I’d like to start out by saying that I hate politics. I listen to as many news radio shows as I can, read no less than five newspapers a day (I’m unemployed), and have political discussions on my balcony almost nightly. While I am working to change the system, (in ways I will not mention in a public forum) not participating in what we seem to be stuck with is no way to accomplish anything. Due to these feelings, I have voted in every election since I’ve turned 18. My vote has been for the lesser of two evils; it’s not that I think the Democrats are much dissimilar from Republicans, but they do have slight differences. They claim to stand for a lot of the same things that I do- or at least more than the Republicans do.          Over the past seven months, following politics has put me on a roller coaster ride. September of last year saw me as disconsolate and hopeless; not only was the country heading in a much worse direction than I ever thought possible, but it didn’t seem like things were going to change any time soon. Then, on November 4th, America stood up and changed the face of both the House of Representatives and the Senate; within a week Donald Rumsfeld had been shown the door, the Democrats made a lot of promises and threats, and new grey hairs were evident at each of George Bush’s press conferences. I was encouraged that people were finally starting to wake up and it looked like our so called leaders would finally be held accountable.          I spent most of the winter traveling, and therefore wasn’t able to keep up with the news as much as I would have liked; but from the bits and pieces I caught and the conversations I had with people in the know, it seemed like the ball was rolling. The truths about what really got us into this unwinnable war, the lies in the Valerie Plame case, and attorneygate were all coming to light. Subpoenas were being issued, Democrats were threatening to withhold funding for continuing the war, and Bushies all over the country were resigning and going to jail. I was impressed; although I knew the Democrats would do something, I didn’t realize that they might be honest people who were going to try and put America back on the right track.          In the beginning of April, my wife and I moved back to Boulder and began becoming more emerged in the news again; we were among like minded people, we continued our old tradition of volunteering at our local progressive book store, and had plenty of free time to read and listen to pundits telling us what was going on. As the days went by I began to feel more and more disenfranchised; although people were continuing to step down, attorneygate started fading into the background, nothing was being done about healthcare, minimum wage not only wasn’t raised, but even what they were suggesting – 7.50 an hour over the next five years – wasn’t enough to keep up with inflation, and the president wasn’t backing down or admitting any wrong doing. The straw that broke the camel’s back wasn’t even the fact that the so-called anti-war Liberals backed down as far as the funding bill was concerned; it was that the day after, they had the audacity to go on TV and radio shows and claim victory.          As was the case after the 2004 elections, I went into a deep depression for a couple days. I still read the papers, but focused instead of the personal interest stories, sports, and other mindless news. The radio became a tool strictly for the listening of (non-political) music.          After much ruminating I came to a conclusion that I had known all along, but chosen to ignore; the Democrats – and this is also true for the Republicans – don’t give a shit about their base. The way I see it, about 40% of the country is going to vote Democrat either way and 40% will vote Republican come hell or high water- what both parties care about is the undecided twenty percent. They figure – and correctly so most of the time – that their 40% is safe no matter what. Sure, us Democrats are fed up that we got sold out- whatever the reasons are (not wanting to alienate the middle people, not wanting to lose funding from the oil companies or other war profiteers, or simply because they were afraid of Bush), but what can we do? Write some letters, maybe chain ourselves to the door in a senators or representatives office?           A lot of people blamed the running of Ralph Nader in 2000 for Bush getting elected. This may be partly true, but is that enough of a reason to scare us into having no qualms about our two party system? Why is it that every other democracy has more than two parties, but we are stuck with a two headed monster?          If the elections were held today, I don’t think there is any way I could bring myself to vote for any of the major Democratic candidates- the only one I can possibly picture myself pulling the lever for is Mike Gravel. I wouldn’t vote for a Republican if someone were holding a gun to my head. I know a lot of people think that someone who would normally vote Democrat and instead votes for a third party, is basically voting Republican, but I don’t really care any more.          I don’t see a big difference with McCain in the White House as opposed to Hilary or Brownback compared to Obama (the only person I’m really afraid of is Giuliani); the war will continue, the hegemony of America will persist, poor people will get poorer and rich will get richer (maybe slower, but it will continue to happen), while corporations will continue to make windfall profits. With a Democrat, there will be more talk of universal health care, but nothing will get done because they – like their Republican counterparts – are in the pockets of the health and drug companies.           There is a plus side; one of two things could happen if more people showed their frustrations by voting for a third party (either way, since the Republicans are more organized and people on the right are less likely to think for themselves, our next president will be a Republican): first, the Democrats will realize how much they blew the chance we gave them and understand that if they don’t get their act together they will fade into oblivion. They will realize that they have to care about that 40%; their policies will change, and come 2010, we can put them back in the house and senate. The other result would be – over time – the legitimacy of a third (and maybe a fourth or – gasp – fifth?) party.           Maybe I’m overreacting; maybe if we take to the streets for mass protests and organize a colossal letter writing campaign, Democrats will see their numbers dropping and change some of their ways. Maybe if those of us in the know, make flyers and inform everyone we know of the truth, the people won’t stand for all the corruption anymore. If not, it’s up to us to make a change.           I went to a talk by the author of the book Cowboy in Caracas last week and he told a story about a poor kid from the barrios of Venezuela whom he had a political conversation with. The kid told him that “in the United States, hardly any of the population votes, but even those that do don’t do any following up. In Venezuela, we vote in high percentages and we vote our president in for six years. Then, if the people we elected aren’t doing we elected them for, we remove them. Their jobs are to answer to us; I don’t understand why you guys don’t seem to get that.” I think that says it all.


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