Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How I Learned to Love Our Two-Party System

If you've been living in America at any time in the past, oh, two years or so, perhaps you share my disdain for our major political parties.  The Republicans are intolerant, lying old white men whose primary purpose in life is to protect the money they inherited from their rich grandparents, while the Democrats are incompetent, lying old white men whose primary purpose in life is to protect the unions that got them elected to office.  A pox on both their houses!

And so it was, armed with my usual cranky, jaded, anti-Establishment attitude, that I perused my recently-received November 2010 California Voter Guide.  And what did I find?  The usual suspects;  the same lame rhetoric.

But wait... what's this?  Why—these look like alternatives!  New choices!  Can it really be so?

Yes, it can.  The Voter Guide includes a section called "Political Party Statements of Purpose".  Comprising 2 full pages of the thick Guide, the PPS of P includes a couple of paragraphs provided by each of a variety of political parties.  And they make for fun reading indeed.

Take, for example, the statement of the American Independent Party.  The AIP proclaims its devotion to the 2nd and 10th Amendments;  admirable, perhaps, but with 25 other Amendments out there, I'm not sure those would have been the two I would have highlighted.

I was quite interested to learn that the AIP considers itself "the party of ordered liberty in a nation under God."  Really, you have to admire a phrase like "ordered liberty", which, if it doesn't appear in an Orwell novel, definitely ought to. The statement goes on to profess a belief in "strict adherence to written law," and looks forward to the day when we will all be "[f]reed from the lawless oppression of Liberal rule".   I'm pretty sure "lawless oppression" comes from the same dictionary as "ordered liberty".

Somewhat shaken, I turned to another statement, this one submitted by the Peace and Freedom Party.  I remember these guys from my youth—we once had a polling place at my house, in the 70s.  You know, you really want to root for a party called "Peace and Freedom".  Until, that is, you read that they plan to support the many, many, MANY social services they hope to provide by "tax[ing] the rich, whose wealth is entirely created by workers, to pay for the people’s needs."  No word on what happens when there are no rich people left:  presumably "the people" will no longer have any "needs".  The party helpfully goes on to explain their guiding philosophy:  "We advocate socialism."  I can hardly think of a political credo more likely to generate voter support this election season.

Finally, I visited with the Green Party.  With everyone going green, who knows:  maybe soon everyone will be going Green.  The Green Party is in favor of "habeas corpus, repealing mandatory sentencing, and amending the Three Strikes Law"—OK, I'm with them so far, except for my sneaking suspicion that the "habeas corpus" they're promoting is aimed at Guantanamo Bay.  Makes me wonder why they don't come right out and say so, but I'd guess it's because we would not vote for them.
It's Not Easy Being Green

The Greens also believe in "ending torture and unwarranted surveillance," an idea I could perhaps get behind with a certain number of qualifiers attached.  But then, in a startling declaration that one might imagine was inserted without their knowledge by somebody who wishes to see the Greens fall this autumn, they announce their support for "undocumented immigrants’ right to work."  Oh dear.  No matter how you feel about the poor folks who risk life and limb to come to this country, legally or illegally, it's hard to imagine a sudden groundswell of support for their "right to work".

All in all, the Political Parties Statements of Purpose is a house of political horrors appropriate to an election falling only two days after Halloween.  In fact, if I were an Establishment Republicrat politician whose goal was to design a Voter Guide, the sole purpose of which was to scare voters into sticking with the major parties, I could hardly have produced anything better.

Hey, wait a minute...

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