Wouldn’t it be great…?

By David Perez

April 04, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – As the coronavirus crisis makes real the possibility that the remaining Democratic Party presidential primary could actually be canceled, or that the Democratic National Committee will simply choose their preferred candidate (Biden or some other yo-yo), it raises, in my mind, the whole viability and even relevance about the electoral process in the United States, particularly the presidential kind—that winner-take-all, big-money-driven, spectacle-soaked, and mind-numbingly LONG process where we get to choose between the finer nuances of empire and the rule of the elite.

A casino where, despite a jackpot here and there, the house always wins.

Of course, if some popular type of revolt causes someone like Bernie Sanders to become the Democratic Party nominee – or if they run as a third party candidate – then the electoral route becomes a whole other ballgame.

Nevertheless I can’t help wondering: Might the deeper problem be our constant effort to reroute a train going in the wrong direction? Might the whole point be to get off the train?

Have we ever stopped and considered that there has never been a President or member of Congress who’s been elected by a majority of the population? When you take the average 40 percent of the votes garnered by the loser and then add the eligible voters who don’t vote (usually another 40 percent, give or take), and then add those who can’t vote (teenagers under 18, prisoners, undocumented workers and so on), you invariably come out with a winner with only a small percentage of support.

Democracy? Hardly.

But who ultimately rules the U.S. anyway? In the 1987 Oliver Stone movie, “Wall Street,” billionaire corporate raider Gordon Gekko lectures his young protégé, stockbroker Bud Fox about how 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth. With a knowing snicker, Gekko asks Fox: “You’re not naïve enough to believe we live in a democracy are you?”

I suspect that deep down most of us know the deal. But we feel trapped and resigned to play the cards we’ve been dealt. That, yes, our democracy is “flawed,” but we simply have to do the best we can.

Still, wouldn’t it be great…

If voting with courage and conviction was called voting with courage and conviction?

If we always voted for a progressive candidate, no matter what?

If we never voted for a corporate-backed, pro-empire candidate, no matter what?

If voting for the “lesser of two evils” wasn’t called being “realistic” and “pragmatic?”

If voting with our conscious wasn’t called a “wasted vote” or “abetting the enemy?”

If we expected as much from our politicians as we did from our teachers, priests, doctors—and even our car mechanics?

Wouldn’t it be great…?

If we stopped calling every presidential election, “The most important election ever!”

If we stopped thinking that the U.S. two-party duopoly represents the “greatest democracy ever!”

If we stopped thinking that the problem is one individual (terrible) politician?

If we stopped saying, “This election is different.”

Or, “We’ll fix things next time.”

Wouldn’t it be great…?

If “None of the Above” were an actual ballot choice? If “None of the Above” received 20 percent or more of the vote, the election was a do-over?

If half the electorate didn’t vote, the election was also a do-over?

If every election season ran three months from start to finish?

If electoral reform—like eliminating the Electoral College, the role of corporate money, and electronic voting—didn’t always have to wait until after the elections?

If, like much of the world, we had a system of representative democracy, where a party that gets a percentage of the vote also gets a percentage of representation?

Wouldn’t it be great…?

If any state leader or governing body that declared war was required BY LAW to send their sons and daughters to the front lines?

If those who profit from war had to fight it themselves?

If drone strikes and sanction were also called acts of terrorism?

Wouldn’t it be great…?

If we stopped being ruled by fear?

If we stopped waiting for a political savior?

If we had faith in ourselves?

David Perez is a writer, journalist, activist, actor, and performance coach living in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of WOW! A South Bronx Memoirito about boyhood and Catholic school. 



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