Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Fond Farewell to the 2 Party System

Well, how about just a quick "see you later?"
A quick burial at sea should fill the bill.
You know -- it's just like saying "good bye" to the polio virus...

When it comes around to "admiring" the 2 party system, even the well weathered MeanMesa has to admit a bit of gastric disorder. Anyone this old has already seen plenty of absolutely toxic 2 party politics in all these years, but this latest plunge to the "dark side" leaves even these old bones in a state of, well, toxic shock.

First, we should clear up an important point.

This post is not about the specific outrages of the Clinton - Sanders primary sparring match. Further, this post has very little to say about the Murdoch-Trump phenomenon. This post is about the whole thing, that is, about the most fundamental questions: 

Why do we still have a two party system?
Why we are still conducting elections as if it were 1802?

These are definitely questions which merit the "attention of our moment." This tattered relic of America's past is poised to do some shocking, permanent damage -- even more than it has caused so far.

We've seen plenty of evidence that this day was coming. Following our historical, American "habit" of stubbornly ignoring everything that can possibly be ignored for as long as it can possibly be ignored, we citizens have clearly missed the boat on this one. In the frigidly cold view of hindsight, we now realize that we have indulgently stuck ourselves in a black hole where technology doesn't exist and where no political problem can possibly ever differ even to the slightest degree from something we have already handled a century ago.

John Paul Jones wearing the
...uh...latest style? 
Both of these fantasies are revealing their existential danger to us now. Facing this squarely, we can either don our old wool tricorner hats and go down with the ship, or we can finally grow up enough to acknowledge that what we've been doing is killing our Republic. Further, what has been inflicted on the democracy stretches much farther afield than the commission of election felonies in primaries or red state gimmicks to suppress votes regionally.

When MeanMesa refers to "growing up," the idea is a big one -- a very big one. In fact the scale of the required changes to our fundamentals of governance is, most likely, of such a massive scope that we will simply never be able to accomplish it. MeanMesa suspects that, given the shockingly low "being qualities" presently manifested in our largely illiterate population, we will not even be capable of beginning such a project. Future history will draw the conclusion as to whether or not this particular weakness of spirit was the primary cause of the ignoble end of the United States.

All this dark narrative would simply be depressing and pointless if MeanMesa failed to suggest some remedy for our national peril. We clearly need a few good ideas.

We HAVE To Do It This Way Because
We Have A Two Party System, Right?
I mean, everyone KNOWS that, right?
Golly. There is not a single example anywhere of anyone doing it any other way, right?

The two party system offered a solution to the universally perpetual mistrust Americans have had since the days of the autocratic Monarch before the Revolutionary War. Reflecting on the rhetoric being mouthed even now, centuries later, in the current campaign, it's clear that the "trust no one" idea remains a "real vote getter."

While superficial observers might write this off as merely evidence of simply a pervasive fear that some one or some group might be conspiring to harm them, MeanMesa takes an even more cynical view. This distrust is the predictable product of humiliation avoidance. More than fearing the prospect of actually being harmed by these embellished villains, codependent Americans' greater fear is that of being humiliated by placing trust and being tricked.

While all this might sound innocent enough if it were no more than a minor, curious social attribute, this wide spread obsession became the foundation element in Rupert Murdoch's business plan. Since then the Americans too absorbed to simply quit listening to the FOX drivel have been running in constant circles like puppets with their hair on fire. This is the pit from which Trump emerged. There is little difference between Trump's inebriating crowd tricks and Murdoch's.

So, as Americans look to the "adversarial checks and balances" of the two party political system to steer themselves clear of the threat of being humiliated, vast hordes of them have become understandably shaken to now find themselves unwilling participants in the contemporary ruse of such an adversarial contest in which the election of either contestant would still be humiliating. In other words there is no longer the possibility of later saying: "Boy Howdy. This would have been even worse if we had elected that other candidate."

It has become unavoidably clear that the primary election process just finishing was so "jiggled" -- by the media, by ancient, labyrinthine "rules," by crooked red state governments, by political insiders and party elites -- as to already be humiliating. The electoral system has been laid bare, and the resulting picture is not pretty.

Importantly, more Americans than ever are now painfully aware of the delirious, parasitic chaos permanently embedded in this mechanism and how it has been employed to control the outcome of election after election. After having a good look at this, they are disgusted. Unhappily, because most Americans have only studied "civics" from textbooks approved by the Texas Board of Education, they have no idea about how to remedy the situation.

Let's All Give a Big Welcome to the
 New American Parliament!
Do we finally face the unthinkable dilemma of being locked into having two parties
when hardly anyone wants either one. Is this a problem "begging for a solution?"

Okay, we're dreaming.

Dreaming. [image]
We are living through an era of one historical irony after another. Reagan obliterated any possible legitimacy to his thinly disguised "conservatism," ushering in crushing wealth redistribution, economic collapse and embarrassing, poorly schemed, illegal "back room deals."

The Bushes, fraught with bad habits, while trying to pathetically reaffirm US obedience to the sacred "free market" model, ushered in a wide acceptance of socialism as the new US economic model. Contrary to dozens of previous "party platforms," the modern Republican reactionaries are inebriating themselves as they paralyze the economy, destroy unions and impose Dominionist biblical lunacy on personal freedoms.

Most recently we see the desperate machinations of the political parties which had always labeled themselves as the precise Constitutional machine which had protected and sustained the "representative" part of our "representative democracy." The visible avarice driving both of them has now irrevocably "entered under the light."

Still works great! [image]
So, what's to be done?

Is it time to visit some museum's warehouse to recover a few of those old guillotines? Happily, the raw obsessions currently masquerading as "patriotic love of democracy" in the lurching behavior of the heavily soiled paragons of the old "two party system" have already completed most of the work for us. The behavior of all the parties to the charade during the "campaigns" this time around has taken care of the necessary "rabble rousing" quite handily. [Under more normal conditions there would have been speeches to be made, crowds to incite, riots to conduct and so on before we could get to the "off with their heads" part. In this case what was intended as simply more of the same has infuriated millions of prospective citizen voters.]

In this modern, Dystopian world of blind civil authority, it is probably against the law for MeanMesa to offer any details more explicit than these. Nonetheless, history offers plenty of great "narratives" about exactly what is required to "take our country back," By way of a warning to all those complicit in this electoral scheme, unlike the stumbling tea baggers, the demographic now "all juiced up" by outrages of this latest encounter is notably far more competent when it comes to setting things right.

Unfortunately, the current system is set up in a way which prevents us from ever having an actual vote on changing it. Anyone questioning its ability to "defend itself" against all efforts to change it need look no farther than the network television "reporting" of today's "news."

What About Changing Our Ways
While We Still Can?
A few details of what would be needed to become "parliamentary"

At this point there may be no shortage of visitors who would quite readily agree with the idea of a "government transformation" from the existing two party system to a much more representative parliamentary system. However, the US government is an unabashed corporate model. The people in Washington who are pretending to be "representatives" of the people are, actually, of course only "representatives" to "represent" the interests of certain people -- the particular ones able and willing to pay for their "representative favors."

 What will we run into if the parliamentary idea begins to "gain traction?" We can presume at least a "short list" of the difficulties we should anticipate.

1. Bribing the Congress

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can even be considered under the suffocating grip of the Republicans. "Writing a letter" to one's Congressman is a laughable figment of the distant past. In modern times every possible new legislation requires a lobbyist -- with a check book -- to bring it to Washington. There are no Congressmen, lobbyists or lobbyist bosses who could have even a single iota of interest in changing the Washington machine. It is far too profitable for them just the way it is. No progressive interest with sufficient wealth to "persuade" the Congress to consider a Constitutional amendment is interested in promoting such a change.

2. A Lack of Statesmen and Statesmanship

If by some fluke of chance such a proposal advanced to an actual Constitutional Convention, MeanMesa sees very few presently empowered leaders with the capacity to undertake such a risky task. Think for a moment. Have you seen many of the current crop of politicians -- from either side -- competent to write, negotiate and promote such a drastic change?

It might be tempting to cite specific examples of failed statesmanship here, but to do so would cloud MeanMesa's point. Granted, it would be easy enough to specify a few public failings and foibles, but the point is that there are very few exceptions to this general claim. In Fourth Way conversations we refer to the "quality of one's being." 

3. The Stubborn Political Hacks and Party Bosses

It would be easy enough to list the pathetic performance of the officially castrated RNC along with the seemingly endless stream of electoral peccadilloes which surfaced in the DNC's concerted efforts to skew its primaries. However, as we collect political hacks and party elites with a "net more widely cast," we find ourselves adding media pundits, talk show hosts, disgraced ex-public officials and office holders such as Cheney and Romney.

The machine producing the propaganda is legion. These waves carry a single message: "Stay the same. Change nothing. Fear any deviation." and most importantly, every one of these messages places the blame "somewhere useful" to keep the charade advancing.

4. The Extremely Well Fed Oligarchs

One could imagine that there is some existential limit as to how much wealth a typical oligarch must control. There isn't. The obsession for more wealth which drive these trust fund billionaires so cruelly is devoid of any limit. With very few exceptions these "pockets of dynastic wealth" have had no connection whatsoever to "principled virtues" such as hard work, innovation, competition or even any cases of particular industrial efficiency. 

Those billionaires are rich from receiving the gifts or a grateful Congress whether in the form of legislative advantages, insider trading or outright looting of the General Fund. No one luxuriating in such prosperity can be expected to voluntarily "limit his take."

5. Begging the Supremes to Allow a Change

The Supremes would have to come to a state in which they became willing to lose their current death grip on government policy. Granted, there is, in fact, a sizable bunch presently relying on the Court for the advantages which maintain them in the ruling class, but there are more -- millions more -- Americans who now consider the Court an irrelevant laughing stock.

The American "man on the street" voter hasn't seen anything from the Supremes -- beyond a few cunningly deceptive "gifts" -- for decades. A vast majority of the Supremes' rulings elicit no more than a shaken head from Americans, Americans who long ago learned not to expect anything worthwhile from them. The billionaires own the Court and exclusively receive a great return on their investment.

The Advantages of Being Parliamentary
It may not be "roses, simply roses," but it could help -- right away.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of the parliamentary system is that we would no longer be limited to choices from one of two parties with politicians who were equally unresponsive. When sentiments reached an all time low -- just as they are now in the United States -- additional parties arise and become available.

Currently, when a "third party" presents itself as an alternative in the US electoral system, eyes roll, sideways glances begin and then voters sigh stoically. The path for one of these "third" parties is a very difficult one. The two existing parties have managed to "corral" the largest donors, leaving a "third" party aspirant trying to raise enough money to even appear on the ballot in most states.

The American media dispatches such attempts as mere curiosities -- nothing seriously challenging the well placed players in the two party system.

Importantly, when the reactionary side of one or both of the two parties in a two party system decides to obstruct absolutely everything proposed by the other side, the government's ability to function in even the simplest way evaporates. Negotiation "across the aisle" is considered treason or heresy. The "winner take all" mentality inevitably progresses to something dismally similar to what we have now.

Even the most fundamental responsibilities of the government become impossible in these conditions. Roads are not repaired, bridges are not replaced, flood control levees are dilapidated -- the agonizing list goes on and on while the elected of the two party system become even more intransigent. No matter how disgusted or disgruntled the electorate might become, there are no champions. The two parties of such a system dedicate themselves to obstructing their counterparts rather than representing the voters and tax payers who, at least theoretically, are relying upon them to operate the country.

The flexibility of the parliamentary system presents the constant incentive to serve the citizens. When one of the parties in such a parliamentary structure begins to routinely ignore the needs of the electorate, a new player can emerge quite quickly. Of course this serves to offer what citizens and voters want, but the mere threat of such a new addition inspires those already in office to work to avoid the new competition.

In the two party system voters are stranded with the single choice of returning to one unresponsive political machine or the other while the "offerings" remain unchanged.

Finally, although the process receives little attention from those trapped in the US "two party" strangle hold, when governments are formed in parliamentary structures the agreements are negotiated between parties which actually represent constituents. The resulting product might be messy, but even the minority players have sent the message of their interests "loud and clear" to those in power. "Represent us, or we will be there in the next election."

Unhappily, in the United States such a message is routinely ignored completely. The Congress has demonstrated over and over again -- almost no one there cares what Americans think. We see this almost daily. Public opinion polls paint one picture, and the Congress does something else -- for someone else.

Time's up.

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