Tweedle dumb and Tweedle dumber
Electoral politics in these United States are a farce. Voters are faced with two variations of the same basic theme. The differences between the two parties are chimeric and defined by the ostracized and ignored constituent factions which they discount as "fringe." Ironically, those same factions are recognized as the respective bases of the very parties that ignore them once the leadership offices change hands.
So, for example, the same people who ardently supported President Obama in the 2008 election, the people who voted for meaningful health care reform, for investigations into the misdeeds of the previous administration, for an end to the war in Iraq are now deemed the "left-wing" of the Democratic Party. Their views are suddenly "out of the mainstream."
Or, on the other side of the coin, the people who vociferously advocate deportation of dark-skinned peoples, who condemn lifestyles that do not adhere to their oppressive and fearful Puritan mindset, who advocate full scale war on all fronts, the people who voted for Junior Bush, are regarded by the Republican Party as "right-wing."
Each election cycle, candidates dole out platitudes, pound their fists with feigned passion, and, once elected, go right back to serving the interests of their true constituencies: the moneyed elite.
As Ani DiFranco puts it: "Who's gonna be president? Tweedle dumb? Or Tweedle dumber?"
The other night, on the eve of the Democrats' embarrassment in Massachusetts, a (friendly and informative) canvasser came to my house to talk about an alternative. It's called "fusion voting," and in simplistic terms, it allows "minor" parties to cross-endorse candidates. A bill allowing for this recently passed the Oregon state legislature and has been signed by Governor Kulongoski. That makes it a law. So this new paradigm is on its way.
It works like this: a candidate may run as a Democrat or Republican, but also receive the endorsement of a third party. For example:
- Gloria Goodjobs
Democrat, Working Families
- Rich White
Republican, Aryan Nation
There are other states that use this model. For example, New York, which has at least three parties, as was demonstrated late last year with the Republican fiasco in the 23rd Congressional District.
A quick perusal of the Working Families Party website (which, as of this writing, is in need of an update), confirms that the values it espouses are in line with my own. Specifically:
- Affordable health care for all Oregonians where our health, or lack thereof, is not dependent on individual wealth and subject to private profiteering; we support national single-payer health care consistent with the principles of H.R. 676
- Opening doors to opportunity through higher education and technical training that does not result in indebtedness for our citizens
- Affordable housing, a stop to predatory lending practices, investment in new affordable housing development, and protection of existing affordable housing.
- Promotion of green family wage jobs whose legacy leaves a clean, secure, and sustainable environment for our children.
- Supporting fair trade, defending our jobs against outsourcing, wage and benefit cuts, and corporate raiding.
- The right to organize and reach a first contract free of intimidation, discrimination, and illegal terminations.