Image from withintheblackcommunity.blogspot.com
This is a continuation of previous installments of "Silence of the Liberal Lambs." In Part 1, voting apathy is weighed against the challenges of unemployment. In Part 2, some of the reasons for despair among younger voters are contextualized with respect to neoliberalism's war on higher education. In Part 3, the case for apathy is compared with the need for fixing an increasingly broken state.
"My Vote Doesn't Count"
Case for Apathy
More political pundits than ever believe that citizen votes are being thrown over just as soon as politicians take office. We have all heard such excuses as "It was just rhetoric," or "Need to learn the ropes," or "Must vote with the Party."
With the American two-party system long stymied over infrastructure spending bills, meanwhile speedily agreeing on necessary defense appropriations, it is no wonder that voters feel apathetic. The showdown last year will probably repeat itself this year since the economic woes of many cities doesn't affect Congress when it comes to vacations.
Our legislators don't care about their constituents as much as they listen to the big lobbyists. They have even adopted appropriate disciplinary actions for the little people. False flag events, manipulating the price of fuel, and other political conflagrations.
With the mainstream media providing as little coverage as possible on grassroots protesters and issues at stake, consumers who passively identify with representational objects and iconic images, who escape rather than confront, are the fashionable norm.
Voting isn't necessary in the age of the SuperPACs, especially when Republican and Democratic politicians hold winner takes all positions in comparison with third-party candidates who struggle to raise the needed signatures, funds, and votes.
Voters surely recognize how SuperPACs have taken over sustaining sponsorships for many progressive non-governmental agencies or thinktanks. In exchange for needed monies, NGOs have compromised or diluted their messages, as in the case with National Public Radio, Center for American Progress, the ACLU, and many more.
Repairing the Machine
Becoming involved not just as a voter is essential for repairing the emerging broken state. You wouldn't abandon your car just because it is broken.
According to Ralph Nader in his latest book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, many progressives, independents, and traditional conservatives must rally around core issues of concern touching the lives of every day citizens in order to reclaim our democracy.
Again and again, these core issues cluster around the neoliberal/neoconservative agenda which sacrifices the good of the people, substituting in its place overarching emphasis on profits, business restructuring, protections for corporate welfare, and the expansion of international monopolies (TPP/TTIP).
In Unstoppable, and at the Left-Right Convergence event on May 27th at the Carnegie Institute, common ground issues were discussed: the commercialization of childhood, raising the minimum wage, auditing the Defense Budget, ending corporate personhood, revising trade agreements to protect US sovereignty, and establishing "rigorous procedures to evaluate the claims of businesses looking for a government handout, which would end most corporate welfare and bailouts."
However just as routine vehicle maintenance can help owners understand and prevent break down on the road, so must voters be able to appreciate the myriad of rhetorical strategies practiced by politicians and those in mainstream media.
One useful instruction manual is Democracy to Come by Rachel Riedner and Kevin Mahoney. This book, which analyzes the rhetoric of protest movements, has among its goals teaching the identification of "excess, gaps, differences, and openings" in neoliberalist marketing and behind its purported arguments, purposes, imagery.