“There is a difference between an inconsequential left and a consequential right, the difference is they both do the same things, but one says they don't.” Subcomandante Marcos
There is simply no way for democracy to adequately function within the capitalist system. For that matter, we cannot consider our federal system a democracy... perhaps it's a republic, corportacracy, state capitalism? It's certainly not a functional democracy. For this reason, I can only conclude that to participate in the presidential elections is to uphold a corrupt system and makes us complicit in its crimes.
Bought and sold by big money, Clinton and Obama (like Republicans) are in no way beholden to those they pretend to represent. They have prostituted themselves to those that are truly running and "electing" our leaders! Are they different then the Republicans? Sure, they do the bidding of big business in sheep's clothing, making their airs of benevolence that much more hateful!
It is often purported that Hillary is left of Obama. This is flatly false. She is and has always been the candidate of big business: a reality that puts Hillary in a position directly in conflict with the struggles of the poor, unions, social, environmental and economic justice. She was featured on the front page of Fortune magazine as the best candidate for big business, for god's sake! As the article points out she has been allowed to get away with--and I have heard many reminiscing with her--saying that the 90's were better. But it was the 90's in which all of the vicious free trade deals that crushed unions, the working class and the poor of the earth were devised, "negotiated," and signed! By supporting the business agenda she is also promising to accelerate environmental destruction of our planet. The poisonous elixir of free trade agreements that reduce environmental standards which allow corporations to further pollute our planet and her stated rejection of the Kyoto Protocol is the recipe she has in store for our world. She is also the candidate that repeatedly voted for the Iraq War and is muscling up to be tough on terror and national security. She is morally reprehensible and should not be thought of as someone above the fray of prostitution "democracy." She like all other candidates is opportunistic, power hungry and vetted beyond human recognition.
It is utterly insulting to hear Hillary Clinton use the slogan "Sí se puede" which she has shamelessly co-opted. This slogan is meant to overthrow tyrants, not to be used by them!
When discussing the issue of whether or not to participate in our elections, the issue of welfare, social security, funding for education, etc. is an often repeated concern. Well, the Republic of Lakotah pointed out that despite the generosity of the U.S. government for the past 155 years in the form of welfare and food stamps, they have the lowest life expectancy for males of any nation in the world (44 years)! They have an unemployment rate of 85%. An amazing 97% of Lakotah people live below the federal poverty level! And the suicide rate is 150% of the national average! Wisely--I think--they decided to go at it alone. I have no idea what their plan is. Frankly, it's not my business. But I can honestly say that they couldn't be much worse off no matter where in the world they were living, so why not try a new direction? In relation to voting, what has it gotten any American Indian? What has voting achieved for any of us? Real change has never come from voting, if it did, they'd outlaw it!
Please bear in mind that the TV/Toothpaste Elections intend to make us feel as though any of these candidates actually cares. They smile at us and make us feel reassured that someone is going to stick up for us. Someone is going to calm things down, "get us out of the war" (remember this recent promise?), unite the "divide" in this country, etc., etc. But it is the PR industry that elects our leaders, and "super delegates," not us!
By the way, is the country actually divided? No. The country is not nearly as divided as we've been led to believe. Confused? Yes. In the abstract we are divided, but placed within context our country is far less divided. A recent NY Times/CBS poll showed that 64% of Americans would willingly pay $500 more per year in taxes in order to have universal healthcare! Americans want out of the war…immediately! Americans overwhelmingly believe CEO's make an unfair, bloated salary and believe money should be more fairly distributed. The majority of Americans believe we should be signed onto the Kyoto Protocol. And on and on and on. So why is there such a huge disconnect between public policy and public opinion?
To me the answer is simple: we continue to allow our system to shill false hope that anything of significance will come from federal elections and so each time we vote we further legitimize our system, and so are complicit in the drawing out of global misery. We also demonstrate a measure of contempt for democracy by knowingly participating in this sham. Just think what it would be like if Americans were appropriately aware of this sham and through a rapid decrease in participation gave a vote of no confidence to our federal system. If we coupled abstention from voting with education and organization, we could build a resistance to mental colonization and prepare ourselves for how we are going to have to provide for ourselves. Couldn't this lead to democratic changes? Possibly an end to the two-party dictatorship? Or Instant Run-off Voting? Or campaign finance reform? Or more?
If our concern is democracy than we should protect it, fight for it and stand up for it by creating it on our own in the workplace, and local communities! No to federal elections!