There’s really no hope for this country, I fear.  If there is, it certainly won’t be in my lifetime.  And why do I say this, you might ask?  Well, actually, no one asked, but I’m going to answer anyway.  It’s because you can never, ever underestimate the collective stupidity of the American public. 


We just had the most dispiriting Presidential debate in the history of so-called political discourse.  Two candidates who are so closely aligned on nearly every single policy issue that they’re probably soul mates.  One is a congenital liar who wears magic underwear and the other one looked bored, annoyed and like a human punching bag.  Despite the media’s fondness for politics as entertainment, any fool could see that neither of those clowns up there really won on style, substance, congeniality or the evening gown competition.  But, of course, someone had to win.  The public demands it.  And the winner was Romney.


So a week later, a Gallup poll comes out and finds that Mitt has overtaken Obama in the polls – or at least he tightened the race up quite a bit.  And thus, the proverbial lemmings – that constitute the largest portion of the voting population – just move along with the tide.  But then again, that’s pretty much what the entire presidential election has become.  Obama gives a convincing speech – “He’s on my side.  I’ll vote for him.”  Romney gives a debate performance of some dubious quality – “What a man – I’m for him!”  And so they react to the latest mindless stimuli.


But what causes me even more resigned despair are the people that really believe in either of these guys.  And the problem is, there are millions of them.  Tens of millions of true believers, ardent supporters, my political party do-or-die.  And that boggles my mind.  Voting against their best interests.  Ignorant of what’s really going on inside the carnival of lights and costumes.   People, who sometimes know just enough to justify their position and will fight tooth and nail to defend it, but miss the big picture.  They’ve got one jigsaw puzzle piece in their hand, and they are sure they seeVersailles.  And their candidate is the best – and he’s going to win, by gum.


I’ve heard progressive Democratic or liberal people say, “I’d love to vote for a third party candidate, but until they have a real chance of winning, I have to vote for Obama.”  And this makes me nuts.  Who are you waiting for to make it a viable possibility?  If all of the voters who have been let down by this corrupt system voted for Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson (or even Ron Paul) – it would move the goalposts –  would change the direction of the Democratic party at least – or it might even finally elect a worthy candidate.  But instead of doing that, they wait for someone else to magically make it happen.  They don’t give their money to the Green or the Justice Parties – they give it to the Democratic Party.  They vote for them, canvas for them, get out the vote for them and leave it to another election, another decade, another century for anything better to even possibly take place.  If they can’t win (despite the obvious superiority of their policies and positions), they won’t vote for them, it’s as simple as that.


It’s the new boss, same as the old boss – but at least he’s a winner.  The third party candidates, despite being quite often, moral, decent people who are not bought and paid for unlike our current choices, are tossed aside as losers.  It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is, because people want the simple, quick, “efficient” solution.  And, they want a simple winner that doesn’t require them to think too much, or do too much, or go out of their way too much.


It’s the same thing everywhere you look.


Walmart’s, McDonald’s, Bank of America – all these corporate players – people won’t lift a finger to move their money, shop at a local store instead of a big-box one, eat healthier – because it’s too much trouble or inconvenient for them.  So, they keep the corporations afloat that ruin lives and health and dictate regulations and policy to their political puppets.  And the people – the struggling, the poor, the marginalized, the working classes – keep making excuses for why they’re helping keep this wretched, self-defeating system afloat – without lifting a finger to actually change things or make a discernible difference.  Or, they just keep raging against the machine that they’re helping to keep permanently in place. 


You can’t get a majority of people to go along with anything except collective obedience, blind allegiance and unrelenting conformity.  But, at least they’ll have backed a winner.  Only problem is, the losers are all of us.

Kate Flannery

Kate Flannery