The presidential election is pretty hard to ignore, as it’s taking up all the space in the media these days with speculation about who is going to win the primaries. Two months in, the field has narrowed considerably and all those GOP hopefuls (and uh, Martin O’Malley) who thought they had a shot with those strong 1% poll numbers have been dropping like flies. Readers of this blog who have followed my writing on these matters know I have been no stranger to long political rants about the current system and its lack of choice for voters. I more or less swore off the political analysis in the wake of the 2012 major party conventions, witnessing them to be no more than tired propaganda factories reflecting the current sad realities facing our vox populi.
That bug hasn’t left me entirely, and when I started this blog I did say I would write about this stuff occasionally. The funny thing about being laid off from a cushy office job is that you no longer have time to read over all the depressing news in the world. It’s gotten so bad that I have become one of those Americans who almost solely gets their news from The Daily Show, and even that platform I had problems with up until Trevor Noah gave it the comedic kickstart it desperately needed. I have found this is not such a bad thing, as following the dreck of disinformation pouring out of the major news outlets is hardly the best use of one’s time these days.
If you’re reading this I assume you’re familiar with the state of affairs up to this point, but I will give a pithy summary nonetheless: Bernie Sanders accelerated over on Hilary’s left flank, pointing out her very real contradictions in taking gigantic amounts of Wall Street cash (just like her husband) and attracting a wave of support for the simple action of not sounding like the bought and paid for candidates of the Democratic Party’s past. And on the GOP side, the clown car began last summer exceedingly full of candidates who didn’t have a chance in hell of scoring the nomination, and one guy who fell into that category who might wind up winning anyways. I might find some hate thrown my way for writing this, but to me there’s no denying that Trump is an ideal mirror of our society and its pathetic attempts at creating “democracy” in the day and age of the Deep State and the endless “War on Terror.” For in Trump we see all the aspects that the moneyed class worships: a “self-made” man that was basically born rich and allowed to fail multiple times without consequence. And yet at the same time he uses his talents against the establishment by braying certain code words to the GOP base, many of whom thought Dubya and his torture regime were way too liberal.
While we have a ways to go in this here contest, the important lesson here is to not count out the underdogs. What the establishment media still does not understand is that things are looking especially bad out there in this day and age. We are eight years into the economic “recovery,” having seen the majority of economic gains soar right up to the .001%, and those jobs that have been created are of the vastly menial variety. We’ve hit peak malaise in this nation, as reflected by the two outsider candidates, but it’s your humble author’s opinion that only one of them has a platform up to the challenge. I suppose that’s reinforced by Trump’s inability to articulate what he would do if he gained the most powerful position in our government, but then again he’s only reflecting another disposition of those in his class, which is to do do whatever they want without worrying about the aftermath. The 2008 economic crash (which I’d wager maybe about a quarter of Americans to this day even fully understand) proved this point on a massive scale.
Which brings me to the ultimate point, and that would be the one of voting. Is there a point to this action, which we are told every four years will really make a difference? It’s hard to advance an argument in the affirmative when people like Sheldon Adelson are attempting to use their billions of corrupt dollars denying the rights of millions of people. I can only speak from personal experience, having jumped on the bandwagon in voting for Obama in ‘08 only to be too ashamed to pull the lever for the drone-assassin-in-chief a mere four years later (I made my choice for the Green Party candidate, who was arrested the day before - yay democracy!). It’s just hard for me to say go out there and vote in the general election because it literally will do nothing for you these days. The vastly more important work is out there on the streets, because if you haven’t noticed our nation is literally crumbling before us, both on a societal and infrastructure scale. So go out there and vote if you desire, but if you want to truly make a difference start agitating your local governments and ask them why they don’t feel #blacklivesmatter, or start bothering them about disinvesting from companies that profit from the destruction of our environment. Or check out the increasing agitation against horrendous Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and begin calling for a Constitutional amendment banning money from our political process.
Because when it comes down to it, our lovely democratic system has actually become a system of oppression, set up to create the illusion of choice. Sure it can be changed, but that’s going to take a hell of a lot more than voting in the 2016 election.
John Abraham-Watne is an author and freelance journalist located in the Twin Cities, where he lives with his wife Mary and their two cats. This blog is his attempt to catalog all the events that culminate a local writer's life.