Government by the Few

society

 

The truth is that American elections are not determined by the mass of the nation’s citizens. About half of the qualified voters go to the polls. And who they get to vote for is predetermined by hidden hands. Mysterious special interests compete for control of the levers of power in Washington – and in state capitals across the land. You and I take what they choose to give us.

They skillfully give us just enough to keep us from taking to the streets with rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Some people don’t get nearly enough, of course. They and their children go hungry. If they get sick, they die. If they are desperate to have an abortion, they are obliged to seek out some backroom quack using coat-hanger technology. They can be raped and beaten – and even murdered – with impunity. They have no rights.

But these people are not politically relevant. They are scattered, uninformed, confused and lied to. The power brokers fill their heads with nonsense of every kind, from celebrity gossip and sports melodrama to false religious mythology. A massive drug culture robs the desperate millions of the will to resist oppression.

And the political system is persistently fine tuned to stop even those who wish to vote from exercising their franchise.

In their desperation and confusion, the denizens of the American underclass turn on each other, gang banging and looting, scamming and bullying.

Meanwhile, in the corridors of power, psychologists and propagandists devise new and ever more persuasive means of manipulating public opinion. The media, now owned almost entirely by a corporate elite, passively goes along for the ride.

A carefully gerrymandered Supreme Court reshapes the law of the land to favor the few. And a skewed justice system keeps the peace with bias toward minorities and compassion to those who can afford it.

This is the world’s premier democracy?

That’s what I learned in school.

And it must be true. Despite its obvious flaws, American society is attractive enough to draw millions of immigrants from around the world. There are waiting lists 20 years long of people who want to live in this country. Hundreds of thousands of desperate Latin Americans swarm across the border from Mexico, enduring unspeakable misery and risking their very lives in the process.

I, too, chose to become an American. I could be living in Jamaica. I could be living in Canada. I could be living in Britain. But here we are – Sandra and I and our cats – in Lakeland, Florida, USA.

None of it makes sense.

Obviously, I am missing something. Obviously, there’s something about human nature that I cannot grasp.

If you know something that I don’t, would you please share it with me?

Click for more on American voting patterns.

Click for thoughts on America’s class system.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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