If you’ve been reading here, you know that I have been writing a series of essays, titled Socialism, American Style, essays that are more of a voyage of discovery for me,,, an attempt to find a uniquely American approach to the concept of socialism. Although I’ve put the essays temporarily on hold, I have continued to work on the concept. last week, while doing some research and writing down my thoughts, I had an idea, something a little different, which may or may not be one of those big ideas you just happen to stumble upon like someone groping their way through the dark… a flash of light, maybe, a serendipitous thought that starts with a question…
In the United States, certain trends in the political realm have resulted in what can only be called a conservative bias in both political parties, marked by corporatism and autocratic tendencies, the result of influences that are subtle, even invisible to the electorate, but which lead to an untenable condition of economic and social inequality that feels as though we are going backwards, not forward into any recognizable semblance of a better world.
For instance, a firm cultural bias toward specialists, so-called “experts” has become increasingly evident in government. Technocrats, we call them, or we did at one time. Today? Their role is less visible, but their influence? More profound.
Both parties love them and employ them regularly in roles that often usurp those which our Constitution reserves to our elected representatives. They save legislators time and effort by providing their “expertise” in writing legislation, so our Senators and Representatives don’t have to do the work of research and needn’t try to understand the complexities involved. Unfortunately, these technocrats also bring their predilection for satisfying their industry’s own special interests and their corresponding professional biases to the task as well. The common welfare of the American people will always and thus be of little… if any… consideration for cause in the drafting of legislation or the writing of policies affecting the corresponding commercial interests of their unelected authors.
“What’s good for Goldman Sachs is good for America.”
Accordingly, we have people from the insurance industry composing legislation like the Affordable Care Act… lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry composing the language and provisions for Medicare Part D… or “experts” from the alumni of Goldman Sachs and other financial organization recruited by the Executive branch to write the policies by which the same institutions will be regulated.
Fox in the henhouse metaphors, if you will, are entirely relevant here.
So… if both political parties are thus corrupted, determined to serve the interests of commerce and corporations over the common welfare of the average American… and we, the people, are limited by tradition to only two relevant political parties… both of which are dominated by wealthy families, corporate donors, lobbyists and special interests, what is the answer to our dilemma?
Third parties have seldom been successful in modern times and efforts to reform both parties from within only seem to further advance the creep of autocracy in the inevitable reactionary blow-back. And the public is further frustrated in attempts at reform by very subtle campaigns of genetically modified “populist” movements influenced from abroad and from within… and, again, by profoundly powerful special interest groups with buckets of cash and opportunistic, amoral leadership. Witness the Tea Party.
So… here is the question I posed to myself last week:
If not a Third Party… what’s the answer?
Now? I think I have it… the answer. A new idea. A way forward where there seems… at least to me… to be none. A totally different approach and maybe even a unique solution. Now all I have to do is find a way to adequately communicate its construct. So… for now? I’m suspending the essays and working on what will probably be a project the size of a book that will attempt to offer a solution to our very present and frustrating political impasse.
Watch this space.
I agree with you about a third solution that is not yet apparent, and more importantly for me – I do not believe I will see this in my lifetime. This morning I listened to a podcast that discussed “the long game” that oligarchs/industry/elite have played since the 1890’s when robber barons (here) and their counterparts overseas accumulated wealth, and set in play their ability to sway power and to consolidate that power, while throwing crumbs of democracy to the masses.
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Yes, likely change will never come in our lifetimes, but it will never come from the top down and through normal means. Our nation, due to its relative prosperity and the socialist response to the Great Depression through the Presidential administration of FDR… and due to union activism and unparalleled strength through the first 60-70 years of the Twentieth Century, we escaped the sort of violent revolution that Russia experienced and the fascist tyranny that devastated Europe, but the last “recession” brought us low in this century and the economic inequities that are growing every year threaten our nation’s stability. I never believed it would come to this, but we are definitely on the verge of a national crisis that will and must be faced.
I work for the Canton Jewish Federation and we do a lot of Holocaust education, so for a non-Jewish person I have a pretty in depth understanding of forces that led to the Holocaust. And as a student of history, I can saw that ignorance is not a virtue, and standing silent is not an option.
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