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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/23/12

Response to a Call (by a Libertarian) Not to Vote

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Government by and for the people is worth fighting for. If we abandon the struggle we are ceding all power to the corporatocrats, who will increase their control of the most major decisions affecting the quality of our lives once the redtape of gov't doesn't slow them down. Jill Stein, on the ballot in 33 states, is a reasonable protest vote, and sends a much better message than not voting.

What are you saying??? Only two poor candidates to choose from?  Do you not know that Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein is on the ballot in 33 states so far (still working on others), and can be written in in 3 more?  Before you finish writing that article, please pause and ask yourself the question, "How is not voting better than voting for the most viable minor party candidate?"  You may not appreciate someone who isn't running a Libertarian campaign, but omitting her from the equation, as the Green Party builds momentum, isn't presenting the options truthfully.  You can read her platform here.

If most of us had been as reluctant as you are to embrace an available new and less corrupt party, we'd never have gotten the spin-off Democratic Party which for many years included enough representatives of the 99% to lay the economic foundations for the prosperity of the middle class in the 1950s and 1960s.  Yes, it included the seeds of the current corporatocray as well, but for a while it acted to break up some major monopolies.  We would not have been better off w/o it.  If it and its greatest President, FDR, hadn't existed, and we instead followed the anti-regulatory prescriptions of the Libertarians, the logical outcome would have been the arrival of our current disempowered situation over 80 years sooner.

Anarchists and LIbertarians both seem to imagine the political environment as a fair fight, like a one on one between well-matched rivals. Throughout history, whenever a small group of people has corraled most of the resources, that picture is false.


The modern democratic republics were created to even the playing field. Direct democracy is not possible in groups the size of most nations. Our founders planned for our gov't officials, the military and police forces, and natural monopolies to be financed by the general public. They required general elections for office holders. These institutions which determine and enforce the use of resources were planned to be responsive to voters, and evolved to further include citizens who do not belong to the elite. Control by the elite was significantly moderated by laws passed and enforced by this responsive system.

When we don't regulate the actions of the most powerful via our government, we don't get either a "free market" or justice. Instead those at the top have no restrictions on how they collude to keep down those w/ smaller holdings. In places where the gov't can't regulate those at the top, for whatever reason, land is routinely stolen from subsistence farmers, tax monies are directed away from maintaining a productive economy and into the pockets of those at the top, the majority are paid less than a living wage, the elite brutally disrupt unionizing and other attempts to get majority needs attended to, and innovation by small businesses is stifled.

The corporatocratic coup which has taken place here and is rapidly expanding into the other former democratic republics has needed the destruction of each of the basic elements of democratic republics, especially the regulations preventing large monopolies. Once that was done, there was nothing to stop the most ruthless and corrupt among the ultra-wealthy from forming huge corporate empires, able to overwhelm gov'ts.

Some people have mistakenly interpreted the oppressive behavior of the co-opted gov't as a problem of excess government power and recommend weakening gov't, especially its power to regulate, as a solution.  In reality, the power diverting governments' agendas comes from the essentially lawless corporatocrats and is not a property of some abstraction called "government". Even a complete elimination of formal government as Anarchists suggest, or a reduction of government's ability to "regulate" as Libertarians suggest, would not improve matters for the majority.  It would be analagous to trying to eliminate the control of the utility company over the power grid by doing away with meter readers.  A large social group like a nation will always be governed.  The choice is only whether we accept might-makes-right, arbitrary government by the monied elite, or do what is necessary to make sure the ruling force is us. With government gone, the corporatocrats would have no difficulty in maintaining their control and ruling directly.

We experienced a small foretaste of that when large businesses (nowhere near as large as our biggest current conglomerates) hired goons to forestall unionization. Back then, our government was still vulnerable to pressure from large groups of ordinary citizens, so government eventually acknowledged the heroic efforts of the labor movement and codified the right to unionize, for the most part. If the rules regarding organized labor have since been interpreted to advantage mega-corporations at the expense of small businesses, that is the choice and doing of the owners of those largest corporations, not their government front men.

We need to retake our control over our government by restoring the features that once made it our tool of empowerment--a redistributing tax system, a means of counting the vote that we can trust, limited money for campaigns, a Bill of Rights enforced as a protection for people, enforcement of laws that limit the size of corporations, diverse media ownership limited in size, an end to the relatively recently created unlimited access of large private banks to the public Treasury. Only that reassignment of power can shift our country's agenda, not giving up on our only means of having a say. Voting, especially given the possibility of a false count, and petitioning our bought and extorted Congress can only be the most minor part of the solution. But telling the powers that be that we're walking away and that they can have the government to do with as they wish, is certainly a step in the wrong direction.

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Like this country's founders, I believe that the widest political empowerment under the rule of law is the surest way of having its resources work for the long term best interests of us all. The longer I live, the more I see that supports that (more...)
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