Culture Fail: Two Candidates, Zero Options

While there can be no doubt that there exists a wide rhetorical gap on social policies between the two candidates of the great American horse race, one has to ask just how different were these two candidates on the rest of the issues?

When one delves beyond the rhetoric and looks at the policies embraced, espoused, or enacted by the candidates on tax policy, foreign policy, on healthcare, on domestic spying, and whistleblower prosecutions, one begins to see that there really wasn’t much of a difference between Obama and Romney other than on the social wedge issues.

Given all this similarity, and the billions of dollars spent on the campaign, one has to ask, “Why weren’t the candidates more different’? Why does it always come down to just two guys every four years? Why for the love of god do they all seem to be lying?

As it turns out a great many people have been asking this question of late. Truth be told there are a variety of reasons why our political system has broken down. From money dictating access to the political system to a fourth estate more afraid of losing access than of not reporting the truth, the mechanisms intended to keep our political system operational have been left unattended and unmended. Of equal importance is the astonishingly low turnout for, and limited knowledge about, vitally important midterm and local elections. It is during the midterm, and at the local level, that the parties have used the system to perpetuate their existence and increase their power. When few people, or low-information voters, turn out to the polls, ideologues and the ignorant run our government.

Fundamentally our political system is broken because we as a citizenry have become Snookified. Instead of educating ourselves on the issues and candidates, we as a people spend our time playing video games, watching reality television, or shopping for the latest fashion or gadget. We are woefully uneducated and are therefore easily taken advantage of, swayed by populist rhetoric and emotional appeals to authority.

We allow ourselves to be lied to, misled, and generally abused in the name of free market capitalism and big government social welfare.  Neither candidate actually addressed the issues of globalization in a realistic manner. Neither candidate actually addressed the governmental overreaches and senseless bureaucracies that have driven many a small business owner batty.

Instead we were given platitudes, false promises, and bald face lies, and yet, we showed up to the polls and dutifully pulled the lever for one side or another buying into, yet again, the false dichotomy that it’s either the Republicans or the Democrats.

There exists no law that says one must vote for one of only two parties. In fact one of our constitutionally protected freedoms is the right to freely associate. So long as we as a people continue to buy into the narrative that a vote for anyone other than someone with a D or an R next to their name is a “wasted vote” we can expect candidates who look more and more alike.

by William Tatum