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Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

By       Message Matthew Hardy       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   15 comments

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"Welcome to the U.S.S.A." is an excerpt from A Culture of Crybabies: The 21st Century World of Wimps, Whiners, and Victims, by Matthew Hardy.

As I write this a few days before the 2008 presidential election, both campaigns are predicting dire consequences for the country should the other side win. Republicans claim the United States will overtly transform into a socialist state under an Obama presidency, with the wealth of the rich and middle class redistributed to the losers in our society. Democrats fear McCain will continue the Bush legacy of funding a trillion dollar war and favoring business bailouts at the expense of the taxpayer on Main Street. Both scenarios are probably correct to a large degree.

Near the time you read this, a new president will be elected and our future course will be getting underway. The winning side will sigh in relief that America has been saved, and the losers will be preparing for the dark future ahead (or the popular political alternative these days, begin packing to move to Canada). However, from the perspective of the average man and woman on Main Street getting hosed by government, I contend it makes no difference which candidate wins. Whether the next administration is Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, you and I will fork over half of everything we earn to the government. The only difference is who is going to get it. Welcome to the United Socialist States of America.

Democrats and Republicans traditionally appear (and claim) to have dramatically different positions on taxation: Democrats are always raising taxes to support even more socialization, while Republicans want to minimize taxes for the benefit of business and the economy. The truth is neither party wants to seriously cut taxes at all. They only want to manipulate who pays and who gets. Tax the rich! Tax cuts for the middle class! Tax credits for the poor (or well-lobbied business interests). These are all standard stump speech distractions from the fact that incumbent members from both parties create and defend the huge spectrum of taxes that take virtually half of every dollar we earn.

Another example of how these seemingly ideologically opposite parties are not so different is their focus on maintaining the size, power, and influence of government with, of course, themselves in control. Now the Democratic Party does not come right out and say, "We stand for More and Bigger Government." However, they are not too shy about their attitude that we citizens need them to protect us. And to do this, they want more of our money so they can create more laws, more regulations, and more programs to protect and care for us helpless and vulnerable Crybabies.

The Republicans, on the other hand, claim to represent their traditional platform that less government is better, including fiscal conservatism and privacy rights. While they may be in favor of eliminating certain programs and taxes that they don't like, there are plenty of Republican sponsors for new laws, regulations, and spending appropriations that fall in line with the current party priorities. Of late, the Republican Party has identified with the religion and family values crowd, and there is no shortage of new laws proposed and enacted to appease this new constituency-oddly one that was historically a solid demographic of the Democrats. Who could have foreseen the shift in the Republican Party platform from championing less government, fiscal conservatism, and a strict, none-of-your-business policy towards government intrusion and privacy, to promoting faith-based programs and policing morality? And when it comes to spending the Really Big Money, Republicans continue to support a never-ending military obligation in the Middle East, and billion dollar bailouts for big business.

Nope, the political parties are in lockstep when it comes to maintaining their power and influence, and appeasing the demands of their constituency du jour. No administration, Republican or Democrat, has ever spearheaded an across-the-board reduction in the size of government or taxation. Sure, each party repeals laws and programs they don't like , but neither has seriously moved to create a smaller, more efficient government, and reduce the amount of tax money required to support it.

Our government does not inherently have to be big. The attitude of those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was that government was a necessary evil that should be constrained and limited in function to manage only the basic essentials. Organizing an army and building roads come to mind, as well as collecting only enough tax revenue to cover those expenses. However, as our culture increasingly fell under the spell of Crybabies, we demanded more and more from government. Our demands and dependence grew to the point today where we expect government to protect us from every perceived threat and inconvenience, and support and care for us from cradle to grave. Of course the politicians, seeing the opportunity for more power and control over society, and ever worried about losing the support of some special interest or constituency, eagerly oblige our every demand and continue to grow government even more. They do this without regard to the fundamental principles that shaped our democracy in 1776, and apparently without regard to where we are heading as a country and culture. And through our whining dependence and the way we vote, we continue to let them do it. The sad truth is that we Crybabies have created this political monster ourselves.

We have been conditioned to think of politics as a linear, one-dimensional conflict: left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican. That's how our political system has been contorted, and how we Crybabies have been potty-trained to accept it. But it doesn't have to be that way. We can continue down the same old muddy partisan path we've been slogging through for generations, and accomplish nothing except guarantee the health and longevity of the exclusive political clubs and their career members. Or we can try to change it for the better. No matter how massive or powerful you believe the system to be, the politicians and parties cannot control your thought or your vote, if you don't let them.

I never vote for any candidate who is a member of the Democratic or Republican parties because I genuinely believe those political machines and their career members have hijacked our democratic system. I consider voting only for independent candidates.

Aren't there some good people in the major parties that we should try to elect? Yes, there are some honest and hard-working statesmen who are Democrats and Republicans, but as long as they are members of those organizations that have impaired the function of our government, I cannot vote for them in good conscience. These good men and women need to renounce their participation in, and dependence on, these inept and corrupt institutions and run as independents.

But isn't it sometimes necessary to vote for a candidate who has a chance of winning in order to defeat the candidate from the other party? The attitude that you will vote for the lesser of the two evils in order to prevent the more evil candidate from winning is the primary reason we are stuck with this duocracy. It's what drives the either/or, liberal/conservative, and Democrat/Republican mentality that dominates today. I vote only for an independent candidate or not at all. Do my independent candidates win many elections these days? Not many, but some do. Am I throwing away my vote? No, because I am interested only in my independent candidate winning, with no concern of whether a Democrat or Republican might win-I consider them both equally unappealing and responsible for perpetuating our corrupted system.

How you should vote is, of course, your choice. You may genuinely feel that one of the major parties and their candidates represent your political ideas. Or, more typical among today's voters, you reluctantly vote for one side to oppose the other. However, I would ask you to consider supporting and voting for independent candidates, if for no other reason than to erode the foundation of the major parties. It makes no difference whether your independent candidate of choice is ultra-liberal, an archconservative, or moderate. Actually, you will find most independent candidates have an unorthodox mix of liberal and conservative positions, rather than adhering to the knee-jerk partisan platform dictated by the parties. By the way, this is where most regular citizens' political outlook resides: not completely liberal, not just conservative, but an independently determined mix of both. No matter what your political ideology or how you vote, the important thing is to break the stranglehold that the major parties have on our democracy. There are two effective ways to do this: vote only for independent candidates, and let the good members of the Democratic and Republican parties know that you will consider supporting them only if they leave their parties and run as independents.

By the way, I am not advocating the formation of the Independent Party-not at all. When I refer to independent candidates, I mean they are independent from the major parties and all others as well. If new parties are formed, partisan rifts will develop and we will end up just as we are now, with the only difference being new names for the domineering political machines.

Perhaps today independents are considered token candidates who don't stand a chance against the well-funded and powerful parties. But if you, I, and everyone else make the transition to good independent candidates, a day will come when we reach critical mass, and then the politicians themselves will be abandoning the Democratic and Republican parties like the proverbial rats from a sinking ship. Like the evolution of attitudes toward slavery, bigotry, and smoking, first it is just a radical concept pushed by a few; it gains momentum among the masses; and then one day it becomes self-evident and the societal standard.

Personally, I look forward to the day--probably not in my lifetime though--when the Democratic and Republican parties are dismissed with the same disdain and contempt that is now reserved for the Communist Party. I know, I've just offended many Democrats and Republicans. Too bad. Quit whining and wean off the partisan nipple. And to those honest and hardworking statesmen and women of those parties, I say it's time to pack your bags and become independent, both politically and personally.

In the meantime, we will continue to live in the U.S.S.A. until we break the stranglehold the parties have on our government. Whether we now have President Obama or President McCain, we will continue on with the fraud and folly that has permeated our government under both the Democratic and Republican parties.

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer

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Matthew Hardy grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and had careers in astronomy and aviation. The Coast Guard introduced him to island life in the Pacific, where he has lived and traveled ever since. He is the author of (more...)

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