Americans are undergoing another case of the mass amnesia for which they're justifiably famous. I suppose "amnesia" is too kind a term. So distracted are they by their technological toys and reality TV shows, they can't be bothered to pay attention to the things that matter. That aloof and unknowable segment of the American electorate that describe themselves as "moderate" are telling pollster after amused pollster that they are unhappy with the way the Democrats have responded to the economic catastrophe that was visited upon this country two years ago. Their solution? Putting the people who are responsible for that catastrophe back in power. I'm not making this up.
Then there is the core of the Democratic vote, the so-called "base". Like the half-witted six-year-old who didn't receive the toy he wanted for Christmas, they're in the process of having a blue-faced tantrum. Because they didn't get all of that nice hope and change stuff that Barack Obama promised them two years ago, they're just going to stay home and sulk on Election Day.
Now, let's all just take a deep breath, shall we?
I am in a unique position. I now make my name by writing about the train-wreck that American politics has become in the last thirty years. As a consequence, the lower my country sinks into the depths of societal dysfunction, the higher my stock rises. If you are a frustrated Democratic voter whose plan is to neglect your civic responsibilities on Tuesday, November 2, I have but one message for you: Don't do it for me.
I get the feeling (call it a silly hunch on my part) that the American people don't fully appreciate the implications behind the prospect of the GOP taking back the House and the Senate in January. I know what you're thinking and I agree. The Democrats are beyond worthless. Let's face some serious facts here: Any party with a pathetic and befuddled old Andy Gump like Harry Reid as their leader is going to have - "issues" shall we say? But the thing that has to be remembered about our elected Democratic representatives in Washington is the fact that - for the most part - their hearts are in the right place. The same cannot be said for the Republicans, They long ago ceased being a political party. They are now an organized criminal enterprise. If that sounds to you like the extreme ramblings of an embittered Lefty, that's fine. But I am convinced that within a decade, 20/20 historical hindsight will prove me correct. Call me in ten years and we'll compare notes.
How many times do I have to say this? They are no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln. They haven't been for nearly a century - 1912 to be exact. That was the year that Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the Republican Convention in Chicago expecting to be nominated as the candidate to face Woodrow Wilson in the general election in the fall. It wasn't a pipe dream on TR's part. After all, he had easily defeated the incumbent president William Howard Taft in the primaries. He had every reason to believe that he would be the GOP's standard bearer that year. Unfortunately, the people who controlled that party had other ideas. They knew damned well that Teddy's progressive policies were a direct threat to the stranglehold that the plutocracy had on the American economy. The nomination went to Taft. That was the end. The progressive wing of the grand old party died right then and there. Twenty years later when Roosevelt's distant cousin Franklin picked up the tarnished progressive banner, he would do so as a Democrat.
I've always wondered what old Ted would think of his party were he to rise from the dead. It doesn't take much insight to conclude that he would be furious that the "malefactors of great wealth" are now calling the shots. I am not implying that he would register today as a Democrat. Knowing as much about TR as I do (and I know a lot) my guess is that he would form a third party, like he did in 1912 when he formed the Progressive or - as it was popularly known - the "Bull Moose" party. It's a fairly safe call that he would be disgusted with the entire American political system.
The question needs to be asked of the voters: Why are you people hellbent on putting these assholes back in power? What the hell is wrong with you? Why can't you understand that you're about to commit economic suicide? Can't you see that the failures of Barack Obama are mostly (although not exclusively) the result of Republican obstructionism? As when Clinton was president, their primary goal is to see to it that he (READ: you and I) fail - utterly and completely. If these people are allowed to take power again, it means one thing: We're screwed. Just look at their history. What part of that don't you get? HELLO???
And to the base: What good will staying home on Election Day do? Is it your intent that the economy be sent even further into the hole just so you can make a stupid and worthless point? What possible sense does that make? I know! I know! Barack Obama has not turned out to be the liberal firebrand that we were all praying for when he was elected two years ago. The guy has been positively tepid in too many areas to count. I guess it was foolish - and maybe even racist - to assume that because he is black he would be a reliable progressive.
But we should not dismiss him as a total failure! He has quite a few accomplishments under his belt that he (and you) can look on with pride. By staying home on Election Day you are virtually guaranteeing that the extreme right wing will seize the moment in January, and that nothing will be accomplished to your benefit between then and 2013. They are already saying out in the open that they plan on doing to him what they did to Bill Clinton: They plan on persecuting him by opening up endless investigations and issuing countless subpoenas. As they did twelve years ago, they will paralyze the executive branch of our government. I don't think we can afford to go through that again, do we? By staying home on Election Day you are also assuring that Obama will be a one-term president. Is that what you want? Think about it.
Take John Boehner - please. Do you really want this reactionary little nincompoop serving as speaker of the house next year, setting the agenda? He is now trying to get us to swallow the idea that they are going to do things differently next time around. Are we going to be stupid enough to take him at his word? His party is now holding the legislative process hostage because they insist on continuing tax breaks for a class of people who already have more money than they know what to do with. Do you think for a minute that their position on that issue is going to change once they reclaim power? If you do, I have a stove made out of balsa wood that I'd just love to sell you. Any takers?
Ask yourself the following question:
"Do I really want Mitch McConnell serving as senate majority leader?"
I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do know this: Apathy ain't the way to go. Trust me on this one, kids. Stop pouting and get moving. There is too much at stake. If you refuse to participate in the democratic process this year - of all years - you'll deserve everything that happens to you.
Tom Degan is a 51-year-old video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America’s national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher.