Dr. Cornel West,
Disclaimer: I'm a horror fiction author and am just gonna roll with it.
In light of the shift of the two major parties (the duopoly), to the right, and the impression that with the amount of money influencing politics, it will only continue in that direction under a pretense of opposition, I appeal to you to change your "progressive" strategy of working within the duopoly. In books and interviews on the topic of progressive strategy, you talk about American voter nihilism but skirt around two major reasons for it: namely, the public perception of our election process as dysfunctional, and second, fixing that process.
Awareness of a lack of accountability within government creates a state of anomie, and a consequence of anomie is nihilism.
1. Social instability caused by erosion of standards and values.
2. Alienation and purposelessness experienced by a person or a class as a result of a lack of standards, values, or ideals.
Heroes and vigilantes are increasingly prominent in entertainment, to the level of post-Vietnam and Watergate. In the present, the trend of zombie and apocalyptic scenarios convey a sense of isolation, horror, crisis, and futility. Symbolically, they're American white liberal fear that hegemony, American consumerism, and the mindless herd mentality are unsustainable. And that amorality has or will lead to preying on one another without any authority to save the day. Or worse, that authority caused the problem in the first place.
I don't think it's a coincidence that the more the perception of corruption within governance has increased, the more people resort to rogue and shocking means of achieving justice and being heard. We're highly aware of the bias in the election process that bars many voters from legitimate and equitable, active participation through free association.
Money in politics is of major concern to 99% of everyone, and yet that's the very measure of a candidate's or a party's viability. Voters may experience an uncomfortable cognitive dissonance while choosing between the greater or lesser evil, like a chain-smoker who's read the warnings but can't shake the habit. So many questions, but with status quo, they'll go unanswered. Why is representation still tied to geography at the federal level? Why do white, conservative rural people deserve more electoral vote consideration than racial, cultural, and political minority-affiliated people spread out in isolated pockets and cities across the country? Why so few representatives? In disenfranchised pockets spread out, the options we're allowed may not represent who we are. And we're made to jump through hoops to have our non-duopoly vote for an actual representative counted, as if we must earn the right to participate truthfully in the election, as if it's not our inalienable right as citizens to choose freely. Imperialism began with the subjugation of the American voter. Now we keep each other down in partisan fashion.
Why the "two party system" is wrong for American democracy: it centralizes power and, to quote Chomsky, manufactures consent.
The duopoly has become too powerful, too easily corrupted. The ensuing junta of corrupt politicians, lobbyists, and mainstream media easily mute the voices of third parties and independent voices, at their whim. Widespread perception it's "realism" that it's a two-party system, and that this is the best we can do, discourages brave strategies, grassroots organizing, and stems contributions to third parties. All these are necessary to destabilize the duopoly and keep power in check, since the two major parties are not effectively checking themselves -- especially when it comes to the biasing of the election process so as to assure their continued dominance.
I know you don't want this unjust situation to continue. If all the colors of the rainbow leave the duopoly and set off their own fireworks, the zombies will notice. You know that big, bold moves have worked with grassroots movements outside of the election process. It will work within the election process, as well. To put our power and money back to work for individual voters, we must erect means of reasonable access such as you are aware of: public funded campaigns, free media time for all candidates, proportional representation, and also, substantially lower ballot access requirements for third parties and independents, among other important election process reforms. If we don't actively oppose and draw attention to this core problem of access and demand justice now, then the nihilism will surely worsen.
By asking for your help here, obviously my appeal is not only to you, Dr. West, but to all who would join and take personal responsibility for our election process. Let's join up and free zombies!
Thank you for your consideration,
Cynthia J. Sellers