One of the big polling companies has discovered that 42% of Americans – the most since Gallup began galloping – identify themselves politically as independent, rejecting the labels of both of the so-called major political parties. Conclusion?
Americans are increasingly declaring independence from the political parties. It is not uncommon for the percentage of independents to rise in a non-election year, as 2013 was. Still, the general trend in recent years, including the 2012 election year, has been toward greater percentages of Americans identifying with neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party, although most still admit to leaning toward one of the parties.
The rise in political independence is likely an outgrowth of Americans’ record or near-record negative views of the two major U.S. parties, of Congress, and their low level of trust in government more generally.
Unfortunately for this nation and its residents, the political system is rigged against any third party achieving parity with the two cash cows that control the process. Ask your local county elections officials how decisions are made on the scheduling and staffing of elections and the location of polling places, for instance.
Thus, all the power and all the elite corporate money lies with the folks who helped bring about and then maintain the Great Recession, the Endless War on Terror Everywhere, and the Endless Surveillance State as the new normal.
Thus will the power and elite corporate money be brought to bear to see to it that the voting peasantry’s only presidential choice will be between establishment candidates such as Chris Christie or Hillary Clinton, bringing you two different flavors of More Of The Same.
Thus, with the help of a key Supreme Court opinion, has a small minority been enabled to buy political control of a country that once prided itself on its constitutional freedoms and representative form of government.
So what do I think? I think the United States has become an oligarchy, and the window of opportunity for a fight to restore majority rule probably has closed. Writing your congressional representative? Petitions? Buying counter-lobbyists? Protest marches? Too little, and much too late. Worst of all, I think most people still aren’t aware or don’t understand the extent to which their vote has been co-opted. The revolution was not televised, because the secret court banned the cameras.
Yet I am not peddling despair today. What would be the point? When the Roman empire crumbled, its people still had lives to lead. The modern American challenge, I think, is to recognize reality, adjust to it and find a way to be at peace with the results.
Expect (and accept) that your written words, digital deeds and financial transactions will be community property, and write, act and spend accordingly. Expect (and accept) that the economy will be steered in a direction that requires you to pay more for less. When government policies and decrees cause you harm, adjust your lifestyle in a way that reduces the necessity for interacting with government entities and agents. When war and the military-industrial complex demand too much income tax, reduce your need for income. When the cost of goods and services exceeds the benefits they provide, substitute goods and services you create or produce yourself, or barter with your neighbors.
If, as a result of all the above, you find yourself stuck out on a farm scratching out a living in the middle of nowhere, then sit down at the picnic table, take a deep breath, look up in the sky – and thank your lucky stars you aren’t living in Rome anymore.