you only think you have free choice in the election

To all the americans in the audience:  you don’t really live in a democracy.  In the US, it’s a ‘false diversity’ election.  Due to the two-party system, both parties try to claim 50% plus one, so they really aren’t that different.  Yes  the democratic party may have a slightly better slate than the republican party, but neither one can get a dominant enough majority to make radical changes (hence the creeping rightward movement since 1968), and neither one wants to alienate voters.  Third parties are discriminated against by the electoral laws, and no one votes for them anyway, because there is the perception that a vote for a third party candidate is throwing away a vote for the better ‘clothespin’ option.
If we want the US to be a better democracy, we should
  1. pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college (to eliminate the winner-take-all presidential election format)
    -Note: this will reduce the influence of less populated states
  2. restructure campaign finance laws so the parties aren’t dominated by moneyed interests
  3. vote by party, instead of by individual- i.e. cast a vote for the green party, instead of voting for a specific candidate who may or may not represent the ideals you espouse
    – this will cut down on personal attack ads, which I find distasteful
  4. improve public education so that the electorate is educated.  Osama bin Laden holds the public responsible for the actions of our leaders (and therefore considers the public a legitimate target), following the logic that we elected them to do our bidding.  If only we actually had elected them from a field of viable options.

maybe I should take Ms. Thomas’ advice and move to Switzerland (where there is direct democracy, and the living is good), or Gro Brundtland‘s advice and move to Norway (which I hear is a nice place).  But we’re all on the same rock, the sea level will rise in norway the same as it will wash away half of manhattan, and the glaciers will melt from the Alps, same as they will in the Rockies.


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