Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm not going to bother.

I've decided to not vote this November. I had already decided to write-in my own name for the Presidency (maybe I could be part of a foot-note!) because the main choices are at least as bad as the fringe choices. And the election between my local Congressman and his opponent has become a “Who’s the biggest scumbag?” contest. So I wouldn’t vote in that race either.

But I have finally decided to skip the whole damned thing because of a combination of three factors. First, under the best of circumstances my vote would only equal that of a crack addict who sold their vote for a rock. Second, under the worst circumstances my vote would only count for some fraction of that person's vote, given that some people have registered as many as seventy-two (72!) times. Honesty pays only at a discount.

But the third reason dwarfs these two factors. We have two political parties in this country that have monopolized the political process. These parties have made it impossible for any other party to challenge for real power. And worst of all, each party only cares about its own power, not the health of the nation.

Consider the current financial crisis. Several of the root causes have become clear: government forcing banks and other lenders to make high risk loans; government guaranteeing those loans (those who object to the bailout don't seem to realize that their elected officials had essentially promised such a bailout if necessary); noxious accounting rules forced on private enterprise by Sarbanes-Oxley; no oversight of GSEs; and cheap money with nowhere else to go but real estate. Most of these ideas come from the Democratic Party. In a rational world the Democrats would NOT get rewarded for this colossal fuck-up. But in THIS world they will reap great rewards - a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, a larger majority in the House, and the Presidency –so as to do more of the same! This is insane behavior.

But it's worse than that, because even though the worst of the ideas have come from the Democratic Party, the Republican Party has mostly agreed with these ideas once implemented. Yes, some Republicans have objected to some of the root causes from time to time, but most went along to get along. As we can see from the size of the current crisis, Republicans should have been shouting from the crow’s-nest, “This way be dragons - change course now!” They didn't, and consequently they have lost all credibility.

But the Democrats also should have lost all credibility, and they haven't. In a rational system of government a credible third party would be forming right now, and perhaps even a credible fourth party. Due to the structure of our political system it would be too late for them to take control of any branch of government this election, but at the very least a few should get elected - perhaps even enough to deny either party a clear majority. And by 2010 one or both of the major parties should be all but dead at the ballot box. That isn't happening, and it won't happen. The system has failed - and like Humpty Dumpty, it can never be restored.

Therefore I have no compelling reason to vote. Q.E.D.

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