Many people choose their candidate because of his position on one or two issues. They may not like him on everything, but as long as he's on their side on the issue they care about, that's enough. Many people are party-loyal; end of discussion, decision made. But even some of them are not satisfied with their candidate, yet will vote for him anyway because their party's propaganda machine has defined the other candidate as a demon from the pits of hell, and thus they simply have to vote with their party.
What about the rest of us? What about those of us who see that both major candidates have virtually the same positions on the issues we care about, and those positions are unacceptable? Is this the case? Sure it is. All you have to do is look for the issues that are never mentioned in campaign ads, speeches or debates during this election season (thanks again to Mike Adams for creating a quite in-depth list; I am adapting it to my own purposes). I already discussed the sham that our two party political system makes of the election process in my previous post. But here's just a few more issues on which both parties agree and approve, but I find intolerable:
- Continuation of the expansion of our military presence around the world.
- Expansion of the CIA into full blown paramilitary activity, an aspect of their business once considered too unethical and illegal to be acknowledged.
- Expansion of a government-supported domestic surveillance system, in which the average person's right to privacy is gutted, while the government increasingly operates such systems in secret, with no public accountability or legal recourse. This is becoming a critical erosion of fundamental civil liberties.
- Expansion of police departments into more and more militarized operations, equipped with military grade equipment, weapons, vehicles, drone aircraft, and an increasingly "gloves-off" approach to daily law enforcement.
- Unwillingness to hold any major figures accountable for the vast criminality and fraud behind the financial crisis of 2008, and failure to produce any meaningful reform, or to enforce reforms that are produced. The result of said failure is a guarantee that another financial catastrophe is imminent.
- Support for an industrial food production system that puts control over our food supply in the hands of a very few corporate entities whose production model prioritizes quantity and profit over health and nutrition.
- Support for the expansion of biotech/GMO food development while ignoring the plentiful information on the risks and dangers, as well as already occurring damage to food, animals, people and the environment.
So the point of this blog is ultimately to be an exploration of how to respond to all this. I can't avoid observing and commenting on the political aspect of all this, but my intention is to probe deeper. I think that activism on a personal, family, community or government level is great, each to his own talents and passion. But beyond that, I think the ugly mess we're in now requires a renewed embrace of basic ethical, philosophical even dare I say spiritual principles, starting on a deeply personal level. If this seems like a cop-out to you, I hope to develop and express my ideas well enough to change your mind, but the floor is always open for conversation.
I am always heartened by the realistic optimism of people like Howard Zinn, who said:
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
And he is not alone:
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
- Thomas Paine
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead
"Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Eighty percent of success is showing up."
– Woody Allen
So how will I vote? Hmm. I used to think that simply voting against incumbents was the thing to do, but that is still, in essence, supporting the status quo of the system. I'll just say that any vote besides Democrat or Republican may be futile in a practical sense, but if enough people stand up up to express their disapproval and non-acceptance of the system as it is, in any way they see fit, that would be a start.