Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Unless we get beyond the range of Romney/Ryan vs. Obama/Biden media “news” coverage, we’ll likely miss a lot of very interesting conversations. These are conversations about the kind of stuff the Duopoly prefers we not hear, and for the most part, if relying on mainstream media, we won’t.
One contribution to the things good little voters don’t consider conversation comes from Kevin Gosztola and The Dissenter, at Firedoglake.
In the Throes of Election Madness
The Occupy movement that sprouted close to a year ago was symptomatic of a government that is increasingly regarded as illegitimate by its citizens. The movement did not appear simply because of economic inequality and injustice. It appeared because there is great political injustice perpetuated by a system, a winner-take-all political system that plays a significant role in the loss of equality, justice and liberty in the country.
Gosztola talks about the “people’s ability to influence power” having been
… neutralized by corporate and special interest money … by bureaucracies whose existence in government is more important than the damage they do to liberty and justice in society … by two parties that give Americans the illusion of choice … .
An increasing number of people favor an alternative to the two parties. A recent Suffolk University poll conducted in cooperation with the USA Today found fifty-three percent of ‘unlikely voters said a ‘third party or multiple parties are necessary.’
About that Suffolk Un. / USA Today poll, Susan Page writes Why 90 million Americans won’t vote in November, including:
Even in 2008, when turnout was the highest in any presidential election since 1960, almost 80 million eligible citizens didn’t vote. Curtis Gans, director of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate, predicts that number will rise significantly this year. He says turnout could ebb to levels similar to 2000, when only 54.2% of those eligible to vote cast a ballot. That was up a bit from 1996, which had the lowest turnout since 1924.
Back to Gosztola, who is talking bigger picture yet, though what he says certainly plays a role in why so many people are among the non-voters. He writes about what usually isn’t discussed by candidates, or covered by the “news.”
Typically off-limits in discussions are Wall Street fraud, widespread government surveillance, war crimes, state secrets privilege, indefinite detention, the PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo Bay prison, significantly reducing fossil fuel consumption, the military industrial-complex, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, ‘free’ trade agreements, restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, single-payer healthcare, capital punishment, the Israeli-Palestinian issue, empire-building, etc.
The news media aid and abet the two parties by ensuring taboo topics are not addressed in coverage of the election or debates. Lawrence O’Donnell, who is now the host of the MSNBC show, ‘The Last Word,’ has said, ‘News media tries to suppress the third party vote and the fourth party vote and the fifth party vote. Media actively want you voting only for the two parties.’
Gosztola writes, “The Dissenter is going to consciously violate this accepted rule. There are third party candidates running for president who deserve to be covered.” He has interviews with “two third-party presidential candidates,” and provides the first, with Justice Party presidential candidate Rocky Anderson. See a transcript here.
From the interview, and directly related to my focus on the power of the Duopoly, Anderson says:
… It’s not so much about winning this presidential election as it is taking this opportunity to raise awareness, organize people and mobilize in a broad-based fashion as many people as we can across the country so that we can create a people’s movement for major changes … .
What Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are doing is absolutely counter to … the interests of the American people, and yet the mainstream media spends ninety-nine percent of the time covering them instead of considering what it is that we third-party and independent candidates have to say. And, again this isn’t all about who is going to win and who is going to lose in an election. It’s about having a public dialogue and getting information or viewpoints out that can help lead to change in the long-run. …
… there can be significant positive changes brought about by third party and independent races but when mainstream media is only covering two sides of what I think is the same coin of a rotten plutocracy that betrays the public interest daily, it’s going to be very difficult.
Voters have the choice and the responsibility for their vote, including whether or not to use it. But The Duopoly System, which includes the media who are paid to “report” on them, and the Oligarchy who sit at the top, have responsibility for doing their best to keep voter options under The Duopoly System control. And their best is an extraordinarily well funded and well entrenched system and process. They use the two parties to divide voters, spend lavishly for an every four year Marketing of the Two Brands entertainment extravaganza, oversee elections within a system that guarantees that with few exceptions, and never at the top, does any but one of the two corporate approved candidates win. And all the while, they try to sell us the line that this is the World’s Bestest Democracy ever!
Cheers to Gosztola and everyone else who keeps the non-Duopoly approved conversations going. Cheers to Occupy and other movement activists who keep on working, even when, especially when media pronounces them dead and gone even before our short-attention span public has turned to retweeting the latest trending story of the hour. Or maybe it’s half-hour. And cheers to all the “third” parties, their candidates, advocates and voters.
(ReElect Oligarchy sign via If Still Voting Democratic Republican FB photos).