I’m sorry, but I gotta do it. Gotta talk politics for a moment. Otherwise I’ll just keep mumbling to myself like some dude pushing a baby carriage full of stuffed monkeys down the street wearing pants with a big ol’ pee stain in them.
This morning I saw the tape of Senators Obama and Clinton in front of a sign that said “Unite For Change” while they spoke at a rally in Unity, NH (get it?) The way the two major US parties operate though, a rally in Youpeoplewillfuckingbelieveanythingwontyou, NH would have been more apropos. Full disclosure: I’m not a member of nor will I associate myself with either major party (as if you couldn’t guess.) No, I’m not a member of the ripe-for-the-exploiting Green party, but since you didn’t ask I’ll just tell you anyway that I’m a Libertarian. And while I believe in most of the Libertarian plank (and think that a lot more people are in agreement with Libertarian philosophy than realize it: go check out the the worlds smallest political quiz if you’re curious about where you fall – takes about 15 seconds), even if I wasn’t a member of the party you can bet your ass I wouldn’t join the Republicans or Democrats. Just can’t lend my voice to that chorus anymore.
I won’t list all the deception, twists and misleading statements those two gangs pull off, because it would take pages and pages and pages and pages and pages. Nor will I dwell on the instances of feigned outrage that each party exhibits every time the other says or does something that they can pretend meant something they bloody well know it didn’t (did that make sense? read it again if it didn’t – no time to edit). Those are irritants meant to win the soundbite contest and gain favor with that part of the electorate in posession of a particularly short attention span and little desire to go beyond the black/white, up/down answer provided them by their party’s candidate (they also provide plenty of topics for Hannity or Huffington to get their knickers in a twist over.)
The problem is that despite the corruption, lies and power mongering in the two major parties, without the support of one or the other you have about the same chance of getting elected President (or winning pretty much any national race) as a donut has of surviving a night on Kirstie Alley’s beside table (that was such a layup of a joke – I’m a total hack.) Parties that wield that much power can, and do, force politicians to toe the party line regardless of their actual personal beliefs. It is, in simple terms, a fucking disaster.
Consider: the two major party candidates this year both started out at least pretending to be “outsiders” or “mavericks” (though I’ve seen Top Gun, and John McCain is no Tom Cruise) but since becoming viable candidates in their respective primaries, one, the other, or both have “moderated” their positions on almost every key issue including: FISA, immigration, the second amendment, Iraq, NAFTA, public campaign financing, meetings with foreign leaders, hardcore evangelicals, tax cuts, oil drilling, and torture to name but a few. In some cases they’ve moved in directions I like, in others not so much, but that is of course irrelevant; it’s the shape-shifting to get elected that’s relevant.
What it isn’t of course, is surprising. Not when both candidates are part of the same mess of a system run by the same arrogant elitists. To add insult to injury, both of the parties are claiming to be agents, or parties, or men, or women of change. Which is like the old joke about sleep-away camp, where the counselors come into the bunk house and say: “O.K. everyone, it’s Monday and you know what that means: It’s time to change your underwear. Now this week, Jimmy you’ll be changing with Tom. Will, you change with Gunter. Fred, you change with Wilma.” And that’s the only change we’ll get with either of these guys, soaring rhetoric notwithstanding. Anyway, the government isn’t designed to change overnight. It’s not like a company that hires a new CEO who marches in and shitcans every under-performing loser in the place. That shit’s for military dictators; our government is designed to keep that kind of clout out of the hands of one guy and to change over time.
Point being, if you want to see some change in the political landscape, then the landscape itself needs to change. Voting for the lesser of two evils has to stop being acceptable. People that say what they mean and do what they say have to become electable. The two party system must change. So I’m voting for Bob Barr (the Libertarian candidate) this year. I’m aware that people (some of my friends) believe that voting for Barr is the same as throwing my vote away; I say bullshit. I’m throwing away my vote if I use it to keep supporting the system that’s given us every douchebag Congressman, every lying President, every two-faced bottom-dweller that’s been elected to office in the last hundred years. I’m throwing my vote away if I keep voting for a one of the two major candidates and believe I’ll see the kind of change that matters to me.
Look, I don’t love Bob Barr – he’s off base in some areas was an arch conservative asshole in the past (though everyone has an opportunity to change and he claims to be right in line with most of the Libertarian platform), but if he can grab five to ten percent of the vote, then maybe people will start to believe that they may someday get to vote for the person they actually want to win. Maybe all the young people that are just now getting involved (with Dean in ’04, and with Obama in ’08) in politics will stop to think about what’s going on behind the curtain. Maybe they’ll take the time to learn something about the Constitution, about what the government is supposed to be doing, and about what it has been doing. Maybe they’ll realize that they guys they’re working and rooting for aren’t the guys that will bring the kind of change they’re hoping for (I like to believe that if most young people that are politically active in this election cycle stopped to think about issues, look at history and learn about the platform, they’d join the Libertarian party in a heartbeat. I also like to believe I’m sexier than Colin Farrell. I’ll take one out of two.)
Of course, maybe none of that will happen. I’ll take my shot though: from here on in, I vote for getting to pick my own goddamn underwear.