Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Mystery Solved!

Most of us, I'm sure, are perpetually asking ourselves just what the problem is with America these days. That question has now been answered. The problem is me, and maybe a few others who just aren't well-adjusted.

Those few "others" seem to include this guy, with whom I disagree on some of the particulars -- I'm not a Commie, and he is, I think. But, as I've remarked from time to time, class analysis is a powerful tool for understanding what we see going on around us. (Via Mr. Oxtrot.)
When the political tricksters fail and the voting public actually gets a little bit upset, it is time to send in the clowns, and so most recently a couple of late-night TV comedians have joined the fray, holding a massive rally to “restore sanity.” This new sanity is epitomized by the following family portrait: daddy is a “Conservative Republican” mommy is an “Obama Liberal,” the son is a “Libertarian,” the daughter is a “Green,” and the dog (the only one of them who is sane) is trying to run away. Meet the Losers: they are the ones who have no idea what class their family is in, or what their class interest is, and as far as their chances of making successful use of democratic politics to collectively defend and advance their class interest, well... they are the Losers—that says it all, doesn't it? All that blood spilled in the name of liberty and democracy, and to show for it we have a country of insane Losers and the odd sane stray dog, free to a good home.

But it is all a waste of time: the Losers may vote or not vote, they may flap their gums at the breakfast table or twinkle their toes up and down the street holding signs, where they may take part in peaceful protest or get teargassed and shot with rubber bullets—the result will be exactly the same.
Wow -- I guess I shoulda voted! Because, as we all know, voting changes things.


Anonymous said...

Along the same lines, here's my last tweet:

Quote of the Day: "If elections really changed things they would be illegal." -- Emma Goldman

I fear the tea partiers and self-described conservatives are going to be in for a big let-down ... again.

Jim Wetzel said...

Ain't it the truth!

Institutionally speaking, the two-caucus War Party is never, ever, ever going to allow itself to be voted out of power. And the so-called Tea Party ... well, I remember the first Tea Party "events" or rallies that they held around here. There were some highly familiar local names involved. A Republican by any other name ... smells exactly as bad as a Democrat.

Phil Marx said...


If there were a “None of the Above” option for each office, would you vote then?

Jim Wetzel said...


Probably not ... but in order to answer definitely, I'd need to know what the consequences of a "none of the above" electoral win would be. Different candidates and start over? Abolish the office in question? Execute the defeated candidates? Somewhere along this path lies something pretty attractive, I think.

Anonymous said...

Then you, my friend, need to move to Nevada where you can already vote for "none of the above", according to JD Tuccille. Might be worth a little digging to see what they do when NOTA wins.

Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Jim, like you I dug the Orlov piece. You might think I'm being fussy, but I'd think a "no confidence" option would be more useful than 'none of the above'.

Phil Marx said...

Jim, here’s my thoughts on the matter:

Suppose that “None of the Above” won for Sheriff, and as a result there was no Sheriff for the next four years. There really wouldn’t be “No Sheriff” though. What would happen is that countless individuals would begin to assert their authority. And since there would be no real Sheriff to put them down, you would have to either challenge them yourself or submit to their will. Abolishing the office wouldn’t work, unless you want total anarchy.

My “No vote” option would be purely symbolic, but it would be a way to differentiate those who don’t vote because they truly don’t care, and those who don’t vote because they think the system is completely broken.

For an analogy, imagine that you own a Burger King restaurant that is right across the street from a McDonalds. If you see a lot more people going into McDonalds than your store, than you know you have to compete better with them. This mimics the Rep/Dem political dichotomy we have today. They’re both very competitive on prices, and they both offer very low quality food.

Now, what about all those people who drive past without stopping at either restaurant? Are they getting their beef at the steakhouse or the grocery? Or maybe they’re vegetarians who won’t eat at your restaurant no matter how low your prices are. These are the independents and non-voters.

Imagine a guy comes in, spends a lot of time looking at your menu, then walks out without ordering. Then, he walks across the street and does the same thing at Burger King. This person was obviously ready to eat or he wouldn’t have walked in. And yet he left without ordering.

I believe that the lack of real competition in our political system today exists because a majority of the politicians believe that a majority of the populace just doesn’t care what happens. What I want is the chance to tell the politicians that I am hungry, and I’m ready to order, but I think they all have crappy menus.

Jim Wetzel said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not sure which of your categories to put myself in as a nonvoter; I don't really think the system is "broken" so much as I'm skeptical about the basic mission of the system. I'm inclined to think that the system works pretty well; I just hate what it's doing.

And, if the alternative is having a sheriff who "puts them down," I think I'd probably be inclined toward "total anarchy." But that's because I don't see every form of voluntary cooperation between people as a form of government. I don't think we face just two alternatives (one of which is 1984, more or less, and the other a bad Sam Pekinpah movie).

Again, I appreciate your thoughtful replies in this thread. I should've responded sooner, but I was devoting my scarce online time this week to drafting a case for nonvoting.