Fed up with the two-party system? Perhaps you are part of the problem too.

In an extensive post at Witch's Will, Kenoshamarge reflects on the state of politics in the United States and sees the ideology of the two-party state for what it is, a ruse:
It occurred to me recently, while bemoaning the fact that we do not have a viable third party choice in this country that perhaps "I" was part of the problem. Part of the problem because I believed that we couldn't have a viable party because the "common wisdom" or the "experts" tell us so . . . I was allowing the "common wisdom" and the "experts" to shape my opinion and thus help to make it a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I am not naive enough to believe that having a 3rd Party choice would solve all our problems. Getting rid of most of the corrupt and corrupted politicians in Washington D.C., while putting the fear of re-election into the rest is what’s absolutely necessary. Add a cease fire with shooting ourselves in the foot by electing the same old pols with our same old partisan votes.
Kenoshamarge then proceeds to smash the illusion that the US is historically a two-party system by documenting over sixty historical third parties – some of which have had considerable influence over the past 200 some odd years –, profiles the Constitution, Libertarian and Green Parties and notes the hurdles to effective third party and independent political activism erected by the duopoly parties in various states across the union. The piece concludes:
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that we could have more choices when we vote. We can have more choices if we insist that those choices be made available to us in every election, local, state and national. We owe it to ourselves to look around and see what’s available. Or we can just make our selection from a very limited menu as usual. Funny thing is, we wouldn’t accept that at a Hamburger Joint but we accept it meekly when it comes to our government. If we don’t work to change that we have only ourselves to blame. [Emphasis added.]
Via Insight Analytical.


AnarchyJack said...

Some thoughts:

First, third parties will have to manipulate or dismember the "wedge issues" that the duopoly employs with considerable skill. We know that Democrats are not the party of labor or public welfare, given the decline of both during the Clinton years; we know that Republicans aren't the pro-life party, anti-immigration party, or these issues would have been addressed during terms corresponding to Republican majorities. Nowhere is this dog and pony show better illustrated than the health care debate, with a majority of Democrats playing the "pleaser" younger brother to the uncooperative GOP minority. To expose this as the melodramatic political theater that it is might draw off duopoly support.

Second, we are a nation of rubberneckers. Here in Southern California, it doesn't matter if there is a fire, a wreck, a breakdown or a cop pulling someone over, it backs up traffic for miles. Such political theater outlined above is the perfect distraction, given the 24 hour news cycles. This means that third party discourse will need to focus on how we can best confront the media sleight-of-hand that detracts from the issues of concern.

Getting people to see politics as theater--especially given the olbermann's, Becks and others--shouldn't be difficult. How to get them to look away from it is another story altogether. You make this point well in your references to The Allegory of the Cave.

But this has always been the challenge for those who dragged themselves away from the flickering images.

d.eris said...

I wonder though whether it would also be effective to begin a new act in the theater of distraction to reveal it for what it is via a sort of Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt.

I also find the Yes Men's practice of identity correction very attractive, if it could be pulled off in the right contexts.

d.eris said...
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