Election 2006

Frank da Cruz
29 October - 5 November 2006

This is the nastiest, most depressing election I can remember:

Hampering the vote”, Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe, October 28, 2006.

Most depressing of all is that in years to come we will probably wind up looking back on these as the good old days.

But right now what's depressing is the lack of choice. It may very well be possible to return control of the House and maybe the Senate to the Democrats, and I hope that is what happens, if only for the sake of restoring some semblance of checks and balances – we've had enough “deciders” eh? But both parties are equally beholden to corporate America and neither can be trusted with the welfare of ordinary Americans, let alone the entire planet.

The USA is a genuine plutocracy. All the forces of government are marshalled in favor of the rich and against poor and working people, and increasingly even against the middle class. Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of large corporations. Real work is denigrated; investment is the favored – the only – way to accumulate wealth. Of course, to invest, one must first have cash on hand. Those few who have it prosper, the rest sink deeper into debt. In the “ownership society” everybody is supposed to invest, working is not enough. But the wealth created by investments is a chimera. What if everybody invested and nobody worked? Where does the real value come from, and who should really be rewarded?

What is the purpose of government? To protect the people? From what? The Enemy? Communists, Terrorists? (Why do we always have so many enemies? Why do they hate us so much?) What about access to health care? To a stable economy? To a secure retirement? To an environment that won't kill us? To the respect of the rest of the world? To uncensored news reports? To the very principles upon which this country was founded?

Hundreds of years ago, when I was in high school, a teacher explained to us that in the Soviet Union, people had the right to work. At the time, it seemed like a pretty strange right! We had a good laugh. He just said, “think about it”. Now, (not so) suddenly, the idea doesn't seem all that strange. When your own government promotes the dismantling of the economy, massive layoffs, outsourcing, “rightsizing”, “downsizing”, and “smartsizing” to keep corporations and investors happy, when it turns a blind eye to the diversion of untold billions of pension dollars into the pockets of investors, when it is utterly indifferent to the fact that almost half the population lacks medical insurance… (I could go on), one begins to wonder why we pay their salary. What have they done for us lately?

And exactly who appointed the USA judge, jury, jailer, and executioner to the rest of the world, and sole proprietor of morality? And a strange morality it is, one in which the highest good is served by devastating one country after another, at incalculable human cost, to further enrich our already rich corporations and investors. Who exempted us from law, treaties, and common decency? From our own Constitution? Who has that power? WE DO! We vote for them time after time. We let them have their way with us and with everybody else too. It's democracy in action. One wonders, if the USA is to rule the world, might it not be fair to let the whole world vote in our elections?

Scam upon scam. The war in Iraq is a scam. Does anybody know exactly why it's happening, why so many people have to die and suffer? Have we heard a real reason yet? And NAFTA, now that one's a classic… “free trade”. It's free all right, for us. And now all True Americans are upset because so many Mexicans want to come here. Of course they do, this is where their money is! The great sucking sound that Ross Perot predicted in 1992 came to pass after all, but in the opposite direction. What happened to all the jobs in Mexico? What happened to its agriculture? Thanks to NAFTA and our “free trade” farm subsidies, it's cheaper for Mexicans to buy food grown in the USA (by Mexicans!) than to grow it themselves. What about all the maquiladoras, those assembly plants along the border that were to employ so many displaced agricultural workers? Oops, gone. It seems there are places in the world where people will work for even less than they do in Mexico, and it would be… irresponsible to one's shareholders not to cut labor costs at every opportunity. Which is also, of course, what every responsible corporation is doing here in the USA, by employing undocumented workers at starvation wages with no benefits. It would seem the Wall is to keep them in, not out (“think about it”). And by the way, hardworking honest people risking their lives and making untold sacrifices to keep their families alive, without even being allowed to see them, are not terrorists: In their place, what would you do? Everybody deserves to work and to make a living wage and have access to basic services. Everybody. It is the very foundation of civil society. This is not the Middle Ages.

Well here comes the election. By all means put in a new government because the one we have now stinks. Will a new one be any better? Maybe if we stay mad enough. Express yourself. Get out and vote on November 7th. If they let you. And then if you're lucky, the voting machine won't switch your vote! And then if you're still lucky, your ballot won't be “lost” or disqualified.

Yes, I know the campaign has been nasty. They are all saying such terrible things about each other, how grown up of them. I'll say this: even if all those things are true, I would sooner vote for someone who used public funds for phone sex than for someone with the blood of thousands on (or her!) his hands.

There is a surfeit of reading material on the election, the war, the economy, and the unbelievable behavior of this administration. Here are just a few items from the past couple days:

And on the positive side, Sister Camille D'Arienzo's perfect gem of a commentary from her November 5th WINS radio spot (“Voter's Guide”):

http://www.brooklynmercy.org/Current_Commentaries2.html  (Sorry, it's gone; don't you love the Web?)

And finally, to appreciate the scope of Why They Hate Us So Much – not just Muslims, everybody – see any of these web pages:


and reflect upon the proposition that it is possible for this country to live in peace with the rest of the world by simply structuring its economy to be more self-sufficient (“think about it").

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fdc@columbia.edu Sun Nov 5 12:05:28 2006