It took nearly 200 years after the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” were penned to assure everyone in the United States had the right to vote, yet the only thing that has changed since the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965 is fewer Americans participate than ever before.
These national numbers don’t even begin to touch the unmitigated disaster that is our state primary system. Divide the 2010 percentages in half and you’ll see just how low turnout will be for the mid-term primaries in 2014, ensuring our downward spiral continues unabated.Two centuries of struggle on behalf of people who won’t show up twice a year, every two years, and every now and then for a special election, to make their voices heard.
Until the Asshole American came along, there were only a couple of ways to lose a democracy like ours, all of which involved decades of abuse leading to revolution, ruin and rebirth.
Always the innovators, We The People surrendered without a shot being fired or a single testicle hooked to a car battery.
Hard-won freedoms traded away in a gluttonous flurry of Big Macs, Big Screens and Big Trucks, smart phones more coveted than smart government.When the average American citizen failed to exercise control over this dangerous beast we created, the consequences were chronic and global. Decades of inattention to our minimal duties as informed and engaged citizens has indeed led to the day where government Of the People, By the People and For the People has perished on this Earth.
It will take a miracle to bring it back if such a thing is even possible at this late date.The United States conducts much of its official business as a subsidiary of Multinational Polluters with zero morality. We are their merry little stooges, too, slurping up high-fructose corn syrup like it was mother’s milk and chasing the next new thing as if it were an actual barometer of self worth vice an Albatross. Meanwhile, the environment strains to support our various addictions to cheap, plastic stuff and the food we crave causes long, debilitating illnesses we can’t afford to treat.
Even a cursory look at the federal budget and the way those monies are spent via the appropriations process in the House shows our fucked-up priorities as a nation. Of course, you have to remove the blinders that insist whatever is good for corporations is good for the American people and we absolutely MUST spend more than every other country on Earth combined to “defend” ourselves from exponentially-weaker “enemies” on the other side of the planet.
It’s not all bad news, though. Power deferred can be leveraged at any time We The People decide to wake up. Now is a good time.
We’ve become more tolerant over the years as our population has diversified across racial and ethnic lines. If we start to focus on the many things we have in common rather than our lingering differences, transforming policy to be more reflective of the public need is certainly possible in a short period of time, one defined by the ticking clockwork of the primary elections that so few voters decide to attend and could be turned to our uses with relative ease.
We can start with the March 2014 midterms in Texas and finish up in Massachusetts in September. Or we can stay home and let the same self-satisfied sociopaths skate to certain victory in November’s general election without a single credible challenge. It doesn’t matter what party you favor, every primary has an authentic challenger that deserves to be heard if you bothered to listen and looked hard at your representative’s actual performance.
Progressive politics is a purely local effort if you’re doing it right.
You don’t need to be a geek to understand what is going on in your own Congressional district and who the candidates are in your party primary. Pick the one voice that makes the most common sense and then make sure they live up to their words once in office. Rinse and repeat every two years until things are better. No more free lunches for mediocre minds.
It really is that simple.