Wednesday, November 08, 2006

And the winner is...?

Subject: Soapbox

I predict that by the end of the day, the media spin cycle will have gone from "Democrats victorious" to "Gains weren't enough, Dems in trouble". Heck, the NYT already started... On Monday!

Regardless of what "side" you were rooting for, or even if you gave two snits about it, take this thought with you -- with all the crap, corruption, bloviating, and voter frustration out there, only a handful of seats moved. Incumbents far and away held their own ground. The system is geared towards entrenching power, and when that gets threatened, all the little dirty tricks start coming out.

George Washington's farewell address forewarned us of the result of partisanship:
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Of course, that advice was already too late; in his cabinet, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were already squared off in their competing interests, and the system would become entrenched in John Adams' administration, in which the "media" climate (consisting at the time of newspapers, pampheteers, and gossip) was so toxic and divisive that he actually thought the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the resulting imprisonment of newspaper publishers, was a reasonable idea.

Is there a solution to a long-entrenched and broken system? The short answer is, of course, "no". Despite my long-held naivité on the subject, third parties rarely gain enough traction and popular support to overcome the entrenched power structures; they can't even get their voices heard in the public debate. The only time a third party made a significant presence, the entire country plunged into Civil War. And that isn't a very welcome scenario in the modern militarisic era. And it's quite a bit of hyperbole to even suggest the possibility.

Of course, I don't have any solutions; I'm just an obscure blogger-type. All I can recommend is to keep informed, and keep digging for that information beyond the easy mainstream corporate noise machines.

And remember that if you vote for a local representative, you're actually voting for his/her party's leadership -- Speaker, Majority Leader, etc. -- so if you disagree with that party, but like where the individual canditate diverges from it and vote for him/her anyway, too bad; you're out of luck. You've just voted to keep their leadership doing whatever it is they were doing. The only way to possibly change it is to put the opposing party's leadership in place, and vote against them down the road if they don't perform either. That's the only "message" that can be sent; third-party percentages or "maverick" candidates don't mean squat.

It's one big doom loop if there ever was one. *sigh*.

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