Random Thoughts

The Farce of Elections

Early political history is filled with various monarchies all over the world based often on the divine rights of kings. Mahabharata and Ramayana are soap operas on who shall rule and the justness thereof. Similar stories abound in the Greek myths of Oedipus, Perseus etc. Dynastic change often involved murder and intrigue as in Chanakya's overthrow of the Nanda dynasty. Even in the better governing dynasties, succession often involved parricide if not patricide (before Bimbisar). Islam after Mohammed had four Khalifs (the rashidan or rightly guided) who were all murdered in intrigues for the benefit of successors. The history of the Muslim rulers of India (Khiljis, Razia Sultana, Slave dynasty, Tughlaks and Mughals) and the Turkish Sultans is rife with assassination of the ruler by his relatives. The civil war in England, the French and Russian revolution and the history of the Middle East is littered with royal murders. Even the most ancient dynastic history in Egypt and Mesopotamia shows similar patterns.

The earliest improvement in government is of the tribal democracies of the Licchavis in India and the Greek city states. Such direct democracy was only feasible in small geographic areas with small populations. This prompted Madison to opt for a republican form of government in America. The founders initially abhorred political parties and considered it beneath their dignity to canvass openly and depended on their virtue and integrity to win them election. It didn't take long for the serpent to destroy the paradise of the Garden of Eden by his machinations as Jefferson was even faster than a striking cobra. There were however clear differences in the two parties then formed. The Federalists were for a more embracing Union of the states with more power to the federal government at the center while the Jefferson Republicans were for greater state sovereignty and a weaker center.

The cowardly and immoral compromise wrote the handwriting on the wall, that led to the tragedy of the American Civil War. The economy of the North depended on finance and manufacture and that of the South on agriculture which could only thrive on slavery.

India has chosen an even stronger form of federalism permitting political dissolution of hostile other party state governments by president's rule for flimsy reasons.

In developed countries with a long history of republican government there are usually two or three major political parties covering the right, center and left. The newest evolution in politics is that after the long and phenomenal success of one party (Thatcher conservatives in Britain and Reagan Republicans in America), the other major party (Labor in Britain and Democrats in America) have essentially become like clones of the winners in their newest avatars (Blair in Britain and Clinton in America).

Thus both parties have become centrists and beholden to vested interests for their ever increasing campaign finances. The electorate has become more apathetic with reduced voting. It is dumb to begin with in all countries, but further distracted by irrelevant inflammatory issues by a media conspiracy controlled by the rich and powerful owners via dishonest reporters with little integrity and lesser intelligence.

India and some developing countries have taken the path of smaller regional parties based on ethnicity or language with leaders without ability, integrity or intelligence and a known corrupt or crooked history. The Indian media has the same malady as the American press, while the electorate is ignorant, susceptible to bribery and mechanically, serially and predictably exercises an anti-incumbency bias as a punishment for crimes, corruption and incompetence in office, without seeking or creating better alternatives.

Let us address some specifics. The recent BJP victory in Karnataka, India is marred by the election of the eighteen party members with ongoing criminal cases against them, including attempted murder. Similar instances occurred in all parties' elected legislators in other states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat. What can one expect from a government composed of such scum buckets or those who ally themselves with such characters? It is inconsistent with the rule of law or good governance. It would be better to vote for an unknown clean candidate from another party or an independent, but the knee-jerk attitude of the electorate to alternately choose one or the other crooked criminal but well known parties, is the definition of insanity or mental retardation.

The majority of Americans know that the current Bush presidency has been a national and economic disaster, yet his approval ratings are 30%. Even after conceding a sampling error of plus or minus 5%, that leaves a quarter of the population unfazed by his destructive blunders. At most 5% of the 25% may like him because he reduced their taxes (at most 5% of Americans earn 200,000 dollars or more annually), but that means that a fifth of all Americans are stupid enough to ignore their own economic interests and charge like a bull seeing red on the basis of their hatred of abortion, gay marriage or minorities. These people are sure to vote for McCain.

Anyone who is familiar with the Clinton era with his passage of NAFTA, oval office sexual adventures, pardon of Marc Rich and Puerto Rican terrorists for benefitting Hillary, obscene enrichment post-presidency, refusal to name the donors to his library, Hillary's lies about Bosnia and threats to nuke Iran would shun her like the plague. Her vote for the new bankruptcy legislation for huge donations by banking interests and to the detriment of all credit card holders should make the public shun her,, but her use of the magnet of feminism attracts her women supporters like mindless iron filings, as her subtle racial innuendoes entice blue collar white males.

Obama with his smooth talk and charisma, appeals to the young, the educated and the affluent, but there is no real substance to his policies. The only real solution to the healthcare problem is single payer non-profit universal coverage like in many European countries. To avoid raising the antipathy of insurance companies with deep pockets and ability to pour money in rule 527 coffers to finance ads against him, he betrays the public and will eventually do little or nothing, if elected. Visceral anti-communist foreign policies by prior US governments without understanding the legitimate political, economic and nationalist interests of Vietnam, Korea and Latin America led us into stalemated and lost wars and alienation in the western hemisphere. Even then America was trading and talking with the Soviet Union and China but had no relations with tiny Cuba and overthrew governments in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela etc. Now many of these countries are implacably hostile to us.

Obama, in order to pander to the Cuban vote in Miami has changed his positions, as his recent speech there proves. His flip flopping on the unjust occupation of the West Bank by Israelis to garner the Jewish vote and avoid being jinxed by their lobby means he will continue to support unjust barriers, settlements and oppression and increase terrorism to the detriment of both America and Israel. Currently there is talk that the Bush administration is trying to bribe Iraqi legislators with millions of dollars to continue the American occupation by signing a base and SOFA agreement as the UN authorized sanction for occupation expires at the end of the year. Obama is unwilling to categorically state that the Iraq war was a mistake and illegal and he will totally withdraw all forces ASAP. Basically America needs cheap and reliable Iraqi oil and wants to maintain a presence there to threaten and control the Middle East. While this maybe immoral, if he thinks it is in the national interest, he should explicitly explain it to the American people. The entire US election soap opera is a farce in which no one asks and no one tells and trivial inconsequential issues are built up as straw effigies for incendiary debate and discussions to obfuscate and entertain the stupid and ignorant public.

The farce of elections has no meaning. If the public had any sense they would shun the democrats and Republicans and vote third party candidates into power and they may even prove to be better and national salvation. At worst they would zap the current two parties back to life and honest discussion of issues and pragmatic solutions for our energy, economic and military crises.


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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