Why Do Political Parties Lie?
Every voter should ask the question, "Why do political parties lie?" Perhaps the answer can be found in the fact that political parties are made up of people. Sociologists tell us that just about everybody lies when an advantage can be gained. And both Republicans and Democrats seek to gain advantage for themselves and their constituencies. If all is fair in love and war, we must recognize that there is little love between the parties. And that leaves only war.
Amid the deep and growing division between sectors of the American populace, one common theme emerges - we all feel increasingly left out. We are fearful that others will gain an advantage over us, and we are encouraged to believe that they already have. As our fear turns into rage, it is increasingly directed toward the other - other countries, other races, other states, other genders, other religions - any other will do.
There are real reasons for many of us to feel left out - we are left out. Economic inequality has concentrated wealth in America to a greater degree than at any time in nearly a century. This inequality is a valid target for the fear and rage so many people feel. And yet, the rage is rarely directed toward the corporations that bring us the goods we love to consume, and seldom do we attack the "job creators" that constitute the wealthy class and who really do provide many of us with employment. Individually, after all, corporations and wealthy people are innocently enjoying the fruits of a system that rewards their enterprise.
And there's the lie! Yes, corporations and wealthy people may be individually innocent, but they are the beneficiaries of a system that has been rigged - corrupted - in their favor. Individually, they may have had nothing to do with the rigging, but somebody has done it. And we can't blame either of today's political parties, because the corruption goes back hundreds of years.
But one party champions the cause of corporations and wealthy people. And with increasing levels of economic inequality, such a party would be vulnerable indeed if popular rage were directed against the factors that actually create and sustain inequality. The very survival of such a party would depend upon its success in redirecting that popular rage and vectoring it toward the other - any other.
And the party has help - lots of help - from corporate media. Chris Hedges says that today's news organizations, controlled by their corporate owners, focus their influence on a single mission - to redirect the dissatisfaction and outrage of those suffering from corporatism to less threatening targets. For example, lower wages are a result of illegal immigration, not employment policy. Unemployment is a result of regulations that penalize job creators, not the practices of outsourcing and offshoring. And rising food costs are a result of government food regulation, not the ever-increasing profits of corporate farms.
But both parties lie, don't they? Sure. We are a species that lies, living in a culture that lies, listening to corporate media that lies - all because self-interest demands that we seek every advantage in an increasingly competitive world.
So expect to see and hear lies, but prepare yourself to recognize them so that you can act - and vote - according to your own actual self-interests.
This is an excerpt from PLATFORM WARS!, available now.