"We have a deeply-divided body politic in America. Half the population believes our elections
The other half believe they are fixed."
-- Swami Beyondananda
When I was a kid, my favorite humorist was someone you've probably never heard of, H. Allen Smith. Smith grew up in small town America in the early decades of the 20th century, back when "city slickers" came to these small towns to hustle and bilk "country rubes". One of the classic games was the old shell game where the perpetrator deftly moves a thimble or walnut shell over a pea and the "marks" have to guess which thimble the pea is under.
According to Smith, as a young child he happened upon one of these games in the town square. After observing the game for a while, young Smith blurted out: "Maybe it ain't under any of 'em."
What followed was an uncomfortable yet profound silence. The con artist swiftly packed his table and was off to the next unsuspecting town.
And the point is?
Just as surely as the innocent perception of a child was able to bust the trance of the shell game, an awakening body politic is now beginning to see through the con game called "two party politics mediated by a media determined to create lots and lots of heat, and very little light".
As we mark July 4th, Independence Day this year, maybe we should celebrate "Independents Day" as more people than ever before are declaring their independence from a two-party system where the vast majority of the American people haven't been invited to the party. Not that we aren't hit up for presents. Not a day goes by I don't get an email from the Democratic Party with an alarming headline and a piece that goes: "The Koch Brothers ... ooga booga blah blah blah, send us money!"
Since I am an equal-opportunity masochist, I'm on the conservative lists too, and those emails go: "Obama ... ooga booga blah blah blah, send us money!"