As most of you will know by now (or at least I would hope so), the US mid term elections just went by, with republicans making huge gains in both the house and the senate. Many on the left are calling it a bloodbath, and really, it was for those on the progressive side.
I am not going to overly focus on that however. Partly because some would say its not my place, being a citizen of another country. And because, all in all, the democratic process was followed.
Heavily influenced and polluted by a flood of corporate cash, yes. But none the less, democratic.
And there was the matter of the lack of voter turnout. A big problem in all elections, but notorious in the midterms. A problem that nicely illustrates a problem I have with the whole Russell Brand “Do not vote” philosophy.
I understand what he is going for, the whole system of government is corrupted damn near to the core by outside influences. So one could make the argument that participating within it (as a means to somehow get better results) is the definition of insane. And as such, its better to try and fix from the outside then from within (whatever that means to those like Russell).
Which is nobel.
But it is risky. You may think that you are a part of the solution, by leaving yourself out. But even if you count yourself out, the current system still remains. The corrupt still try an yield as much influence as they can. The side affects of that power play (pollution, climate change and who knows how many more) are universal. Were all in the same boat and biosphere.
Which is an interesting to ponder, considering that the vacuums of liberal and progressive midterm votes was easily filled in by the republicans.
But it was not all bad. This post has a silver living.
In areas where seemingly “progressive” initiatives were put on the ballot, they all (for the most part) passed easily. Minimum wage was one of those in a few states, and it passed. Marijuana was another in 3 states an DC, and it passed in all but 1, Florida. In truth, had the initiative (medicinal Marijuana) been on the ballet anywhere else, we would be celebrating. But being that there is a 60% requirement to constitute a majority in Florida (for some reason for which I don’t understand), the measure failed, with its 58%. Talk about a piss off.
I am happy for the strides made in the publics perception of marijuana. 2 nations are legalized so far, now 5 US states (DC=City/state(?) ). Minimum wage is also a reality for some hard working americans.
But there are questions.
For one, whether or not all of the districts will honer their states choice, or follow federal laws (im assuming they have a choice).
And of course, there is the elephant in the room that is the GOP majority in both the house and the senate. Minimum wage is not in their “interests” best interests, so im guessing that they will do what they can to fight it.
Marijuana could go either way, but same thing applies.
I am not so worried about the next 2 years. Obama had his veto pen to keep them somewhat under control. But it is after 2016 that I worry about. If the republicans get the presidency then they have the wheel of the nation.
Not just to dismantle such initiatives as the Affordable Care Act, Minimum wage requirements and Marijuana legalization (by enforcing federal laws VIA the DEA). But also to potentially gut or dismantle such watchdog entities as the EPA, FDA and others. Anything that somewhat protects Americans and the planet, but proves a pain in the ass for the corporate donors.
Maybe my views are somewhat alarmist, and overly pessimistic. But considering the riff raff that made it in to office on the R side, im not sure what to think.
Liberals and progressives that feel disenfranchised by the system and the Democrats, keep this is mind.
The democrats leave a WHOLE lot to be desired, one can not deny. But they are still better then the main alternative.
As for the Russell Brand types, such a stance may be helpful when there is a chance that big changes will happen. But until that day, then ideology only makes the problems worse, by guaranteeing the will of the biggest donors and the voters they dupe.
Though this piece is primarily surrounding US politics, it holds up in any nationalized democracy or republic.