Concerning spines, or the lack thereof
I’m not surprised, but I am nevertheless dismayed by the really pathetic recapitulation of “pwogwessives” to the logic that they must somehow reinvigorate, or reclaim, or reinvent, or ???, the Democratic Party. I know a lot of people who are lost in different types of fear and loathing. I’m slightly amazed, but again not surprised, at how many people feel completely isolated in the face of the fake majority manufactured by omission and commission on election day.
I’ve been out doing various book parties for The Political Edge and the theme I’ve emphasized, one of the main things I tried to do with this book, is underscore the political currents and threads that remain completely invisible in what passes as “normal” political life in the U.S.
It’s not a Blue State/Red State thing, not even one of those “better” maps. It’s that a huge number of people, a very large minority, who probably mostly live in the so-called blue-ist areas, are not represented by any politicians, their “values” do not appear in the media, and their aspirations for life are simply beyond recognition in this topsy-turvy self-referential spectacular world.
A glaring example of mindboggling absurdity is the recently ballyhooed nailing of Adam Werbach’s “theses” Ã la Martin Luther to the doors of the Democratic National Committee. I can only quote Werbach’s own citation back to him:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” — Benjamin Franklin
If there is any real hope for reform of the always flawed and now completely broken U.S. democracy, it has to lie outside the endlessly co-opted efforts to breathe life into the moribund and deservedly dead institutions of the major political parties.
What might some kind of reforms worth fighting for look like? Off the top of my head I can think of a number of things that would at least have the merit of promoting something approaching “real” representative democracy (though my preference is for a “real” direct democracy):
1. Abolish the Electoral College
2. Abolish the Senate
3. Establish a nationwide, uniform, paper-backed voting system that is systematically open and verifiable and subject to manual recount.
4. Reconfigure the House of Representatives so that there are districts drawn up by nonpartisan and consistent standards to include 250,000 people per district, thus having a House of apx. 1000 members.
5. Establish an election system based on ranked-choice voting and proportional representation. No more advertising allowed. All parties are welcome to establish a platform and every platform will be given equal exposure in nationally distributed newspapers, websites, and in limited television and radio time paid for by the public.
Rather than voting for candidates, voters will choose their preferred platform by level of government (e.g. I might vote for the Libertarian president, the Greens for the House, and law-and-order party for my municipality!). Once the results are in, candidates associated with different parties will fill the seats allocated proportionally.
I’m not really very interested in fixing a corrupt electoral system. I am sure these ideas, which I just pulled out of the air in the past few minutes, are not new or original (many of them are used in various other countries), and have no chance of being implemented by the current governments we endure. But I do think that pwogwessives who believe in some kind of voting democracy ought AT LEAST to be campaigning to change the system from the bottom up before they come around trying to enlist the skeptics, the left out and left behind, and all the rest of the unrepresented, in yet another round of squandering insane amounts of money on “choices” that none of us can be enthused about.
Lastly, although Michael Ventura doesn’t go anywhere near any of the ideas I just blurted above, I do appreciate his energetic refusal to despair in this essay.