Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Game Of Gaming
Our Political System

Many of us have known this for a very long time. Occasionally, the media make an effort to cast light on this terrible truth: Our shaky political system is thoroughly rotten and both major parties spend most of their time gaming it. The conundrum is nobody seems to want to do anything about this problem.

The most recent examples were the open primaries in Ohio and Texas. The media revealed thousands of Republicans and conservatives crossed over and voted for Hillary Clinton. These usurpers and the media gleefully reported their undemocratic maneuvers to distort the vote totals. The reason given was they got their marching orders from rabid radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh. He and other wing-nut propagandists incited this ruse to keep Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination. The continuing struggle would keep Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at each other's throats while the Republicans would fall in line early behind their party's leader, John McCain -- creating a pseudo-psychological political advantage. The plotters, also, believe Hillary's high negatives make her easier to beat than Barack.

Our ramshackle political system invites these kinds of undemocratic interventions. To this day, we still don't know what really happened in New Hampshire. According to the polls, Barack Obama had a commanding dozen-point lead, going into Primary Day. There was little reason to believe Hillary Clinton had a chance to win New Hampshire. Yet, miraculously, Hillary had her emo-moment and a four-point win. This incident wouldn't be a cause for concern if there were other examples of unusual voter behavior we could highlight. But, there are none. No other aberration of this magnitude has occurred. Could this be a mere coincidence? Hardly. Dennis Kucinich sensed a fix was in. So, he sued for a complete recount and a full investigation. The outrageous incoherence of our voting system provokes every form of mischief. And both major parties game it for their own crude advantage. The political sausage made from this peculiar process is completely inedible.

These mean-spirited machinations are specifically designed to drive voters away from exercising their constitutional rights. Our election system is so broken it's the laughing stock of the entire world. Yet, the alleged leaders of both major parties refuse to correct the craziness. It's to their selfish advantage to keep things festering just as they are. This situation is well beyond intolerable. Furthermore, there's reason to believe the "Hillary Conspiracy" goes even deeper.

Someone has to explain how two important states like Michigan and Florida got to where their delegations will be banned from the Democratic National Convention (DNC) over a minor matter of the dates they chose for their respective caucus and primary. Parties to this ridiculous incident are pointing fingers at the others. Absolutely no one wants to take responsibility for this blatant blunder to resolve a calendar issue. Yet, the only logical explanation for this sorry state of affairs is this result was intended from the very beginning.

Although Floridians were told their primary votes were voided by the ban and the candidates were told their accumulated delegates wouldn't count, Hillary Clinton campaigned strongly there despite the restrictions. In Michigan, an agreement was signed by every Democratic candidate to avoid campaigning in the state. Yet, Hillary canvassed Michigan heavily. Now, she says the Florida and Michigan delegates she collected must be seated at the DNC at the expense of the other candidates who played by the rules. She even spouts this statement with a straight face. If this whole sordid scene weren't so tragic, it would be humorous. But, it isn't. Why should this injustice to the Michigan and Florida voters (not to mention the candidates who were sandbagged by the Hill-Bill-y Horde) benefit Hillary Clinton? The ugly, relentless effort to game our ruined political system begets these awful antics.

Hillary Clinton is being artificially kept in the nomination race because it's politically advantageous for both the Democratic and Republican Establishments. Neither group wants Barack Obama to succeed because he's deemed an outsider. Worse, he's considered the People's Choice. And, if there's anything our irascible Establishment types really hate, it's a genuine outsider. God forbid, he may actually want to change things! And change them for the better, too. Now, you know, we certainly can't have that.

Limbaugh and his red meat acolytes rant against John McCain, while doing everything possible to destroy both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. This is being done because it's already known the Republicans can't run on Bush's record or their destructive agenda. So, they shepherd the voters toward choosing the lesser of two evils or the evil of two lessers after they destroy the credibility of the Democratic candidates. Rush and his raiders will be aboard the McCain bus come the fall. He'll pretend to dislike McCain, then, allege he's forced to support him because the Democratic choice is more reprehensible. The putrid politics of personal destruction will have won again. And Americans will be fed four more years of futile failure. Pathetically, we're witnessing how democracy is destroyed from the inside out.

Every day, there are more stories of violence and instability in the news. The recent cross-boarder dispute in South America, among Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela, is illustrative. Is it just an accident the president of Columbia, Alvaro Uribe, picked a fight with his neighbors just in time to influence the American presidential election? Mr. Uribe gets billions of dollars in military aid from us both overtly and covertly. The only arrow the Republicans have in their quiver is national security. It's obvious they will play the fear card in this contest, leveraging every international incident to gain support. Leaders like Uribe know a Republican president will reciprocate their indirect involvement by boosting US military aid to them. They will, in turn, use the aid to suppress the cries for democracy in their own nations. Meanwhile, our World War machine will grind on and on, using the blood of untold, mass-murdered innocents to lubricate its whining wheels.

At this point, it's evident America has two choices: We'll either end this charade by replacing our bankrupt political process with a uniform, transparent and democratic system or we'll continue climbing atop the ash heap of history. The circumstances confronting us couldn't be more critical. We can't go around the world proclaiming democracy's virtues while our own political process is riddled with the cancerous corruption of undemocratic dirty tricks. The choice is clearly ours. Ultimately, we must remember we'll have no one to blame but ourselves for our political importance or irrelevance to the world.

Franklin L. Johnson