A crisis of faith

A crisis of faith

Chicago : IL : USA | Aug 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM PDT
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“Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse” ― Joseph Brodsky

It's time, here in the USA, for that mad dash to Nov. 6. Like the Olympics, this is the time when the average viewer sits up and takes notice of track and field, if it's ever going to happen at all. They say politics is local, but how many people regularly attend all their town council meetings, run for local office, help create or abolish local ordinances?

No matter. The spotlight is primarily upon media appearances by President Obama, his challenger Willard Mitt Romney, their respective legions of partisan hacks and hypes, the commentators and pundits with a variety of in-your-face or hidden agendas who liberate consciousness from critical-thinking or participatory experience that might render this mass-spectacle redundant. After all, the dog and pony show is just whistles and bells accompanying the vaunted "ground game"...the winning of hearts, minds, sweet and sour deals, that are so frequently discussed with an amazing lack of specific names, dates, places. Typical political fun, really: all sorts of wild charges and messages repeated as solemn truth without the benefit or handicap of independently verifiable facts.

Distorted, but not lost in this glare, is some admirable attention given to Voter ID Laws and the possible connection of these laws to the practice and strategic goal of voter suppression. Rather than complain about the very vague Big Picture, the general lack these media forays want for vivid historical context and clear evidence of motive, I'll just give you a few fun facts and anecdotes for your consideration the next time you wish to join millions of voters who are duped by themselves or TV into believing democracy is a spectator sport, or worse yet, joining cynics who ignore billions of dollars invested in electioneering and lobbying for an electoral process which presumably doesn't matter.

First, a bit of self-disclosure... I am not, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party. I know that will be a bitter disappointment for those of you badly wanting a voice from outside the capitalist system. I suggest a trip to planet Mars and some feedback from the socialist U.S. Space Program rover or a hard look at the real politics of China and Vietnam, if not North Korea. Gus Hall is dead. Get over it.

Also, from March 2007 until December 2008, I was a volunteer and later an organizer for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. It can be said I have a bias in favor of the president. I voted for him.

However, I first met him in 2000 as a political opponent. He was running unsuccessfully for Congress. I thought he was way too much of an establishment guy who was way too hung up on being the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review. I did not then, nor do I now, believe the United States is one Harvard Lawyer short of achieving the critical mass necessary for legislative greatness or any sort of clue about the needs of Wage Slaves like me, or dead-end kids gunned down on the streets of Chicago as if this were some random Third World place. It can be said that I have a bias against the president.

Meanwhile, just as an aside, I wonder... how is it that the ever-growing profusion of prisons and sweatshops have not brought happiness and prosperity, or even relative safety, to the masses? Can we blame Mexicans, blacks, labor unions, Muslims, Jews? Homosexuality? It really is easier, and I can prove it makes more sense, to blame George W. Bush, but I might just as well insist he was a good and righteous man who was a victim of circumstance, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

But seriously folks, amid so many distractions, let's focus again on the simple mechanics of counting or not counting votes.


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Voting in America
A voter prepares to mark his ballot. (Image: AFP)
Brodzky is based in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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