Monday Late Nite: You gotta fight for your rights!
So, according to the Village idiots (and Keith Olbermann, much to my dismay), tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary is going to be the "make or break" day for all of the Democratic campaigns. We can thank two small states out of fifty for taking on the onerous task of representing a legitimate cross-section of the American voting population. I guess they’re voting there so we don’t have to vote here. (Insert eye rolling emoticon).
I’ve been casting my vote for 27 years now; I don’t ever recall Presidential primaries being called IN THE SECOND WEEK OF JANUARY! What the hell has happened to our primary system? Why should my vote be discounted simply because it’s for a candidate who doesn’t necessarily meet ABC’s debate criteria?
All of this is doubly frustrating in light of the fact that our electoral process has become increasingly corrupted, thanks in no small part to the failure of any discernible campaign finance reform and the disheartening display of "battered wife syndrome" by the Democratic leadership over the past year, despite its being handed a clear mandate by the people in 2006.
Yes, we can try to topple the media Colossus by highlighting its bias and blatant self-interest (and this is an integral step toward "freedom"), but how do we, as a voting bloc, grab the attention of the people who have been elected to serve us, but who feel no compunction at all about sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling "lalalalalala"? How do we achieve a country-wide solidarity that can no longer be ignored by the D.C. establishment?
NTodd, over at Pax Americana, has been posting for some time now about various methods of civil disobedience in which citizens can engage in order to have their voices heard. However, his post today seemed to ruffle a whole lotta feathers because it asks us to contemplate what would happen if, as a collective body, progressives and/or mainstream Democrats used the tactic of withholding our votes on Election Day. Many of the commenters dismissed the suggestion out of hand as ludicrous and a very effective way of maintaining Republican hegemony, but I found the underlying premise fascinating, and perhaps best attempted at a less volatile time in our country’s history: "active nonaction," or boycott, as a means of dissent, a symbolic slap upside the Democratic Party’s head.
What the post was trying to get at, but what was being lost in translation, was best summed up in its comments, by SteveB, in which he quotes Lawrence O’Donnell:
"If you don’t show them you’re capable of not voting for them, they don’t have \to listen to you. I didn’t listen or have to listen to anything on the left while I was working in the Democratic Party — because the left had nowhere to go."
There are days when I feel like the only way we will get our points about the Iraq War, the economy, health care – you name it – across to Congress is with pitchforks and torches. The problem has been so long in the making that the task of repairing it seems insurmountable. Besides the obvious – voting in progressive Representatives and Senators – what steps can we take to effectuate wholesale change in our government?