Greetings fellow ATSers,
So I've been thinking and junk ...
It should now be apparent to even the most uninterested and disconnected of the American voting public the more things change the more they stay the
same. Yes, some things have changed from the last administration to this one but so many others, core issues expressed by Barrack Obama during his
campaign have remained the same. Most of all, all the partisanship, all the bickering, all the gridlock, all the spending, all the corporatism, all
the deception and indifference towards the American populace has remained a tragic constant.
So what are we to do?
What if anything is within our power to change the paradigm and extricate ourselves from this false choice that is the party system which enslaves
And can it be done without guns, without frenzy … with method, reason, and clear intent?
In essence, is there an approach, is there an avenue available to us within the system to reorient it to the people and calibrate our politicians
priorities in the process back to representing US!
Most importantly, can the hidden hands behind the curtain be stripped of their power to control the game?
The standard knee-jerk reaction by the general public and one that is option championed in the hallowed servers of ATS is the "vote the bums out"
approach for that will show them!
This approach in my humble opinion is fatally flawed! For it is based on the premise that the power lies in the hand of the actor instead of where it
really manifests, the director. Metaphorically, the political power game could easily be represented as a play, or even a sports team … voting the
bums out as a sign of discontent would only change the actors/players whilst the producers/owners remain the same.
It is my contention that the sting pullers have rigged the game in such a fashion to allow for this kind of political catharsis that is mass
replacement of representatives to make us feel that we have recourse when in fact none is there and they simply couldn't care less who sits in the
capitol's and white house armchairs.
Thus, "vote the bums out" is a ruse, an illusion of electoral power, there to placate the citizenship.
It simply, in the big picture, means absolutely nothing!
So once again we come back to what are we to do?
For that we must disconnect for a moment and go back to the roots of politics, political theory, political philosophy, and to a certain degree
The reason, logically deducted, that voting in/out representatives at a national level is an exercise in futility is because that is not where the
real power lies. But we're also not familiar, though we all have our own suspicions, as to whom really is controlling the game. The only
vulnerability, the achilles tendon if you will, of the system that can be realistically "attacked" is to withdraw our (the public's) tacit consent
to the government to govern them!
Consider the following:
The word legitimacy is often interpreted in a normative or a positive way. In a normative sense, legitimacy gets greater attention as a part of
moral philosophy. It is a status conferred by the people on the government's officials, acts, and institution through their belief that the
government's actions are an appropriate use of power by a legally constituted governmental authority following correct decisions on making
According to the German political philosopher Dolf Sternberger, "Legitimacy is the foundation of such governmental power as is exercised both with a
consciousness on the government's part that it has a right to govern and with some recognition by the governed of that right." The American
political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset argues, it also "involves the capacity of a political system to engender and maintain the belief that
existing political institutions are the most appropriate and proper ones for the society."
Something becomes legitimate when one approves of it. In a positive sense, legitimacy gets greater attention in political science. For example, an
institution is perceived as legitimate, if approval for that institution is general among those people subject to its authority. According to John
Locke, the British social contractualist, issues of legitimacy are linked to those of consent, both explicit and tacit. "The argument of the [Second]
Treatise is that the government is not legitimate unless it is carried on with the consent of the governed."
Think about the above for a minute because therein lies the ONLY power we really have within our system.
Our power to acknowledge and assign legitimacy.
So if there is a philosophical foundation to be considered, a grass roots movement to be created, it HAS to be based on the premise of non recognition
… for all other approaches, including "vote the bums out" keeps us fully engaged in the game and reenforces the existing power structure's
To vote for anyone is a vote for the system and the existing game.
The solution is easily gleaned, simply envisioned, but oh so hard to implement …
And the solution is this: DO NOT VOTE or VOTE BLANK BALLOTS!
I realize that this sounds completely counterintuitive to the democratic process but it really is the only approach available to us when the process
itself has been rigged against those who it is meant to represent … namely the citizen of the state.
States/Nations exercise this approach all the time in international relations/diplomacy. Non recognition of other states/governments is a standard
and well established tool used to deny legitimacy to those states/governments. In essence, they do not engage them, they simply deny them the right
Imagine a 2012 election where only a tiny proportion of the American public votes for ANY candidate. People would be elected with minute amounts of
votes relative to population size. There would be no mandate, and no legitimacy given to those who have forgotten us. The system would grind to a
halt. They wouldn't even know how to process what just happened.
But most importantly the cry of "enough" would be heard loud and clear: Get your act together or we will NOT engage you, we will not recognize you,
we will not empower you by playing your musical chair game! And we will keep abstaining from the political process until you reorient your priorities
to those which you are sworn to uphold.
This in my opinion how real change begins. Not ideological/partizan change but the only change that really matter … reclaiming the power to its
rightful owners, US.
Best of all, dogma and ideology are not required as this is a strategy premised upon an philosophy that unites all beings, that the government works
The sword of indifference is a mighty weapon in the political process/game and one that strikes at the heart of the divide and conquer paradigm, truly
emasculating it and rendering all but impotent. One that the aforementioned string pullers do everything in their power to keep from our collective
realization keeping us distracted with the bread and circuses of the false duality of the two party system.
I don't know if we have or can muster the collective understanding and will to apply this approach for it requires a true grass roots movement and it
has to be done by a majority of the voting public to be effective … nevertheless it is one of the few useful approaches available to us. Heck, half
the people don't vote anyway so we're half way there to begin with.
Alternatively, you can vote for the other guy next election and hope that this time, as opposed to every other time, it will make a difference.
PS. Another strategy for dissent often contemplated is to simply stop buying stuff, that our dollars are the only true power we have. Whilst this is
true, that is a conversation for another thread on another day, and a much more perilous approach for it bears the pitfalls of a plethora of
unintended consequences characterized by the "cutting off the nose to spite the face" syndrome. A valid conversation to be sure, but not
[edit on 3 Apr 2010 by schrodingers dog]