The Curse of Organized Political Stalemate

           Whatever happened to the baby-boom generation? Once they battled through the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, witnessed JFK's assassination, and came of age listening to some of the greatest music ever recorded. They had the rumblings of real change, but along the way they gave in, and gave up. While today they seem to be content gambling away their retirement on the stock market when they'd have better luck hitting the slots in Vegas, where there's still some functioning regulation in place.

          I single out this generation because it's their conception of reality that permeates the media and the political process. The vast majority of news anchors, pundits, and the candidates themselves hail from that period. And it's their illusion, their Big Lie that says we must choose between a pseudo-african puppet with a pearly white smile, and a quarter-inch sheet of plywood from Massachussets flopping away in the breeze.

          It's interesting to note how nothing has fundamentally changed from the situation inherited by the baby boomers to the current day,

“...we ourselves are imbued with urgency, yet the message of our society is that there is no viable alternative to the present. Beneath the reassuring tones of the politicians, beneath the common opinion that America will "muddle through", beneath the stagnation of those who have closed their minds to the future, is the pervading feeling that there simply are no alternatives, that our times have witnessed the exhaustion not only of Utopias, but of any new departures as well. Feeling the press of complexity upon the emptiness of life, people are fearful of the thought that at any moment things might thrust out of control. They fear change itself, since change might smash whatever invisible framework seems to hold back chaos for them now. For most Americans, all crusades are suspect, threatening. The fact that each individual sees apathy in his fellows perpetuates the common reluctance to organize for change. The dominant institutions are complex enough to blunt the minds of their potential critics, and entrenched enough to swiftly dissipate or entirely repel the energies of protest and reform, thus limiting human expectancies. Then, too, we are a materially improved society, and by our own improvements we seem to have weakened the case for further change.......

…...What emerges from the party contradictions and insulation of privatelyheld power is the organized political stalemate: calcification dominates flexibility as the principle of parliamentary organization, frustration is the expectancy of legislators intending liberal reform, and Congress becomes less and less central to national decision-making, especially in the area of foreign policy.”

(The Port Huron Statement, 1962)

           But even those who revel in apathy and are content trudging on into the new millenium with a rotten half-century old political framework should realize that these are not normal times. Chaos lurks on the horizon. The kingpins of the financial sector have clearly demonstrated that they cannot restrain themselves of their addiction to quick and easy riches through market manipulation, high-frequency trading, derivitives, money printing, and a whole myriad of smoke and mirrors understood by no one. They have complete control over the political process and therefore the regulatory authorities that are supposed to constrain them. It's anybody's guess whether it will be days, months, or years before the system collapses, triggered by some random fluke. (It's also true that it could be initiated by those high up in the power structure with ulterior motives.) The reality is that there is more outstanding debt than can ever be repayed, and it continues to spiral out of control. The longer it is delayed the more devastating the crash will eventually be. And it very well may be a global phenomenon, unprecedented in history. Europe is being hit with serious initial tremors, while China's centrally primed facade of an economy could burst at any moment.

           We're in a calm before the storm, a time to prepare for the political reality that might replace the organized political stalemate, for if it remains, the new depression could easily breed widespread violent unrest, followed by massive crackdowns and repression by an entrenched police state. If this is to be avoided, the biggest obstacle will be in reconciling the perennial squabblings between the two dominant political tribes.

           Unfortunately, the two primary alternative political movements in the United States, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party seem poised not to break the political stalemate, but to simply repackage it for a new generation. Everyone in the political arena wishes to go to battle in order to define America in their own image, never understanding the futility of the endeavor. Unlike many other countries, the United States is quite diverse politically. And in such a fragmented country the best, perhaps the only solution lies in setting aside ideological differences to the realm of local and state governments, to which I've elaborated on separately.

           Baby-boomers, by and large, will go to their graves loyal to their political tribe. It's their delusion, and it's all they know. Change will have to come from elsewhere. Those who feel in their gut that the political system is failing should resist the usual temptations and understand that the only thing 'won' on election night is a nationally televised boardgame with red & blue state pieces in play, the prize being the glitter and confetti falling onto the brightly lit stage in the end. But most importantly, political skeptics should understand that any chink in the armor of the two corrupt political parties this time around, whether it's 3% or 5%, will be greatly amplified in the upcoming elections, as the second Great Depression unfolds.

           As you grasp your ballot, take time to carefully contemplate all of the manipulative forces acting in the media and throughout the last half-century. Because when your pen hits the paper, this is the precise moment when the illusion becomes reality. It should be taken very seriously, not only for the electoral ramifications, but to ensure your own sanity and existence as an individual. Ask yourself, who owns your illusions? The corporate state? The baby-boom generation? Or you?

          If none of the third party candidates appeal, consider writing in “None of the Above”. Indeed, if every current nonvoter did this simple step, the entire political landscape would change overnight. And for those of you who believe the voting process itself is rigged by corrupt voting machines, you have the most delightful option of all. Using the biggest, fattest magic marker you can find, take your ballot and let the poll workers know just what you think of this charade. Fulfill your duty as a citizen of a democracy.


November, 2012