I don’t know whether I should have declared this a rant or simply listed it as a collection of sentiments this evening so I figured it might receive a couple more reads if I attach a particularly relevant title. We’re approaching what the mainstream media inevitably has begun calling the “most important election in our lifetimes” or something else as intellectually distasteful as it is deceitful. Surely this November, the highly enlightened masses will flock to their respective voting precincts equipped with their fliers, T-shirts, and ten second summaries of the political advertisement they heard on the way in; few with earnest belief, others with scraps of knowledge, and some just on the fear of being labeled unpatriotic. Whatever reason so compels you to participate in our democracy, I have nothing but respect for, of course. But allow me to indulge for a few moments and offer some insight that undoubtedly misses headline news. Take it for what it’s worth, which is virtually nothing compared to the “wealth of substance” supplied by ubiquitous political advertisements.
The seat of the Presidency is a position of power that offers very little capacity for well-intentioned change. That is to say, individuals who seek to better humankind find that they are best able to do so pursuing other endeavors that aren’t political elections, leaving the over-worked, undereducated, and barely-surviving majority to decide for themselves who is the lesser of the two evils—which is almost always the case in presidential elections (with the exceptions realizing their futility once elected and who inevitably end up participating, all the while salvaging what’s left of their conscience). Honest people who want to change for the world for the better don’t go on to become politicians; they simply pursue practical fields that allow them to be compassionate people, and that allow them to make real contributions to humanity.
We’re told that we live in a society with numerous political and social issues with which to formulate opinions on and hold them—dearly—as our beliefs. Political culture has it that these beliefs are worth defending and in order to ensure that a proper defense is sought, it then becomes our duty to elect representatives to do so. But it is exactly political culture that is the problem. It is precisely because of this political culture that human progress of the kind necessary for decent survival will continue to fall tremendously short of the rate at which it’s capable of progressing—which is surely exponential. It is the reason we still debate contraception, abortion, and gay rights. It is the reason we reconcile our government’s persistent commitment to a narrative thatjustifies the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians. It’s the reason we’re divided.
What responsibility do we really have as citizens of this country? It’s certainly a task we are most evidently incapable of bearing. It’s a responsibility that the system does not allow for in the lives of most – honest research and inquiry into the issues. And it’s not our fault. We break our backs day in and day out so that we can feed our families, not so that we know all 950 pages ofAffordable Health Care Act. We live to survive, and for a vast majority of people in the world, this is a constant, minute-by-minute ordeal. But this is exactly the position our rulers want us to be in, regardless of who they are. They know that if we were to gain a sophisticated understanding of the doctrinal controls that suppress our freedoms and rights in this country, then we would be taking a stand against the injustice that is spread abroad, expressly evidenced—in part—by movements like Occupy.
Consider the current administration – President Obama. Obama inherited a foreign policy situation that (to this day) has virtually no universal approval or grounds for justification. In the previous election, he earned my first, freshly registered vote solely on the basis that I felt he had a conscience that if put the test, would overcome the moral obstacles that would stem the perpetuation of militarization in the West and the implications that result. I was mistaken. The United States continues to carry out war crimes in their deliberate killing of civilians courtesy of newly efficacious drone technology by virtue of whatever grand narrative you wish to attach – “The War on Terror.” Might continues to make right.
Solutions don’t exist in the framework of electing new “skilled public speakers,” and certainly not from the indiscernible Republican base. Solutions only arise when individuals begin thinking for themselves and developing independent minds. We have to live outside the vacuum of political culture. It takes a lot of hard work and a long time but as does anything worth working hard for.