One of the most revealing aspects of our politics under the Democratic-Republican two-party state and duopoly system of government is the fact that dishonesty is taken as an operational given. The idea is expressed most succinctly in the old joke: How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving. To assume that we are being lied to – by our representatives, by government agencies, by their mouthpieces and cheerleaders in the mainstream and "independent" media, by advocacy groups, by corporations, etc. – is not cynicism. It is realism. To assume the opposite – namely, that we are not being lied to – is hopelessly naive.
Ironically, however, in many cases such naivety reveals itself as just another form of dishonesty. Americans know very well that their interests are not represented by the Democratic and Republican parties. This plain fact is evidenced, for instance, in the prevalence of the argument in favor of the "lesser evil" between the two major parties by hucksters on both sides of the duopoly divide. How then can we make sense of continued support for Democrats and Republicans by the American public? Perhaps the simplest explanation is that such support is predicated on a willing suspension of disbelief. Voters must ignore what they know to be true of political reality under the two-party state in order to justify their continued participation in the system. They want to believe. This was as apparent in the Obama campaign's "Believe in Change" slogan, as it is in the Tea Party's continued faith in the GOP. In this way, people who know better sustain an ideological fiction that runs counter to their lived experience.