Imagine a sheep, as he is being served up to wolves, voting between a knife and a machete—a false choice giving him the illusion of free will. You don’t have to imagine too hard, this exact scenario plays itself out every year and every election cycle as we get duped into believe that voting between Democrats and Republicans is the highest elevation of freedom. We call the overgrown cancer we have in the District of Caligula a “representative Democracy”. Rarely in the history of the world has a bigger farce been perpetuated upon a people.
Just think about this for a minute; the poor, working and middle-class line up to vote on a regular basis as they elect millionaires who are selected by the largess of billionaires. The founders of this nation envisioned a Congress that was of and by the people who would govern with the public interest in mind. Alas, all revolutions devolve right back into the tyranny that gave birth to them. The mendacity of King George was timid compared to the onerous ways our government burdens us and places shackles on our God given rights to have ownership and pursue happiness.
A third of our paycheck is taken out right from the top and that is just the beginning of the pillaging. The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department work in concert; corporations and federal bureaucrats collude to take pounds of flesh as they come after the 2/3 of our remaining paychecks with meat cleavers and hatchets otherwise known as manufactured inflation and fiat currency. I am going to keep mentioning this fact every time I write about the economy and our governance: did you know that the Federal Reserve is a private business? The Federal Reserve is an exclusive club of banking executives who are not accountable to Congress, the President nor to any one of us.
The same “agency” responsible for setting the interest rates that determine the winners and losers in the marketplace and has the biggest influence on the direction of our economy is comprised of corporate bankers. People keep talking about shadow governments and the “deep state” and by extension make something simple exotic and conspiratorially complex. It’s actually pretty straightforward; our government was hijacked by multinational corporations and private conglomerations a long time ago. They are not accountable to us, they are owned and dictated to by the checks of aristocrats and moneyed interests.
This is why Congress is scheduled to be in session for a grand total of 133 days this year. This is not some fluke of chance, on average, our “representatives” in Congress spend less than 1/3 of their time doing the work they were elected to accomplish. While the rest of us are lucky to get two weeks of vacation time a year, our Senators and Congressmen get 232 days off a year. If you are a president, you can vacation all the time in Mar-a-Lago and play golf daily while the rest of us are in distress. Ain’t Democracy swell!
What do our “representatives” do exactly for the other 232 days they are off each year? In theory, they are supposed to fly back to their districts and states, hear from their constituents, find out about our issues and respond to our concerns. There is theory, now here is reality. At most, our representatives hold a couple of town halls a year. I’ll be kind and say they host 10 such events yearly. That leaves 222 days a year where they are neither working on the nation’s business or listening to us. One wonders, what could they be doing for seven months out of the year?
I’ll give you a hit, it starts with mon and ends with ey. Our representatives are spending almost 3/4 of their time raising campaign funds and groveling for money from corporations and billionaires. This duopoly in DC is nothing more than a sham where we are given a pretense of freedom while the people we entrust with power are neither responsive to us or accountable to our demands. There is a reason why only 7% of registered voters approve of the job that Congress is doing.
I wrote my Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and my Congressman Gerry Connelly more than three months ago and likewise dropped off an open letter at their offices—not one of them has responded to this letter from their constituent. Meanwhile, here is Tim Kaine holding court with military-financial complex executives as he gloats about billions more that is set to be funneled into the war making racket while he pays little attention to the teeming masses of homeless veterans who are stacking up throughout the Commonwealth he is supposed to be representing. Our votes are empty forms of patriotism, a civic responsibility that has been neutered by the weaponized checks of the oligarchy and euthanized by the corporations that are stifling us. Click To Tweet
There is a reason that 66% of Americans do not vote, they have realized the uselessness of the symbolic act that is the ballot box. After all, it’s not who votes that matters but who finances the counters of the elections, the candidates who run in them and the enforcers who preserve this status quo. More than 2/3 or Americans refuse to vote and of those who do, a vast majority have an unfavorable opinion of our leaders. In other words, we are being led by an illegitimate government.
“It will then have been proved that, among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost.”
These words were spoken by Abraham Lincoln in his defense of Democracy and his appeal for inclusive governance. Sadly, the mendacity of an assassin, empowered by the conspiracy of silence, used the bullet to abort the ballot that delivered America’s 16th president. Ever since that fateful night at Ford’s Theatre, very wealthy people have been silencing Democracy by bullets or bribery. Our acceptance of this fraudulence and our meekness in allowing this shell game ensures that we pay the cost while the 1% profit.
The height of insanity is to do the same thing over, and over, and over again and expecting different outcomes. Cyclical change has us believing that voting to transfer power to the other party will lead to a new day in America. This is why Congress has a lower approval rating than potholes yet more than 90% of Congressmen get reelected every election cycle. We are too wedded to personalities and political parties as a people to realize that devotion to ideology is the root of this very system that is making most of us suffer.
Just today, Barack Obama was honored with a portrait that was hyped as a newsworthy mention. Meanwhile, Obama’s masterpiece carnage that is Syria is one step closer to a regional conflagration that could very well start the war that will most definitely end all wars—and humanity along with it. In other news, Donald Trump is set to unveil his infrastructure plan that is supposed to make America great again. Spoiler alert, this bill is another ploy to give billions to corporate interests by “privatizing” roads and handing public lands to conglomerate interests. To wit, $1.5 trillion tax scam showers billions upon the wealthiest in the world only to pay for this boondoggle by cutting social safety programs for the least among us. Trump is not making America great, he is making our economic graves.
Yet there is hope. More and more people are waking up to the deception of this duopoly and seeing that there is no difference what so ever between Democrats and Republicans. They might differ on the margins, but when it comes to monetary policies and transferring wealth from the many to the 1%, Democrats and Republicans are as identical as the Olson twins. Rather than voting between a knife and a machete, how about we stop being sheep, stop bleating partisan talking points, become independent thinkers and vote for something truly different? #BallotIsBullet
“We, the people, are not free. Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means we choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. We elect expensive masters to do our work for us, and then blame them because they work for themselves and for their class.” ~ Helen Keller
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Check out one of the first couple of Ghion Casts that I recorded where I was discussing the state of our politics and the need to dismantle this duopoly in DC.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.