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Choosing Evil - Are Elections the Great American Illusion?

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'Tis the season for electoral folly. People are getting more and more excited over candidates who have shown less and less, but the debates have placed Obama in juxtaposition to John McCain to make him look like the lesser of two evils to some. Obama isn't measured against the highest standard but against someone amazingly matched in many ways.

Both candidates have received big contributions from Wall Street that attract their attention from Main Street. Both candidates claim that Arab hijackers caused 9-11 even though the Director of the FBI admitted that there was insufficient evidence. Both candidates support keeping the dogs of war barking even though the American people have demanded an end to the wars. Both of our "presidential candidates" have pledged to export the Afghan war into Pakistan.

The best choices are never permitted to rise to Public Consciousness. The better choices are relegated to third-party anonymity. The two choices we are given guarantee that we choose the lesser evil instead of the greatest good. Who is doing the choosing before we get to choose? Is it really democratic or is it only supposed to have the appearance of democracy?

Both of the political parties that are permitted to fully contest for election build false hopes to maintain a system that has increasingly stolen the energy and allegiance of the people. We can even joke about the politicians as we do used car salesmen. (My apologies to used car salesmen.) We know they are doing it even as they are doing it to us, but like a soap opera or a pro "wrestling" match we get so caught up in the game that it carries us along with its pantomime of sincere deliberation and debate.

Peter Chamberlin has written,

The electoral farce is the epitome of this illusion-creating process. The psychologists and political scientists play on loyalties and human trust in their creation of political candidates who will fill party loyalists with false hope. The roots of the two-party system run through generations of families, workplaces and affiliations, binding unsuspecting sheeple with imaginary bonds of loyalty to lying politicians. Candidates with identical goals are portrayed as opposites, in order to catch naive unsuspecting souls from both sides of the fence in the same net. The illusion that either candidate will honestly represent the people, or work to save America or the world from the predatory forces that corrupt and bind us all, is a dangerous psychological poison that blinds the people to the truth, the only basis of real hope.
Who gets the money to run for Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska or Commissioner of Josephine County, Oregon? Who gets the attention of the newspaper editor of the Redding Searchlight or the Mankato Free Press so they can rise to the next level of vetting? Who gets the attention of the party hacks to run against the opposition's vetted best? Who gets the opposing candidate's plane to drop out of the air and crash into an icy swamp a few days before the election? Who are these people anyway!?!

Peter Chamberlin continues,

The sheeple embrace the illusion on a daily basis, making it effective auto-suggestion as they reinforce it repetitively within their own minds, like some hypnotic mantra. They eagerly embrace the corporate media messages, in hopes of someday pleasing their elitist masters enough to gain a seat at their right hand, earning a place alongside the corporate criminals who are gang-raping this planet. All believers in the constructed corporate fantasy world want, more than anything, to become part of that imaginary world.
What does it really mean to vote for the lesser of two evils? Doesn't it ensure that we vote for evil of one brand or another? Surely the controllers are past even mocking us because we fall so easily for their game. What's this all about?

Sheldon Wolin,-professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University who has taught the philosophy of democracy for five decades,-describes the current control tactics by corporate-government in his recent book,-Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

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Inverted totalitarianism lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity,-or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual.
To Professor Wolin, this form of political power makes America "the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed."

Wolin points out that

the current system and its operatives share with Nazism the aspiration toward unlimited power and aggressive expansionism, their methods and actions seem upside down. For example, in Weimar Germany, before the Nazis took power, the "streets" were dominated by totalitarian-oriented gangs of toughs, and whatever there was of democracy was confined to the government. In the United States, however, it is the streets where democracy is most alive--while the real danger lies with an increasingly unbridled government....it has been apparent for decades that corporate power has become so predominant in the political establishment, particularly in the Republican Party, and so dominant in its influence over policy, as to suggest a role inversion the exact opposite of the Nazis.'
More than 60 years ago Aldous Huxley observed in the foreword to the 1946 edition of his dystopic novel, Brave New World,
A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers .... The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth."
Sheldon Wolin shows us that a new totalitarianism has evolved within the US under the disguise of democracy using totally different tactics than were used by earlier fascist governments.
... inverted totalitarianism has its own means of promoting generalized fear; not only by sudden "alerts" and periodic announcements about recently discovered terrorist cells or the arrest of shadowy figures or the publicized heavy-handed treatment of aliens and the Devil's Island that is Guant-namo Bay or the sudden fascination with interrogation methods that employ or border on torture, but by a pervasive atmosphere of fear abetted by a corporate economy of ruthless downsizing, withdrawal or reduction of pension and health benefits; a corporate political system that relentlessly threatens to privatize Social Security and the modest health benefits available, especially to the poor. With such instrumentalities for promoting uncertainty and dependence, it is almost overkill for inverted totalitarianism to employ a system of criminal justice that is punitive in the extreme, relishes the death penalty and is consistently biased against the powerless.

Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers. That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents.

Can you recognize the elements in place to control the American people? Do you think that more of the same politicians will make a difference? Do you think that just because you vote in an election that your vote counted? Do you think that just because you voted, that you had a real choice or was it an "arranged" choice?

There ARE other choices that we don't make because we wish to have our vote count for a winner not for the best in our estimation. We don't want our vote to be "wasted." But isn't a vote for the lesser of two evils worse than wasted? Isn't it a vote that has been contaminated by manipulation of ego? Who is it that says that a vote for a Ron Paul or a Ralph Nader or an Eric Hufschmid or a Karen Kwiatkowski would be wasted on someone who doesn't have a chance? Was it the propaganda of the "talking heads" on ABCNNBCBSPBSFox? Was it the local newspaper editor who got this from the New York Times? Who do YOU think would be the BEST CHOICE to represent you in Congress or the White House? THAT'S real voting! That's democracy! Or the illusion of freedom.

You might ask if this is the right action to be free. Is it the most effective way to use your energy, your time and money? Remember Henry David Thoreau in Civil Disobedience chose to refuse to pay a tax he did not believe was lawful. He said, "Thousands are hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."

The challenge always before us is this: do we have the courage of conscience to be free? Or will Americans continue to choose evil of the more or lesser variety?

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My life came to a watershed in 1988 when I was forced to either teach what was in the selected history text or end my teaching career. I couldn't lie to my students so I ended my teaching career. Today, through my websites, I teach thousands each (more...)
 

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Cheers on what is essentially your recognition of ... by Adnihilo on Thursday, Oct 23, 2008 at 2:43:20 PM
Hi Adnihilo,Thanks for the extensive comment. Much... by Allen Heart on Friday, Oct 24, 2008 at 2:53:02 AM