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The Cumulative Effect of Lesser Evils

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Message Charles Sullivan
During the early 1990's, I was a facilitator at an outdoor cooperative education facility in northern Virginia. I worked with students from the Fairfax County public school system, the majority of them in middle school. The teaching principles we employed stressed cooperation in problem solving within a culture that places extreme value upon competition and exploitation.

The typical unit size our facilitators worked with was twelve students. The groups were divided so that people who were not accustomed to working together were placed in situations where, if they were to succeed, they must do so collectively or not at all. The core idea was to stress the importance of the group or community above the individual. The needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few.

One of the problems the students faced was finding a creative way of getting everyone in the group on a wooden square that was approximately 18 inches across. Every group member must have at least one foot on the square, and no part of their anatomy was permitted to touch the ground for five seconds. No one was allowed to be placed on top of another.

It was always interesting to see how events evolved within each group dynamic. At first, the students invariably did the same thing over and over, always with the same predictable result: plenty of bodies on the ground and a complex unsolved problem staring back into their bright little faces. Precipitated by intensive planning, great effort was expended to solve the problem. Sometimes it was an agonizing thing to watch, especially when a group of students could not think outside of the box and were unable to solve the problem, which was, fortunately, a rare occurrence.

Eventually, someone would see the predicament differently than the others and a new strategy was visualized and implemented. The solution suddenly appeared obvious and the problem was quickly solved. Then it was on to the next event

This is the image that continually came to my mind during the 2006 mid term elections, as a wave of euphoria swept across the nation and lively celebrations ensued. Millions of naïve voters actually believe that something resembling revolution was accomplished in a bloodless coup by replacing Republicans with Democrats in the House and Senate. Conservatives foolishly thought the same with the so called Gingrich revolution of the 90s.

There hasn't been a revolution in America in more than two centuries, an idea openly embraced by none other than Thomas Jefferson. We are long overdue.

Meanwhile, the system rolls on, and the people are left feeling that something significant was accomplished, and that they made it happen by voting. There will be no need for further action until the next election cycle. Like innocent children trying to crowd and shove their way onto a small wooden square, they keep doing the same thing and getting the same pitiful result. They are not grasping the problem and so are not nearing a solution. By acting in a system that precludes real choices they are not participating in a democratic process; they are, in fact, playing with loaded dice and thus assuring the continuation of the status quo, which is the antithesis of democracy.

But history, and the consistency of America's governmental polices through 230 years of practice, contradict this immature view. Reality is a bitter pill to swallow, so we choose to ignore it and hope it goes away of its own accord. Like an ominous storm cloud portending disaster, it hangs over us and casts a dark pall over everything we do. It must be dealt with.

More astute political observers who are more familiar with history realize that nothing has changed. Once again the people were fooled into thinking that a corrupt political system can be reformed from within. All that was accomplished is that one set of Plutocrats was replaced by another. The moneyed system that created both sets of Plutocrats remains intact and in full control.

What evidence is there to support the widely held belief that this American government serves the people? All of the evidence suggests otherwise, as does American history-particularly as it pertains to war and conquest and the exploitation of the working class.

What essential difference to imperialistic policy does the mid term elections make? Does anyone honestly expect the Democratic majority to energetically work to repeal the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act? Will the Democrats even attempt to get the NSA and the FBI out of our computers? Will they cut off the funding for the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq? Will it subvert the planned bombing of Iran? Will it halt the government's unconditional support for the criminal Israeli occupation of Palestine with its doctrine of brutality, subjugation, and ethnic cleansing? Will the Democrats even attempt to restore habeas corpus?

Can we reasonably expect the Democrats to passionately oppose the outsourcing of jobs to regions of the world where wages are lowest and regulation is non-existent? How many of them voted against NAFTA and GATT? Democrats support free trade agreements about as widely as Republicans because such policies accrue wealth to the Plutocracy of which they are a part. It is of no concern to them that the workers are harmed and wages are diminished. CEO salaries and corporate profits continue to rise, and that is what matters to them. They take care of their own and we should do the same.

The money changers still own the system and their intent is to use it for their own purposes, as they always have. Unimaginable privatized wealth and hegemony is to be realized through the use of military might, the continued exploitation of the working class, and private ownership. Pax Americana and the New World Order are the result of capitalism, and nothing will change that until we move beyond capitalism and put a more humane and equitable system into play.

Voting in the absence of choice, pitting conservative against liberal and Democrat against Republican, is just another hoax perpetrated upon the American people. There are differences but overall they are more subtle than people think. The working class has no representation in government from either political party. Such division keeps us distracted from understanding the root cause of our problems, and from even holding meaningful discussions about them. We have been conditioned to believe that capitalism, free markets, and Democracy are interchangeable terms representing the highest degree of human freedoms. These are, in fact, euphemisms created to deceive and throw us off the scent.

Corrupt self-serving government is the result of over two hundred years of choice between lesser evils: the effect of which is cumulative and permanent. Year after year, election after election, the American voter adds to these strata of evil, like the making of a reef that lays fathoms deep on the ocean's floor. We are making things progressively worse while deluding ourselves into thinking they are getting better.

The problem is really quite simple: It is us against the Plutocracy; us against the most dangerous crime syndicate the world has ever known-the Plutocratic New World Order, the Illuminati. It is the same old class fight it has always been. Freedom, if it is to be won, will not issue from the vote. It will come in the streets, through resistance to evil, and through the willingness of enough people to struggle and sacrifice for the common good and for justice. That is how freedoms are always won; and their continuation will require constant vigilance, and direct citizen participation.

Until enough good people are willing to struggle, to fight, nothing will change. It behooves us to cease looking for easy answers and quick fixes to complex problems that were centuries in the making. None are forthcoming. There are no political solutions to social problems. We do not need saviors or leaders to take us to the Promised Land; there is only we the people, organized and mobile. That is our power and our salvation. We have only to exercise it. Revolution could give meaning to the vote.
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Charles Sullivan is a photographer, social activist and free lance writer residing in the hinterland of West Virgina.
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