While I agree, in principle, with the position taken by several LRC
contributors that elections today are little more than a scam supporting institutionalized corruption, I still intend to cast a ballot on Tuesday. I have no illusion that my vote – if it’s even counted correctly – is going to make one bit of difference in terms of my own vision for the future of political governance in this nation, or even in my own local community.
For me, it’s far more personal than that: I am gleefully looking forward to helping vote Rick Santorum out of his Pennsylvania senate seat. And when he goes off into the political sunset, or is dragged away kicking and screaming (a far more preferable outcome), I can sleep soundly with the conviction that I had at least a microscopic hand in ending his career.
And I would posit that, should there be an unusually high voter turnout in this midterm election cycle, a major reason would be for that one guilty pleasure – the desire for revenge against incumbents who’ve done us wrong.
While in theory, government “derives its just powers from the consent of the governed”, to borrow from Jefferson, it is clear to me that such consent would have to be withdrawn virtually 100% in order to provoke fundamental change, so I can’t abide by the “don’t vote” argument quite yet – it’s clear the public isn’t ready.
My reasoning stems from this case in point: In 2004, a junior Republican PA State Rep named Kelly Lewis won a close re-election campaign in the 189th district, which includes a part of Monroe County in which I reside, on the usual promises of representing the “hard working people” and “lowering property taxes,” etc. Within 90 days of that re-election, however, Mr. Lewis abandoned both his promises to supporters and his post, by resigning to take a more lucrative job as a technology lobbyist in Harrisburg. There was a special election in 2005 to replace him. A Democrat named John Siptroth won the field. The total voter turnout for that special election was only 17%, and yet the PA Secretary of State declared the results valid
. This is really scraping the bottom – 83% of eligible voters in the 189th failed to care enough to show up – but the results still counted. It became clear to me, at that moment, that there would have to be literally no turnout at all, before the political class would question their premises, and perhaps not even then. If a single individual voted, they would find a way to declare that a legitimate election! (Contrast this to countries like Costa Rica, which regularly enjoys 90% turnouts or more. Costa Ricans take their democracy and their politics seriously. Perhaps it’s because every party – and every candidate – has a voice in the debate, as opposed to just the two largest parties.)
But democracy is too ingrained in our national consciousness to just quietly fade away, and until it does, we may as well try to find some enjoyment in the process. If sitting incumbents at the Federal level deserve to be punished at the polls for their mangling of the Iraq war, the economy, the dollar, and immigration, why should incumbent elected officials at any level of government be given a free pass?
It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again - it’s time for a purge – all incumbents must go. Period.
Let’s face it: government at all levels has descended to a base level of lies, corruption, and double-dealing. Everyone who is an elected official today is part of the problem. They should go – all of them. From the Speaker of the House to the county animal control officer. As far as I’m concerned, every elected politician at every level of government is responsible for the mess we’re in today, and it’s time we swept them all out.
Will that change anything? Fundamentally, probably not. We’ll be throwing the bums out and replacing them with new bums. But if all the numbers stayed the same, the Democrats would now control Congress – just not with the same Democrats the party expected. Replacing all incumbents would throw the entire political sphere into complete disarray. The political class would be totally flummoxed by such an event, and they might even decide that listening to their constituents now and then would be a good idea, as they could no longer take “the voters” for granted. This means that “business as usual” at any level of government would be difficult to achieve, from the fear within the “new bums” that they could be next, in another 2-4 years.
We, the voting masses, could begin to get a real head rush from the raw, non-violent exercise of grassroots power in this way, and decide that a “purge” every few years might be a good idea. We might keep our freedom (even get some of it back!), lower our taxes, have more responsive government, who knows where it could lead?
But to start, we need to get out of our heads the mindset that “Yeah, Congress sucks, but my
guy/gal is OK.” No, s/he isn’t…s/he’s part of the problem, s/he’s part of the rot that has overwhelmed the system – they need to go – all of them.
If you’re tired of all the nasty ads on TV and the junk mail filling your inbox, vote against all incumbents
If you’re tired of the hypocrisy
of politicians violating every ethical principle they claim to have, vote against all incumbents
If you’re sick to death of an interventionist foreign policy
, vote against all incumbents
If you tire of allegations
that those in power cynically manipulated commodities markets
to temporarily lower gasoline prices in order to retain votes from those they perceive to be so easily swayed, vote against all incumbents
If you consider this man
to be Evil Incarnate, vote against all incumbents
If you’re tired of pols lambasting you with the notion that stem-cell research amounts to wholesale baby-killing
, vote against all incumbents
If you’re sick of the hackneyed, warmed-over arguments
concerning gay marriage, vote against all incumbents
We have nothing to lose by attempting a clean sweep, and everything to gain. However, if/when things do not improve, as hoped, perhaps it will dawn that the process itself is indeed flawed, and it’s too late to fix it. At that point, larger numbers of people might be more willing to accept the non-voting argument, along with those already leading the way in Monroe and Pike counties.
Then, perhaps, by 2012 or 2016, they will hold an election and no one will come – that will indeed be our day of true liberation.