The Candidate and Bob Roberts
The Republican elephant has just taken a massive dump in the living room.
When we first moved to Indonesia, many of the local folk couldn't believe that we would want to live here rather than AMERICA. After all, AMERICA was the shining city on the hill, free of graft and corruption, unlike life in the archipelago.
I tried to explain that the States were even more corrupt than Indonesia, but that the corruption was well hidden by lawyers and the appearance of propriety. However, scratch around a bit and you would find far more bribery and power trading than anything in Southeast Asia. After all, the US is, or should I say was, among the richest countries in the world, and the most powerful. Whenever you have that much wealth and power concentrated in one place, corruption is bound to follow. Given the scale in the US, the proportional scale of corruption follows.
We never had any illusions about America being a great and wonderful concept (we distinguish between a concept and a place). We spent our formative years traipsing after a politician father, meeting the likes of LBJ and Nixon, lobbyists and handlers. Even at a tender age, we saw and heard enough to know that what we saw on teevee was not what really went on.
A politician is a manufactured image, not a human being. As any movie star will tell you, once you have achieved this straw-man world, the rules change and things one normally wouldn't do are suddenly OK, since they can be passed off on image rather than the person.
Our lack of illusion was further confirmed by the O. J. Simpson trial. For readers outside the US, this was one of the most-watched trials of the 90s, and the result confirmed to any thinking citizen that the US justice system was for sale, albeit at a rather steep price.
Now comes the Colorado Fiasco. For those who don't follow the subtleties of US political races, the Republican primary/caucus in Colorado was cancelled and Ted Cruz was named the winner and given all the delegates without a single vote being cast. The US has now joined the long list of plutocracies, both now and in the past. Not that we ever doubted this fact, having seen it in action backstage, but the fact must now be obvious to the entire world.
One must stand in awe of the blatant audacity of the Republican swindle. It is one thing to covertly manipulate computerized voting machines or hanging chads, but to openly disenfranchise a million voters to prevent Donald Trump from getting the nomination is just...well, plutocratic.
The US is on the verge of a revolution. Whether it will prove to be another 1776, or 1960s remains to be seen. The anger and frustration of the great mass of citizens, though, is palpable. For one half of the official US political party to simply cancel a vote and declare a winner is just astounding.
Some might point to this fiasco as a sign that the US is no longer a democracy, but we hasten to note that it never was. The Constitutional system of electing a president was designed to remove 'mob rule' from the equation. The States were supposed to create systems to gauge the will of the people in each, but ultimately the State legislature would select Electors, who would then meet in the Electoral College. The one receiving the most electoral votes would then be president, and the second-most would be vice president
The original design was intended to reduce 'democratic' influences through several layers of representative bodies. The concept of political parties was not considered, though they arose almost as fast as George Washington retired. Over the centuries, the system has been modified to increase the illusion of popular vote, but still dilutes democratic elections through the primaries of the Party (with two factions), and through the continued use of the Electoral College.
What is so stunning about the events in Colorado is not the disenfranchisement of voters (that began with the country in the 1700s). Instead, it is the open demonstration that the People have no real say in the selection of a president.
This repudiates the long-running propaganda that the US is the world's greatest 'democracy' and its claim to some moral authority, when it comes to imposing political systems on other nations. The US is not now, nor has it ever been a democracy. At best, it is a representative republic, though we might argue that, as well.
The US is, by design, a plutocracy, operating in the interests of wealth and assets. The Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers make frequent reference to fear of democracy and mob/majority rule. No amount of flowery prose and pseudo-philosophical clap-trap can change the fact that the US has never allowed direct control of the levers of government.
If Colorado tells us anything, it is that at last, the mask is off.
And people wonder why we don't bother to vote.
Here Thar Be Monsters!
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