Facebook Bitch: Why America Doesn’t Deserve Democracy

 


America simply does not deserve good government. We fulfill our civic duty of whining to our virtual friends, retweeting #occupy solidarities and Liking Obama’s fan page, but when it comes to the one opportunity to directly change the system — voting — we simply… uh, what’s on The Daily Show tonight?

On Tuesday, the country saw an insanely low turnout for the US Congressional primaries, with California being no exception. Case in point: the winner of District 2 had just 48,001 votes, second place 19,636 and third place 18,257. That’s $26.50 spent per vote (plus an embarrassing $68 per vote for self-funded fourth-place finisher Stacey Lawson), plus countless volunteer hours of blood, sweat, and now a whole lot of tears.

Results? In November, Californians will have to choose between a PAC-funded Democrat, and a Republican stock broker with literally no specific plans for what he’d actually do — there’s not even an issues page on his site — and whose community engagement is so low that he highlights Morgan Sports Car Club on his list of association membership.


“Apathy Party 2012: Because voting is for suckers”

The people had the rare opportunity to vote in someone like Norman Solomon, who actually has an understanding of national and world issues — written thirteen books, one of which was made into a documentary — and a strong track record of standing up and doing something on the issues of civil liberties, environmentalism, corruption, unjust wars and more. Organizations from MoveOn.org to Progressive Democrats of America all sent emails urging their members to turn out for Solomon. Californians blew it.

So much time, money, and effort goes into elections, so much at stake at the just the beginning of our world ecological, energy and economic crisis, yet too few care enough about themselves, their families, fellow citizens and habitat to vote.

Blame it on America’s corporate-backed culture of complacency. Blame it on some biological phenomenon that states democracy isn’t a proper governance format for humans. Blame it on Internet access, hair-color appointments, socio-economic blah blah blah.

Face it: When it comes to responsibility, Americans suck.

Conclusion?

1. Your vote really does make a difference.

2. Get-Out-The-Vote activism does not make the difference, be they positive, negative, pretty, ugly, or from this post.

3. Voluntary voting does not work. Perhaps it’s time for compulsory voting or the opposite extreme — have a benevolent council decide for us; maybe the latter is already happening in our current voting participation, but the results are typically not benevolent.

4. Lobbying is quite necessary, as there is no mandate from the people. The only way to affect government is to get a bunch of good or evil friends and force the government to do something; evil people are better at it.

Wake up America!

Just kidding. All the venti mochas at your local quad-corner Starbuckses combined aren’t enough to pry open your eyes, get you out of bed, and vote this year. Go back to sleep and dream of a dreamy tomorrow, because when your circumstances finally jolt you awake, you won’t like your waking world.

This was commentary that does not necessarily reflect the opinion of OccupyEducated.org. What do you think?

VIDEO: Occupy Politician Gets Big Money from Main Street


If you’re looking for hope in this year’s election, you might want to look at where Main Street is putting its change.

With the doors opened wide by ever-loosening campaign-finance loopholes via Congress, committees and a few devastating SCOTUS decisions, corporations are throwing so much speech into the 2012 election that it is set to easily smash 2008′s astounding record of $5,300,000,000. Obama alone is already at $600,000,000, and rumor has it, he’s set to spend $1,000,000,000.

Norman Solomon, a popular author, activist, and California District 2 candidate hoping to win a seat occupied by retiring progressive Rep. Lynn Woolsey, is betting that delivering a strong progressive message with a down-to-earth humility is the right formula to earn people dollars — money from the people who actually enter the booth, punch the chads, and proudly live with the consequences.

Here’s a highlight video I made of the interview (1:40 run time):

“There’s a myth that you’ve got to take PAC money and lobbyist money, work your way up the ladder by taking those bucks in order to get elected. Well, tell that to Bernie Sanders, getting to the Congress, getting to the Senate, over and over again without taking PAC money.” He mentioned Paul Wellstone, who like Solomon had never been elected to office before a run for a seat in Congress, was outspent 7 to 1, but his support was loud and clear from boots on the ground. “It can be done, if you believe in the grassroots.”

Indeed, Solomon has garnered the support of all major progressive political organizations. His reputation as someone who literally wrote the book on how government deception has earned the campaign $750,000 to date. But, come on, with each House-seat winner spending an average of $1,500,000 million on their campaign in 2010, with some House candidates having spent $14,000,000 already, how can he expect to do this on a dime?

“I was born at night, but not last night,” he quipped. “It takes money to win elections, but that’s not the most important point.”

Solomon said he’s been able to get support from believers not only from his district, but from individual donors from all over the country who support his message. “I can vote for them, and our values. Progressive values. We don’t want perpetual war, we don’t want Wall Street dominating Main Street, we don’t want environmental degradation because the corporations are so damn powerful… We don’t have money for healthcare, education, housing, good green jobs, environmental protection, yet the Pentagon is spending way beyond its needs, on borrowed money. People know we need to change that, but you don’t see that happening in Washington.”

Can his 1000+ volunteers be enough to beat out his opponents? Both contenders have raised over a million each. A safe bet is that millionaire novice Stacey Lawson will come through, as she’s willing to spend the most, and is footing the bill of her own campaign. But in a state where Meg Whitman, the California candidate who spent more money on her own losing gubernatorial run than any self-funded candidate for any office in world history — $50 for every vote she got — Solomon may just come out on top.

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- republished with permission from Ben Zolno