Michael Gene Sullivan and Velina Brown ended their November 2010 e-newsletter with these interesting facts:
“Out of every 100 Americans of voting age in this past election about 42 voted. That’s 4 out of 10. Out of that 42 percent a little over half voted Republican. That averages to a bit over 2 Republicans, to about 2 Democrats out of 10 people. The great difference between the 2008 and 2010 elections is that this time out of every 10 voters about 2 people didn’t vote at all, and on average less than 1 voted differently than they did in 2010. That’s it. There was no tidal wave of discontent. The great secret of our Democracy is that our national destiny is decided by 2 out of every 10 possible voters, and that ‘mandates’ are – despite what we hear from the winner and the media – normally less than a quarter of the potential voters. Remember that every time some pundit tells you what ‘The Nation’ wants based on this last election, or some Reactionary starts talking about a mandate from ‘The American People.’ The Republican ‘groundswell’ of 2010 consists of 2 voters out of 10: 1 consistent vote and 1 person who may have changed their mind. Based on this election we have no idea what the majority of Americans want, and neither do the pundits, politicians, or pollsters.”
I think what this could possibly say is that what many Americans want–I hesitate to say “majority”–has nothing to do with the options given by our political system. Perhaps we are disillusioned to the point of absolute indifference. Perhaps we are tired of this sham of a system, which contains an even bigger sham of a party system. Shams within shams, lies within lies, old money or new money as long as it’s money, false hopes and no viable alternatives…
When will we just say enough already, give us a break, shut the fuck up, can we please get on with our lives and stop listening to this propaganda coming from all sides, all curmudgeonly reactionary on one side and all milquetoasty on the other, any so-called “alternatives” being merely additions on a spectrum of the binary rather than any actual new thinking, because god forbid we think outside of a system which as far as I’m concerned is not only just broken but wasn’t even built properly, so how on earth will reform do a damn thing, it’s like putting a band-aid on a zombie?
Not that I’m bitter. Not that it’s all hopeless. Honestly. Where I am, what I’m seeing, among younger socially-conscious people in particular, is a shift toward a more local consciousness, a community-oriented way of living–dare I say something akin or on its way to New Tribalism (a la Daniel Quinn)?–where “choice” means more than the lesser of two evils or 10,000 kinds of packaged bread at the supermarket, where “grassroots” actually means from the people and not from an anything-but-local megacorporation, where an economy can at least begin to think about supporting people-first not product(ion)-first.
And any way this may manifest itself is, as far as I’m concerned, just as valid an approach to a good life than putting stock in a hugely-national dehumanizing system that we get to kind of participate in once every couple of years.
(For the record, I did vote, however slightly begrudgingly.)