During any election cycle is it any wonder that political discussion becomes keenly polarized? As it stands currently it seems as if we'll be facing a race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for the 2012 Presidential Election. Granted, Rick Santorum has made quite a stir recently, but so did Newt and Herman Cain previously. Like it or not he who has the biggest war chest wins in politics, and on the republican side this puts Romney way out in front.
The "spin doctors" generally try to paint the sides in a political debate as polar opposite as humanly possible, which is why the republicans glom on to ridiculous statements about the ever looming socialist state around the corner. Democrat spinners are equally guilty of painting Republicans as greedy bastards who want to gut the government and let survival of the fittest take its course.
Neither view relates remotely to the reality. What they do relate to however is the insidious nature of politics itself. As Morpheus so eloquently puts it in "The Matrix", "It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth." As much as democrats make fun of "Tea Partiers" and republicans decry "Occupiers" as a bunch of socialist hippies, these groups have three vitally important things in common. They both are outgrowths of the respective party ideologies their followers adhere to, that have realized their ideals are not tracking the realities around them. They are both frustrated with the glaringly obvious failures of our current political and economic system. And they are both being used to polarize others....for votes.
There is a lot that is fundamentally broken in this country, but the most important thing broken is the political process. With it broken, fixing the rest of the mess we're in is basically impossible. As much of a libertarian as I consider myself to be, even I realize that we need a collective will to right a ship with 330 million passengers. And that collective will has to be a governing body, one that serves it's constituency. But we don't have that.
Lets have a history lesson. A lot began to fundamentally change in this country in the late 60's and early 70's. Very specific changes drastically altered the political landscape for both of our incumbent parties, and in ways most people fail to notice.
The Democratic parties demise began with the McGovern campaign against then incumbent Richard Nixon. Why is this such a pivotal point in the history of the Democratic party? Because it is when the party changed it's focus away from big labor. McGovern royally ticked off big labor and quite distanced himself and his campaign from labor. Granted he did have strong ideological reasons for this, but the end result backfired in then unforseen ways. As corrupt as big labor was back then (and oh boy was it), it was also what kept Democrats truly focused on THE WORKING MAN from a policy standpoint. This led to the current state of affairs when it comes to campaign finance. More on that in a bit.
Who was responsible for what we now consider socialist ideas, such as the WIC program or the out of control price fixing and subsidies in our agricultural sector? It wasn't a Democrat. It was Richard Nixon. Want to remove poverty and cyclical food pricing from the political debate? Throw government money at the problem. Thanks Tricky Dick! And this is precisely why such things were done, to remove genuine suffering and problems from the political debate, and we fell for it. He also spearheaded the beginnings of change to our healthcare system, which became a fee-for-service system thanks to his and his political cronies efforts, and which has led to us having one of the WORST and most EXPENSIVE healthcare systems among western countries. Seriously! Even Turkey whips our ass in this regard! TURKEY!!!
The push in the 80's and 90's for deregulation has been an abysmal train wreck. Not because over regulation is good, but because we did not remove over regulation from the actual entities that are grossly affected by it. Small business accounts for slightly more than half of ALL JOB CREATION, and yet we deregulated BIG BUSINESS. Now we have a banking system that makes most of it's money from....MONEY...and NOT FROM INVESTING IN REAL CAPITAL. Even businesses we don't think would be involved in this are.
The airline industry? They obviously make a large portion of their profit from flying people around right? WRONG. BECAUSE they are involved in flying large amounts of people around, they have a vested self interest in fuel pricing, and most airlines shore up their balance sheets by speculating in futures markets. Most make the bulk of their profit from this. The list is endless, but most large companies do this to one degree or another.
So here we have two parties with their hands out, like all political parties do. Who has the money to put in their hand? Big business. Big corporations are not "bad" or "evil" in the moral sense, but you have to realize what corporations actually exist for. They exist SOLELY to turn the best profit for shareholders. And they will do this to the best of their ability, simply because that is what a corporation is meant to exist for. But we now have an economic system that makes most of it's money from other peoples money, and not from anything tangible. And BOTH PARTIES are getting their hand outs from this system.
As bad as big labor was, it did at least keep the Democratic Party thinking about THE WORKING MAN. Now the Dems take their social agenda and focus on the NON WORKING MAN, with deleterious consequences.
And as much as the Republican Party has always been neck deep into the coffers of big business, it was a big business that wasn't as big as today's version. More importantly it was a big business that actually MADE THINGS, and BUILT THINGS. Now our big business does none of these things. Our biggest business interests now make money out of thin air from even more money. And this does NOTHING but extract capital from an economy, which anyone with a first year of an Economics degree under their belt will tell you.
As we know, any powerful system is interested in maintaining the status quo. And the current status quo is to keep allowing this nonsense.
Moral? Our two political parties are bought by large interests that haven't got a clue about what real Americans are concerned about, and care more about keeping us angry at one another so we'll stop paying attention to what the real problems are.
We have an Oligarchy, not a democracy organized as a federal republic anymore. And until we can collectively get the influence of limitless money out of politics, what you and I think doesn't matter.