Sunday, November 4, 2012

What About The Rest of Us?

The election is one day away. Who will I vote for? I already know who's going to win. I was beaten to the punch in this article by Mike Adams at, but he is just expressing what a lot of us already knew full well.

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.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Mike Adams' article takes it much further, and he comes to some conclusions I find hard to take. But nevertheless the truth is inescapable: we are seeing the fundamental institutions and systems of our country crumbling around us, and if we look hard enough, we see that our political leadership is not just ignoring, not just enabling, but in some ways actively encouraging and participating in the process.

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.


  1. Thanks Ben, good stuff. I'm Ryan, Heathers friend, a T&H and FDR subscriber. I'd enjoy talking sometime in person. I consider myself a voluntaryist. I voted libertarian because I believe it to be a step in the right direction, which is ultimately a free society. I recognize that until the majority of people care enough to look into the issues as we have that things will only get worse. My hope is that bringing attention to classical liberal ideas to more people will help them to begin to think again.

    1. Thanks so much for reading! I understand where you're at and I agree we all have to take whatever steps we can to make our society and ourselves more free. I would love to meet and hang out some time.

  2. Much of what you say needs to become a movement. It needs to sweep over the populace like 'Oppa Gangnam Style' and touch every one it can, one way or another.

    It's a shame tomorrow is too soon, but we get another chance in four years.

    My theory is, Obama needs to lose big to set a presidence. The American people need to show that we realize what just happened and we won't stand for it.

    Come 2016, we seize the chance to show that we will also no longer stand for what's been happening for too many decades.

    I see Romney as one-term president. To beat Obama, he's all we have right now. During his term, awareness for our other options needs to spread.

    In the wake of Obama's resounding loss, the media needs to be ousted. Reporting desperately needs to return to always asking the tough questions and then relentlessly demanding the facts.

    If fact, there are still many questions that it is not too late to ask Obama.

    I feel the same as you about voting Lib or Ind tomorrow. Maryland usually doesn't have bearing on the outcome. Thanks to the electoral college, there are only something like 12 districts that really determine the outcome.

    Maybe a vote the other way might be the start of making a voice.

    Importantly, our largest influence in Washington takes place through the state. State influence, through the county. And the county, through your town. Smart voting starts locally.

  3. Well put Ben. I would just like to point out, that, regarding a "third party vote" (I prefer the term "alternate party"), your vote actually does serve a purpose. If a candidate wins 5% or more of the popular vote, they become eligible for $20 million in clean federal matching funds for the 2016 campaign. My disillusionment with the status quo,as well as this new found info, is why I'll be voting for Jill Stein tomorrow. Gary Johnson or Rocky Anderson would also be viable choices, depending on the specifics of one's views.

  4. Great Stuff Ben, I do not know where to begin. I guess from the beginning. Sounds like an ELP song. Here is my 2 cents. I believe the political parties are irrevocably broken. The system hasn't failed us it's the people that are suppose to represent us. Obama had his chance so now it is Romney's turn. I am not really expecting change I am just hoping that things will not get any worse. It make sense to have a business man as president presiding over one of the largest economies in the world instead of an inexperienced lawyer. I personally believe it is too late to fix it all. This country is like an old house that is still standing because of construction patch work when the house really needs a complete renovation. The problems have ballooned so much that it is hard just to wrap your head around things like a 16 trillion dollar debt. Sometimes it is better just to demolish the broken structure and start all over again. That is what this government needs. A complete overhaul.We are the modern day version of Rome and if we do not change course and stop the slide our society will collapse just like the Roman Empire did. It is a pity that we only have a 2 party system. There are plenty of good candidates from other parties that could be in this important race but are squeezed out by our 2 party system. There is a reason why we have elections every 2 and 4 years. This system was not originally set up to support career politicians that abuse their offices and pad their pockets pretending to represent their constituents. It is hard to find people that are not corrupted by power in this modern world and the longer they stay in office the more corrupt they become.I would like to see a complete turnover every election. I think this would at least slow down the problem but qould not eleimate it entirely. Anyway my 2 cents has now turned into 10 cents.LOL! I still have hope and I will vote tomorrow keeping my fingers crossed that everything will turn out ok in the end. Good luck to all!! We all need it!!! Keep up the good work!!!

  5. I am voting for an alternative party since I am not into puppetry.
    ....and There is another choice....