The most destructive part of American politics in this Presidential Campaign is the two party system and the set of beliefs that a candidate must not ever question if he or she wants to win their party’s nomination. The fundamental fault in this type of belief is the fact that there are really no fundamental beliefs in either party that actually warrant this type of consideration. The platforms of both political institutions are vague at best, and the supreme edict of both parties is that loyalty to the party itself is the litmus test that each candidate must pass.
This flies in the face of reason, when both the Republicans and the Democrats in all actuality, stand for nothing and everything all at the same time. There is no cohesive platform for either party. If you ask Republicans what their party stands for you will get a different answer every time. The Democrats seem to be in a perpetual state of psychosis in regard to their party. They claim that they are the party of the American “working class”, yet when you take an honest look at the members of that party that hold Federal office, you will rarely see someone that is a member of the “working class”. They seem to be cut from the same cloth of Republicans.
Of course this is not by accident. The amount of currency that one must have on hand to make a successful run for Federal office is beyond the ability of most “working class” people. Campaign finance reform has the unfortunate distinction of being the “poor stepchild” of both parties. Campaign reform is only important to the majority of Americans when the word “meaningful” precedes it. We haven’t had meaningful campaign finance reform enacted by the Federal government ever. The corporate lobbies and the “bundlers” have consistently put their interests ahead of the people in this nation for decades. This is probably the single most important reason why we have not seen honesty and transparency in political dealings within the United States.
No longer can you count on a Democrat or a Republican to vote a certain way on any issue. Party affiliation is usually no help when one tries to pre-determine how a politician will vote on a certain issue. In order to get a better understanding on what makes a politician tick, it is necessary to investigate the interests that have funded their most recent campaigns. This is something that I have been doing for years. It came as no surprise to me that this way of predicting how an elected official will vote has been much more accurate than to review their public stance on issues, or to count on individuals to follow their party line.
This does not bode well for the general public. This is what is meant by progressive pundits when they claim that our nation has become an oligarchy run by the “corporate elite”. These are not just good “buzzwords” they are an honest description of our Representatives in Federal government. Nancy Pelosi is a marvelous example of someone that can “rationalize” her stances that in effect, allow her to sleep at night. Her constituency is comprised of people that work for defense industries. Still, remaining true to the people that have funded her campaigns and the people that have voted for her makes it quite easy to take impeachment and the cessation of hostilities in Iraq and other countries “off the table”. The truly sad part of this conundrum in Congress is that a person can count the number of people in Congress that actually vote their “conscience” on two hands.
This is nothing new, right? I’m surprised that you have gotten this far (if you are still reading) in this article. I’m sure that you some of you are probably sitting there thinking that Gatto isn’t saying anything new, and I’m not. The sad part about this is that I could write this very same article ten years from now and it would describe the situation then too. By that time however, the media will probably be run by one or two all-encompassing monopolies, and gasoline will still be only a few cents different in price in a five hundred mile radius.
What can we do about this situation? To underscore how much it influences our political system, the current front-runners from each major party would probably not be the front-runners if the system were not so corrupted by corporate influence. It is quite possible that Dennis Kuchinich could be the candidate to beat. This sadly isn’t the case at the present time because Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Westinghouse and Glaxo-Kline and Pfizer have no interest is seeing a Kuchinich Presidency.
Changing this current situation is a gargantuan task. How can the people enact change when the very people that must institute it are the very people that are entrenched in the system? Some States have managed to adopt “Clean Campaigns”, but trying to get Washington to accept that is practically impossible. The only way that changes could possibly be initiated is for Americans to refuse to accept the status quo. This is especially hard to do when the mainstream media is run by corporate interests. Just about the only way we will be able to affect real change is for Americans to educate themselves and to educate others that won’t do it on their own. Just about the best place to get the hard information that would support the argument for “meaningful campaign reform” is “Opensecrets.org” that publishes who gets how much from whom.
Once people understand the severity of the problem, the next step is to get a “grassroots” movement started to remove the corporate money recipients from Congress. This will take a concerted effort by dedicated people to inform and influence their countrymen. This is no easy task, but if every progressive writer could just write one article out of ten that covered this topic, we would reach many people and quite possibly elevate the problem to a conscious level for many more people. At this point, most Americans don’t see this problem exposed on a regular basis. It’s not an area of the political arena that jumps off the page and piques most peoples interest. Too bad, it’s probably the most important issue in American politics and affects more of us in all our endeavors than anything else.
That’s the way I see it.