Tomorrow, the United States will hold its national election. As I've done ever since the first Tuesday in November 1937, I will place my vote in a ballot box. This year we've been given to understand we're unlikely to be advised of the official “winner” of the Presidency at least, until possibly next Spring, per Walter Cronkite's estimate!
Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that our entire election system is broken. And whereas we've been deluding ourselves into believing we are the greatest democracy in the world, the truth of the matter is that we have major flaws right within our famed constitution; that we have let the democracy that many of our great founders gave their lives to achieve, unknowingly slip between our fingers.
To my way of thinking, Ralph Nader has done more for our country than any other single citizen of my lifetime. But there is one contribution he has made that stands head and shoulders above everything else he has formerly done. By his two runs for the Presidency he has demonstrated, clearly and unequivocally that our two mainstream political parties have taken complete control of this nation on behalf of wealthy, greedy, fraudulent, powerful corporations who demand the maximization of their profits over the welfare of this country's, or the world's citizenry. And they will brook no interference from third parties. As a result, we have completely lost the ability to govern ourselves or have a role in selecting the kind of leader we want.
The corporations have hi-jacked our government, have engaged in preemptive wars and as a result, we are now the most hated and feared nation in the world. And we, its people will soon be shunned and reviled as well while our corporate selected and corporate controlled government continues its goal of conquering the world through its military and financial power. In its drive to do so it contemplates the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocents abroad while further endangering our military personnel and American citizenry.
How did we get to this point?
Let us look at our electoral process (everyone throughout the world is, so why shouldn't we?). We have finally developed an impenetrable two party oligarchy that is controlled entirely by money from gigantic corporations, many of which contribute to both parties. In the past they may have been willing to let the other “competing” party win an election; occasionally. No more.
This year the Republicans, even though they own, operate and possibly even control most of the electronic voting machines, many of them paperless and thus non-auditable or recount-able, when learning that the Democrats might significantly outnumber them in the places where it counts are actively suppressing the number of Democratic voters (easily discernible by their color or the fact they haven't voted before) using all sorts of threats and challenges.
Meanwhile the Democrats are similarly engaged in suppressing Independent voters by teams of attorneys (actually they're using Republican based law firms) blocking Independent ballot access in as many states as possible, not only in key states but even in states like Texas and California where such votes can make no immediate difference in this election or in the electoral college count.
Both such actions are of course completely illegal and tens of thousands of lawyers and paralegal personnel are scheduled to observe these events all around the country, all of which is guaranteed to produce an inconclusive, contested election. So this system is not only broken but completely undemocratic as well. And all of this is taking place here in the USA while we claim to be “trying to establish a democratic Iraq”, as our President so often claims! Duh.
And while the above defects relate specifically to the Presidential contest, consider that over the years our congressional districts have been so gerrymandered by the two parties that, according to Ralph Nader, as of 2,004, 95% of incumbents have no real challengers.
I know this is true of my congressman; there isn't a chance of a snowball in Hell in replacing him, or of his party's representing me in Congress, unless he dies or retires. So my vote, and that of 95% of Americans in this country no longer means a thing. We've been effectively muzzled and we've nowhere to go! And as far as my, or anyone's congressman is concerned, as long as he votes for the laws written by the lobbyists and their financial sponsors he will always have the funds to beat back any new opposition candidate.
In effect, as in virtually ever congressional district nationally, the voices of “constituents” have been replaced by the voices of financial sponsors who will give congressmen and congresswomen whatever they need to stay in office and thus continue their mutually profitable arrangements.
The result of all this is that the United States is now a full bodied plutocracy who's citizens are completely governed through corporations owned and controlled by a group of elite bankers and power brokers. Our ability to have a voice in our own government is thus suppressed through laws and practices, corporation lawyers have perfected during the past two centuries, most notable since 1886 when the Santa Clara R.R. case was used to illegally and improperly transfer 14th amendment rights of citizenship (obtained for Blacks) to corporations by means of a Supreme Court Decision. (No surprise there, they have supported wealth and power over people throughout their sordid history).
So while we have the opportunity to periodically vote on some matters, and even create legal initiatives, the counting of the votes for these has now been channeled to forces in collaboration with these powerful new rulers, the moneyed corporations.
So what is one to do this Tuesday?
I believe the answer for humans is clear. To begin with, there is no doubt that voters will attempt to vote against Bush in great numbers, which should give the presidency to Kerry but that victory will be stalled through legal challenges for months on end.
Starting with this election cycle, however, we must stand up and vote against any party supporting warfare as a means of settling disputes. That certainly includes the Democratic as well as Republican Party.
The Green Party, Nader's Independent Party, and the Libertarian Party are each committed to bringing the troops home and finding a peaceful means of returning sovereignty to the Iraqi people and a vote for any of them is a statement of opposition against the further murder of innocents as well as opposition to the two party monopoly over our political system which has destroyed what there was of our democracy.
But voting is not enough.
We must all join, and support in the most peaceable manner possible, even including civil disobedience, the movements calling for an end to, or modification of the electoral college system and the establishment of proportional representation within our Congress so that all views of citizens can be heard and acted upon.
Our goals must also include development of non-toxic, renewable energy means to power transportation, illumination and various necessary devices required to sustain life on earth, the adoption of a public health system covering all people living within our country and the world, elimination of the World Bank, the IMF and NAFTA-like treaties that create slave states of nations that need independence for survival of their inhabitants, a rejection of warfare as a means of settling disputes, except for the defense of our nation (as opposed to our national economic interests, as at presently conceived), the elimination of all nuclear munitions and devices, all of which pose at a minimum innumerable risks to human beings and possibly the end of human life on this planet.
We must also vociferously demand a return to the support of people throughout the world through the United Nations in a revised, more democratic format where the largest countries no longer dominate that international body politic - and the list goes on and on.
And of course we must investigate, in courts of justice as opposed to political whitewashing groups, the criminal acts that caused the World Trade Center Towers to be famously destroyed with the loss of almost 3,000 civilian lives which seems now to have uitilized our own military forces which then used the event to justify preemptive attacks on other, innocent nations.
Finally, we do know what is needed for human survival on this planet. We have just avoided doing something positive about it because of the opposition to date of our wealthy rulers who, through technology and military force in conjunction with the U.S. government, achieved the power to demand subservience from the poor and powerless of the world whom they have converted, in essence, to slaves, to supply their profitable consumer and military products.
To achieve a reversal of these conditions we need people of the caliber of Ralph Nader, or a Dennis Kucinich, within this country, along with others of such vision elsewhere in the world. Humans who are committed to a world citizenry, in control of actions that are in harmony with nature and our ecological partners occupying this ever shrinking, troubled globe.
But time is of the essence; we cannot wait 4 years, then another 4. Global warming is here now, ozone depletion is here now, we have reached peak oil now and drinking water is already insufficient for the world's present population which is still growing. Actions all over the world and within our country must be taken in the coming months to undo the corporate grip destroying us.
Ken Reiner is a Contributing Editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report
Please also see:
SANTA CLARA COUNTY v. SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY
'Corporism': The Systemic Disease that Destroys Civilization,
by Ken Reiner
Political Parties in the United States
By John F. Bibby
List of political parties in the United States
On eve of 2004 election: US faces unprecedented social conflict
Election Day Terror Drills
Cheney In Command? --by Michael Kane
U.S.: If This Election Is Stolen, Will It Be By Enough To Stop A Recount ?
asks Lynn Landes
National Day of Action, November 3, 2004
NOvember 2004: NO Way! NO How! NO More! Just NO!
NO MORE STOLEN ELECTIONS http://www.kwru.org/