunt down and kill the terrorists,” …”hunt down and kill the terrorists,” … “hunt down and kill.” You might then wait in secret anticipation, imagining that the other candidate will soon issue forth a clarion call such as, “my opponent is the real world terrorist… without the military occupations currently withholding people’s rights to democratic control of their own countries, there would be no basis for resistance!”

But no such voice is heard, and instead another echo rolls down the room: “corporate tax cuts create jobs,” … “corporate tax cuts,” … “corporate.” Another now, cawing, “I support the No Child Left Behind Act,” … “the No Child Left Act,” … “No Child Left.” Again and again your ears are menaced with doubled voices promising less abortion rights, less healthcare, more prisons, more immigration law. Yet all is silent among the crowd, the only noise being the ghoulish voices reverberating through the hall.

Then suddenly the lighting returns, and two men appear on the stage. Bush says “I am against abortions,” Kerry echoes “I voted for Antonin Scalia. ” Bush says “We must finish the job in Iraq.” Kerry echoes “we need 40,000 more troops and possibly a draft.” Bush says “All out for the gutting of healthcare,” and Kerry echoes “Before Bush was even in office I voted for Clinton’s healthcare reform.” And what about the crowd? It is nothing but the corpses of those suicidal enough to consider either of these two corporate vampires are deserving of anything less than metaphorical wooden stakes to the heart by voting for and building independent organizational alternatives?

Eugene V. Debs, of his 1912 Socialist Party campaign for Presidents said, “They divided their votes between the parties of their masters. They did not realize they were using their ballots to forge their own fetters.”