So, earlier this week, I went to the polling place with my California mail in ballot already filled out and tucked into the envelope. Our Jewish friends in the local community were kind enough to host the polling station at their temple – so now I can, without lying, state that I have been in a temple, though not for services. That’s always a possibility as well, though.
I hand delivered it, together with my wife’s ballot, who (please don’t share this with anyone) considered it one of my chores, to fill it out for her. She could later discover I had her voting for the Green Party and would scarcely bat an eye.
I’ve been ruminating, fulminating, contemplating and engaging myself in an inner debate since Tuesday. I mention the expression “fool’s errand” in the title of this piece. Academics would sand the edges off that and dub it an “exercise in futility”.
As cynical as I am about voting, my wife is even more so – which is saying a great deal. Here’s the distinction though. Her cynicism and accompanying fatalism, leads to apathy – which is more rational than my Groundhog Day approach.
I consider voting – at this point, a silly, stupid habit, that if I discovered was carcinogenic – I would drop it faster than a nicotine addiction. So then why do I do it? Like I said, habit for one. Well, that’s really about it.
In fact, if you were to say to me, “Tell me why I should go to the trouble of filling out a ballot?”, I would not have anything rational to convincingly offer you. You can give yourself a pep talk about civic participation and all of that – and that’s all fine and good. But don’t harbor any illusions about your vote having any impact on how government operates at this date and time – I don’t.
And you people who buy into the fantasy that you are gaining an advantage by attempting to divine the “lesser of two evils” and then voting for it? Pardon me while I laugh a jag until I reflect on how deceived you are.
One of the best lines ever about the effect of the definition of insanity, is from a great, but unfortunately lesser known comic by the name of Jackie “Moms” Mabley – a woman who, nevertheless, was enormously influential to a score of comedians whose names you would instantly recognize. Anyway, “Moms” once sagely said,
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
Now – I could conjure up a lame excuse that my choices on the ballot are a sort of protest vote. But what kind of impact would a protest vote have on the ruling elite? How many words are their for none at all? Zilch, Nix, Nada, Zip, Diddly-squat, fill in the blank _____________. At best, it gives them a data sub-set of how many and what kind of recalcitrants, malcontents and hooligans exist among the electorate. My name is on that list now.
Tell me I don’t have to explain why your vote and my vote, mean essentially Bupkis. No? I do have to explain it? You’re kidding me, right? No, you’re not. OK, we’ll go through it, but I’m not going to get into the weeds, or, ahem, the swamp on this. We’ll just skim the surface of that murky lagoon.
Number one, lest you are under some sort of illusion, the “elected representatives” don’t take orders from you. You don’t provide the content of their “to-do” lists. Their list of assignments come from the various industrial complexes, corporate socialists and billionaire donors. That is why it is foolish to get into any heated discussions about “the Republicans this” and “the Democrats that” – and liberals and conservatives and whatever else in the way of smokescreens that flood your mailbox and mine, come election time.
You do realize of course, who is paying for those ugly political mailers, do you not? It’s not anyone you know, or anyone like anyone you know. No – the money comes from what George Carlin accurately dubbed, “the Owners”. Well, since I’ve brought that up, I might as well at least give you a snippet of that disquisition that was too frightening (and all too real) to be called a ‘comic bit’:
“The real owners the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, the politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice, you don’t, you have no choice. You have owners, they own you, they own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations, they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They’ve got you by the balls.
They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want, they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want, they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking, they’re not interested in that, that doesn’t help them, that’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting f–cked by a system that threw them overboard 30 f-cking years ago, they don’t want that.”
I would have simply posted the video of that epic, cold slap in the face to naiveté, but at risk of aggrieving certain tender sensibilities, I opted not to. But if you are brave enough to look past Mr. Carlin’s indelicate, Old Saxon straight talk, here it is, in all of its un-redacted glory.
The other related aspect of the rigged system – the real rigged system, not the nonsense of Trump’s hyperventilated tweets late in the election cycle in 2016 – is how both wings of the national political crime syndicate, carve up their territories (voting districts) via the medium and method of Gerrymandering.
Gerrymandering, which you can review the current battle over here, is synchronous with the corruption of big money in our elections.
The hand that cranks the influence money, sets in motion the perpetual and uninterrupted cycle of contriving state legislative districts and congressional districts to favor one party over another – and if need be, favors both against the threat of nascent third parties – although, that, less often. The citizens / taxpayers and their property are the spoils to be won in this process.
Take for example, the windfall created by the “tax reform” bill passed by the GOP in the House and Senate and signed by Donald Trump. Now that the mid-term propaganda blitz is in full velocity, the Republicans will trot out this “win” for the American people. What will be conveniently left out of that fable, will be that the corporate tax breaks and those carve outs for the investment class will be permanent under the law, but the individual tax cuts, have an expiration date.
Pretty nice slight of hand trick, courtesy of a cabal of wealthy donors organized by the Koch brothers, who collectively ponied up no less than $20 million to grease the skids of the legislation with members of Congress. They have announced intentions of bundling another $400 million to be spent in attempting to convince mid-term voters that the bill was something more than a cleverly staged looting operation.
This is very touching, don’t you think?
Why do they need to spend the extra money in ‘educating’ the voters on the virtues of tax holidays for the likes of heirs of the Walmart fortune and those in the same rarified atmosphere? Because, according to Open Secrets.org, they haven’t sealed the deal yet with American voters:
According to the results of a Pew Research survey released earlier this year, just 37 percent of Americans approve of the tax bill compared to 46 percent who disapprove. It also found that 29 percent of adults believe the overhaul will have “mostly positive” effects on themselves and their families in the coming years compared to 27 percent who anticipate “mostly negative” effects.
The electoral landscape obviously is not something that tends its own self without careful and constant cultivation. Were that not the case, why would it be necessary to constantly prime the pump with seed money for mass propaganda in order to keep the voter in line?
Some people describe voters as sheep. It’s not altogether an improper trope, but actually, I think a cattle herd being driven up the trail to the railroad to be slaughtered after the election is more apropos. Where the campaigns and elections play into this process, is the cattle drive, which is actually what the election is.
The object of all the illusions, three card monte games and the trappings of election theater, is to calm the cattle (voters) down to sleep, because they are subject to occasionally getting spooked. If they are spooked they stampede, and as the famous trail cowboy and point man, Edward C. “Teddy Blue” Abbott used to say in range rider parlance, they are “scattered to hell and gone”.
You don’t want that.
So back to me with my “eyes wide open” bad habit that I could afford to drop along with about 40 extra pounds. I know nothing is going to change until the big money is neutered. I went through the motions today and I’ll do it again, but don’t ask me for a rational explanation. There isn’t one. You know it, I know it and the American people know it.
Well, some of us do, anyway.