Posts Tagged ‘Party’

This post has been long in the making: it has resided in my brain since the time I started this blog and it has certainly made itself apparent throughout this part of history that will surely become known as the Great Manic Depression (you heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen). This will be the last post, officially, of the 59 Second Minute in its current, utter useless form, but it will also begin an era of new, more fresh, political commentary by me, as well as another project that will ultimately end up taking more of my time and is totally different from anything I’ve done here in my blogspace in the cybersphere. This post carries a message of imperative importance to everyone who considers themselves politically informed, or is involved in any way in the politics of the United States.

The message is this: both the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same, wretched coin. Together, they compose an entity that is against the liberty of all American citizens. There is not a party that is for freedom – no mistake about that.

Consider that most people dislike the Republicans for their over-reliance on evangelicals; for their restrictions on the decisions of women via their “pro-life” stance; and for their traditionally anti-gay views. This is infringing upon peoples’ social liberty because it restricts their freedom based on sexuality, gender, or, in some religious extremists’ cases, religion.

Consider that some people dislike the Democrats for trying to increase taxes and increase the role of government in all sectors of life, especially now in the economy. This is infringing upon people’s economic liberty because they seek to restrict the way that people trade goods and conduct their business. Having freedom of any kind naturally carries risk – the risk of failure. The government, in essence, seeks to remove the risk of failure by taking over the banks, etc., etc.

When you put these parties together (have a compromise between the two), what do you get? General authoritarianism, where the government dictates what you do, both socially and economically. Is this the type of system the “land of the free” deserves? NO!

I’d argue, that since the founding of this country, political thought has become increasingly homogenized, especially in the past 60 years, due to the two-party system. Again, ask, “What makes two people in the Democratic party any different from one another?” Not much; and I’d wager that that fact is a cause (or is it an effect?) of the lack of diversity in political thought from our people, and, thusly, the representatives they elect. And if there is no diversity in political thought (along party lines, of course: Republicans vote Republican and Democrats vote Democratic), then, one can argue that no one’s really thinking at all. Think about it: if your political views mesh with the typical Democratic robot, then you don’t have to think, for they think for you! You hear them talk, you nod in agreement, and life goes on. Then you hear a left-leaning journalist spit fire at the Republicans, you, again, nod in agreement (for Republicans are The Enemy), and life goes on. Whenever you talk politics, you just vomit back what you heard on TV or read in the newspaper, and life goes on, without any analyzation of your beliefs.

This type of system benefits nobody but the ruling class. We’ve become programmed like Pavlov’s dogs: the majority of the populace has been conditioned to think highly of a person that has that capitalized “D” next to the state they represent when they’re interviewed on the major news networks (note: substitute “D” for “R” when appropriate). And when the “R” shows up – well, he’s just another Bush and shouldn’t be listened to.

(As a side note: when there is infighting among parties – witness the fears of Hillary “ripping apart” the Democratic Party during the Conventions last year- people hope they all “get along” and keep going with the party line. Back then, I said I hoped she would concede to Obama but now I realize there was no correct choice, and I imagine that it would’ve been preferable for the party to be torn apart if Hillary pulled a stunt during the Conventions. My reason? I don’t want parties)

Is this the kind of divisiveness we need in our country?

As I said before, if we all think along the party line(s), who do we elect? The same people, or, at the very least, people who follow the party line(s) – the sad thing being that there is no tangible difference between the two options. And so, we elect the same people, and they continue to get nothing done or they decide to do the worse alternative: make bad laws.

We wonder why the country is going downhill, and then you look at Congress’s approval rating, which has hovered around 30% for what seems to be time immemorial. If we really dislike who is in Congress that much wouldn’t it make sense to vote them out of office by replacing them with someone more competent and has a political ideology that would better represent us?

But, the problem is, we’re given two choices in most races, and are forced to pick one of the two party lines that fits ours the best. And, most often, we elect people of the same party – people who closely share political ideologies… Who are likely going to repeat the failings of their predecessor. So we vote in what seems to be a revolving door of people who follow a certain party line, but, somehow, 70% of us more or less disapprove of Congress as a whole.

The issue lies in the homogeneity of the parties and of the populace. It has become evident that the two-party system is worthless and is destroying the quality and quantity of political thought in this country. It gives no choice to those who disagree with the dominant parties and force their hand into voting for the lesser of two evils. I say that we abolish the party system and vote for people based on the quality of their thought and their policies, not the name of the party they’re a part of. I say we stop casting our votes for both parties, since they are against our liberty. I say we open our minds and encourage those with alternative viewpoints and vote for them instead. I say we pick up a book on political theory or economics instead of turning on our televisions.

And, if you don’t believe me, I think you’ll take George Washington’s word that the party system does not work. From his farewell address in 1796:

They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion…

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally…

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

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After finally reading Orwell’s much celebrated dystopian story 1984, I put some pieces together and determined that Orwell’s version of the future was similar to ours in many aspects — which is ironic considering the Party shown in 1984 was communist and the Bush administration is anything but.

In 1984 (a take on the horrors of Stalinist Russia), the Party controls everything, especially the people who are in the party (everyone who is not a “prole”, or worker, is part of the Party). There are telescreens, or two way televisions, in every home, used to spy on the people. The leader, Big Brother, is made out to be a loving, God like figure, when really, he runs a police state. A man by the name of Goldstein is blamed for everything that goes wrong in Oceania (the country the story is set in), and is reportedly heading a conspiracy with the aim of bringing down the Party. The protagonist, Winston, a member of the party, has a job in which he edits historical documents and photgraphs so they meet the demands of the Party. The main practice to keep the Party in power is doublethink, or holding two contrary positions and accepting both as the truth. And, lastly, in 1984, there is what seems to be a never-ending war against a constantly changing opponent, in order to keep people producing goods to be used in said war. Sound familiar?

Here’s a comparison between the Party and our administration:

…the Party controls everything: The Bush administration, without doubt. When you’ve got cronies like Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzalez hiring and dismissing people just because they weren’t republicans, you know that a Party’s got a grip on internal affairs, crushing outside voices. It’s well known that almost everyone in a position of power in the Bush administration is a devout neoconservative.

There are telescreens used to spy on the people: Well, we don’t have telescreens, but CCTV use in Britain is growing wildly popular, though, admittedly, the cameras don’t catch criminals nearly as effectively as the telescreens did in 1984. CCTV use is, however, a small but important step towards telescreen-like surveillance.

Big Brother: Admittedly, we don’t have an equivalent to Big Brother, in fact it’s startlingly the opposite of that kind of love because Bush is the most hated president since Nixon.

Goldstein blamed for everything: Osama Bin Laden is the definitive scapegoat for this administration, and by linking him with 9/11, he was the administration’s excuse to invade Afghanistan and take away our rights using the Patriot Act and illegal wiretapping by the NSA. Now, unlike Goldstein, Bin Laden’s ideals are somehow worse than the acts perpetuated by this administration.

Winston edits historical documents to serve the party line: How about the Bin Laden “confession tape” or the Habbush letter exposed in Ron Suskind’s book? This administration has been willing to fabricate documents or tapes (in this case) in order to start a war with the ever changing enemy. When we couldn’t find a good reason to invade Afghanistan, it was convenient that Bin Laden was there and an all too convenient coincidence that troops found the confession tape soon after we invaded. We couldn’t find WMDs in Iraq, so we fabricated a letter to say that there were weapons. We have tried to rewrite the past in an effort to control the future just like the Party in Orwell’s book.

Use of Doublethink, or holding two contradictory ideas as truth: This one is the most prevalent and scary out of the similarities. John McCain practiced doublethink when he said, “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations,” when he has repeated many times that he wants to invade Iran. Our president is guilty of doublethink as well: this week he said, “I don’t see America as having problems.” Oh really, Dubya? Let’s look at your State of the Union address from 2006…

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security — (applause) — yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away. (Applause.) And every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

So, Mr. Bush, I assume that when you say America doesn’t have problems, you mean we’re not addicted to oil anymore and you’ve fixed social security right? There are other examples of doublethink as well: our National Security Agency violates the security of the American people, our Department of Defense attacks other nations, and the Department of Justice has had its fair share of corrupt officials (see lawyer firing scandal). This is not unlike 1984 in which the Ministry of Love tortures and kills, the Ministry of Peace fights wars, and the Ministry of Truth lies.

A never-ending war against a constantly changing opponent: This is the war on terror. In 1984, Oceania is always at war with one of two countries, Eurasia or Eastasia, and that constantly changes. Whoever Oceania is currently at war with, however, has always been the enemy according to the party, though they change who it is on a weekly basis. First, with our government, we thought the enemy was Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Then we invaded Afghanistan and switched our focus to getting rid of the oppressive Taliban regime. Once that was done, we pinned Iraq as the enemy, saying Saddam Hussein was ready to use his non-existent WMD’s on us. After toppling Hussein’s government, it occurred to us that there would be an insurgency, and Al Qaeda in Iraq joined the party. Well, now that we’ve lowered the violence in Iraq, the administration has painted Iran as the enemy, saying things like Ahmadinejad said that he would, “wipe Israel off the map.” NOT TRUE. And, in light of last week’s events, Russia’s being painted by the media as “big, bad Leroy Brown” again.

But, you ask, why make all the 1984 links? Why did the Party in 1984 do it?

The thing is that nobody knows, and we’re lucky that we can vote somebody different into office that won’t be as horrid as the Administration. However, O’Brien, a government agent in 1984, says power is not a means, but an end. So, are we just ruled by a bunch of power mongers?

EDIT: Turns out we are — except we, the people, in our fear of another attack, have given up our rights to people who’d exploit them in the name of security. Thus, part of the responsibility is laid on the people who kept Bush in office — the people who supported him. This doesn’t justify the Administration’s actions, but we forget we voted him in twice at times.

Check for the conclusion of the series: Part 5 – The Future tomorrow. Remember to bookmark on delicious, stumble, and digg this post using the buttons below.
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