And the Winner Is ...
By Dennis Loo (10/4/12)
So the airwaves and Internet are all ablaze about how Romney won the debate last night.
As ... if ... that's ... the ... point.
You know who won? The people who run this country - if the terms remain that so and so won and so and so lost.
Who lost? The people who buy into accepting the terms of the debate as one of either the ruling class figure with the red tie or the ruling class figure with the blue tie winning.
What elections do - and debates as a prominent element within that do - is not what most people think that they do.
Elections aren't held for the people to decide what will happen in their society for the next several years.
(Ask yourself: if you had billions of dollars in the bank and your industry was making trillions in profits over a decade - as the oil giants do - would you subject your power and wealth to the whims of "one person, one vote?" Would you let the people and their representatives decide what happens to your booty? Would you let your lavish riches, your precious yachts with your mini-submarines and helicoptors, your high priced call girls, your tax-write offs, your expensive champagne, the fact that you can afford to spend $330,000 on a miniature toy house complete with A/C for your daughter, and the fact that you can decide who is the president of foreign countries, be decided by the unwashed hoi polloi? Get real! Wouldn't you make sure that those in public office did what you wanted and that tax laws and the judicial system saw things your way? And if they didn't, wouldn't you make sure they found out who's really the boss? And if they still didn't pay attention, would't you make sure they lost their reputation and office by a scandal that you made sure happened? And if you weren't like this, then you are the exception that proves the rule. Look what people are willing to do in order to have far, far, far, far less than that! Look at what the leading rich men in this country were willing to do when they faced mere reforms from one of their own who was trying to prevent revolution - they plotted a fascist overthrow of FDR.)
As P. Sainath points out in his current article at Counterpunch ("Obama Can Keep the Change?"):
[E]conomist Paul Buccheit points out in Nation of Change: “Based on IRS figures, the richest 1% nearly tripled its share of America’s after-tax income from 1980-2006. That’s an extra trillion dollars a year. Then, in the first year after the 2008 recession, they took 93 per cent of all the new income.” Corporate profits doubled in less than 10 years. As Buccheit writes: “Corporations pay even less than low-wage American workers. On their 2011 profits of $1.97 trillion, corporations paid $181 billion in federal income taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state income taxes (2%), for total income tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20 per cent of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state and local taxes.”
And yet, given these alarming facts and the evidence of the destruction of our lives and the crumbling infrastructure that litter the landscape around us, neither the blue tie nor the red tie ruling class representative uttered the words "inequality." Perish the thought! And the moderator, PBS's Jim Lehrer, who was reportedly simply outraged to hear that he'd been chosen as moderator because he was a "safe" choice who wouldn't ask tough questions, apparently got over his outrage and decided to prove that he's a media pussy by not even being able to enforce time limits on the candidates, let alone ask any tough questions, let alone mention the dreaded facts of yawning and growing inequities. No, Virginia, this debate and this election are a charade. Smoke and mirrors designed to conceal the realities and to rope people into thinking that they are restricted to the narrow range of choices that the ruling groups are willing to provide. Lehrer comically pointed out repeatedly that "this shows a real difference between you two for the voters." "Would you agree," he asked the candidates, "that this shows a difference between you for the voters?" And of course, blue tie and red tie readily agreed with that, like bobble-headed dolls.
Elections as they are held now are to give the people the impression that the people are the ones deciding these things because if enough of the people knew the truth, there'd be a revolution. (As Henry Ford said: "It is well enough that people of the nation don't understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there'd be a revolution before tomorrow morning.")
So elections are the convenient and necessary fiction to prevent that unacceptable alternative of revolution - you know, revolutions, when the people actually take things into their own hands in the most democratic of ways possible.
Elections don't decide public policy.
Just look at what people thought they were getting when they voted for Obama in 2008.
So those who have been paying attention (and that ought to, but apparently doesn't, include you, Samuel L. Jackson - motherfucker wake the fuck up!) can't help but notice that Obama hasn't done what he promised he would do.
Elections are designed to set the table of what is acceptable and within the realm of the possible and what is off the table and to be considered out of the question.
That is why both Obama and Romney are planning to cut Medicare. Why both of them don't want to fiddle much with corporate taxes and both of them are Wall Street's BFF. Why both of them want to put the squeeze on Iran and both of them consider Israel their BFF. Why both of them are educational "reformers" who are interfering with our students learning how to think critically. Why both of them are ok with using torture, except that one of them won't use waterboarding and the other thinks waterboarding is fine as are all of the other techniques.
If people are willing to accept that Obama can renege on his promises wholesale, can in fact implement policies that have made Bush and even Cheney green with envy - I can just see Dick sitting there thinking: "How come we didn't get to have a kill list that we could openly be using to off our political enemies? That Barack is having all the fun!" - then we are no better than a battered spouse who is willing to accept whatever our spouse is doing and pledges to stay with him/her as long as s/he says s/he is "sorry and you know I'm only doing it because I love you."
Do we love them? Can we not divorce ourselves from this malign game with its all too real horrid consequences, for ourselves directly and for the world as a whole?