Our government, or rather the elected officials that run our government, is a farce. That’s right it is a sham, a fraud perpetrated by the very people chosen to run it. Notice I didn’t say elected; oh sure those of us who do vote, we went to the polls, and pressed a button or two, and at the end of the day whoever got the most votes wins whatever seat they were running for. So, yes these people were elected, but for them to be candidates in the first place, someone, or ones, chose them; and those someone or ones is either the Democratic or Republican parties. While I accept that in many races where there are primaries, there may be several candidates from each party running for the same political office, and who so ever wins the primary, is that party’s nominee to run for the general election. However, in those instances anyone with some sort of objective filter in their brain can recognize whose got the real shot to win the nomination, occasionally there are two people; particularly during the Presidential election years. It typically is the person that does a better job of toeing the party lines, think the person who is fine with the status quo, who won’t upset the proverbial apple cart. This is where the farce comes in, aside from a few public distracting, push button; barely policy details; such as abortion, or tort reform; neither the Republicans, or Democrats really differ that much when it comes down to the business of actually running the country. They are essentially two sides of the same coin, thus heads they win; tails you lose.
We have to know the difference between rhetoric, and action, and forget about would’ve, could’ve, and should’ves; as in, If Al Gore would’ve won we would’ve/could’ve/should’ve done this, that or the other. The fact is, he didn’t win the 2000 election, and if he would have, we have no idea how things might have been done differently. I suspect; that aside from rhetoric, precious few things would have been acted upon differently. Odds are 9/11 still would have happened, and though he may have wanted to act differently, public pressure would have forced him to at least retaliate against the Taliban. I will grant that the invasion of Iraq may not have happened, however it probably would’ve, but again we will never know. One of the best refrains that are bandied about is that the financial crisis that began in 2007; was all because of George Bush. While his administration isn’t completely innocent, it isn’t 100% guilty either. We need to remember that when he took office, the internet bubble had already burst, and the economy was already in a mild recession, which was exacerbated by the uncertainty left in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. People were already spooked financially, and 9/11 threw gasoline on the fire. In order to stimulate the economy, and reassure the stock markets there were a round of stimulus checks, and tax cuts across the board. You know what it worked, the economy recovered, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared to 14,198. The real fault falls on Alan Greenspan, and the Federal Reserve, by keeping interest rates too low, for too long, and these policies began during the Clinton Administration, but that is another subject for another day. My point is we can’t look at and break up the economic cycles of this country into independent four or eight year increments, based solely on who was President at the time. The economic cycle happens regardless of who is in office, and what they pretend to do to steer it.
Let’s return back to the original thesis, that regardless of party, Democrat or Republican, the overarching policies are the same; I’m talking BIG picture here. There are some pretty big things that, regardless of party affiliation, are not going to change. The biggest thing is foreign policy. The United States, believe it or not, is an empire; and empires have interests that lie well outside their natural boarders. In the US’s case, these interests are to ensure the thing that keeps its people happy and its economy running is the access to cheap oil. This means making deals with countries whose ideals are diametrically opposed to the United States. Previously I wrote about the catch 22 of America’s foreign policy in the Middle East, which discusses this very thing. On March 28th of last year, President Obama gave a speech justifying why the United States had to take action against Kaddafi via air strikes and the enforcement of a “no fly zone.” You know what, despite the rhetoric that is coming from the Republicans about this response, if a Republican were in office, the United States response would be the same; and then the Democrats would be the ones complaining. We must recognize these complaints, regardless of who is making them, is strictly rhetoric, to keep up the guise that there is some sort of difference between the two parties. The United States interests in the Middle East are going to be the same regardless of the party in power. As an example, let’s examine Obama’s rhetoric when he was running for the Presidency in 2007-08. He made speeches saying that he would bring our troops home from both Iraq, and Afghanistan, and alluding to his want to make the US’s image abroad friendlier. Anyone who really pays attention to presidential politics should recall that George Herbert Walker Bush (GW’s dad) wanted to make the US’s image “kinder and gentler,” too. Outside of that similarity, what has happened to Obama’s campaign promise of bringing the troops home? The answer is essentially nothing. Sure our troop footprint has been reduced in Iraq, but troop levels have actually increased in Afghanistan. Some people might say that the situation has changed since the election; or that it is a “fluid” situation . . . okay, sure it is; but I would argue that everything is a fluid situation; the world is not a static place. My point is that candidates will tell the public exactly what they want to hear in order to get elected, and rarely do they actually execute their rhetoric. Perhaps, once Obama took office, and was fully briefed on the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, that he realized he couldn’t do what he told us he wanted to do; but I beg to differ. Not to pick on President Obama, but he is the current president and thus his campaign is still the freshest in our collective memories. Remember his slogan, “Change We Can Believe In,” all I ask is what exactly has changed? Health care reform; okay but I have yet to hear of a single person (by that I mean everyday citizen) who has come forward and said how it has changed their current standing one way or the other from what their health coverage was before the bill was signed into law. Closing Guantanamo; nope it is still up and running. Bring our troops home, as mentioned earlier, we are still over there, and actually more involved. More transparency, nope, still as opaque as it ever was. Repeal the “Bush” tax cuts, or if nothing else only those on the top one percent of earners, nope they actually got extended. I am not saying that any of these actions are right or wrong, simply pointing out the fact that we the people supposedly elected a candidate for change, and we got shafted.
Now to prove that I am not singling out the Democrats, and President Obama, let’s talk about the Republicans, and how they are really no different. The Republicans, like to fashion themselves as the smaller government, fiscally responsible party, but let’s look at the facts. Despite President Reagan’s deregulation push during his presidency, which one would think lead to smaller government, the size of the federal government actually expanded during his eight years in office; and his successor’s term (George the 1st) as well. What about being fiscally responsible? The United States deficit really began to balloon under President Reagan’s tenure too. Under President Bush the younger’s term we saw the largest expansion of the federal government in decades, and in fact there was also an erosion of our civil liberties during his eight years in office too; and civil liberties is another thing that the Republicans like to pay lip service to – it fits in with the notion of a smaller federal government. The Patriot Act essentially laid the ground work for an Orwellian “Big Brother is watching” type of nation; we aren’t there yet, but we are wandering down that road. Also under President Bush’s eight years, the federal deficit continued to grow and grow, and now that the Republicans are out of the White House, they are wringing their hands over the continued rise in our deficit, like they had it under control while they had one of their guys in the presidency.
Again, regardless of whether they are from the Red party, or the Blue party, there is very little difference in substance to what either party does. An obvious and logical question would be, then why doesn’t a third party fill the void? The answer is as easy as it is disappointing; they can’t. To put it bluntly, both the Democratic and Republican parties are essentially federally subsidized. Both parties are entitled to receive federal monies to run their campaigns, and federal monies means tax payer money, and tax payer money means your money and my money. Third party candidates are not entitled to these dollars, so essentially the system is rigged to where both parties will virtually always be in power, and both parties have a vested interest not to kill the goose who laid the golden egg. Essentially, they have no reason to provide actual change, they instead have incentives to maintain the status quo; and that is them staying power. Sure they will pay lip service to the issues that might sway the majority of voters one way or the other and get your vote; but they have very little intention of actually messing up their cash cow. Heads they win; tails you lose; think of that the next time you go to vote.
No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. (James Madison)