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No headlines resulted from a statistic determined about the recent primary elections nationwide. The Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University found that just 15 percent of eligible voters went to the polls for primary elections. Just 15 percent!

Some people would be depressed by this figure. I see it very positively. Curtis Gans, the director of the study, concluded "People are becoming increasingly disaffected with both parties." Amen.

Our political elites and plutocrats can easily ignore low turnout for primaries. But contemplate how a really low turnout for general elections would be treated. Imagine a presidential election with a national turnout of say 20 or 25 percent. Such low eligible voter turnout would de-legitimize our delusional democracy. So, if you are among the millions of discontent Americans, truly fed up with the corrupt political system and the stranglehold of the two major parties, then the path to what I like to call the Second American Revolution should include de-legitimizing the terrible system we now have.

When does not-voting become a valuable political tactic? When an existing government and political system no longer fairly represents the interests of the vast majority of its citizens.

This notion, of course, flies in the face of the lesser-evil voting philosophy. All the well-deserved hatred of the Bush regime may drive voter turnout up in this year's mid-term elections and put Democraps in power in congress. Many of us know this will not produce all the systemic changes our country needs. If you are among the many that see both major parties as irreversibly corrupt, then it is delusional to believe that Democraps running congress or even a Democrap president will restore the quality of our government and bring us economic justice. To successfully attack the two-party duopoly and open our system to new parties, then it is necessary to de-legitimize the current political system the duopoly controls with corrupting money from corporate and special interests.

We cannot vote ourselves out of our current delusional democracy, not until many electoral and other reforms are enacted. We will not produce major change simply through writing and protesting.


That leaves other strategies to be pursued, including de-legitimizing the current corrupt, delusional system and, as I have argued before, converting consumer spending into political power. Similar to withholding our votes, we must also withhold our dollars that also prop up the current corrupt system. Both strategies conform to the powerful strategy of civil disobedience.

In the near term, using consumer spending to force the plutocracy to grant political concessions is the more potent strategy. Then, a series of concessions over time would make voting more effective.

What we need to create, through a network of progressive Internet sites like this one, is an organized movement for discontent people: AMERICAN INSURGENTS FOR DEMOCRACY. AID's main goal would be to inform dissident and disengaged Americans about the key ways they can use individually and collectively to replace the current plutocracy with a genuine representative democracy with strong elements of participatory and direct democracy to ensure that working- and middle-class Americans are served by their taxes and government. I am NOT talking about people formally joining any group or party, but acting in unison to achieve reforms in the public interest. Our current, corrupt delusional democracy now benefits from civic disengagement, fragmented dissent activities, and compulsive consumer borrowing and spending.

Divided, we empower the plutocracy. United, we can deliver a peaceful, disobedient Second American Revolution.

 

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Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. His current political writings have been greatly influenced by working as a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and for the (more...)
 

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I wish I could agree with Mr. Hischhorn that low v... by Patrick Coony on Sunday, Oct 8, 2006 at 12:41:26 PM
I see two kinds of non-voters. One group I see as ... by Joel S. Hirschhorn on Sunday, Oct 8, 2006 at 2:06:22 PM