Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Gunpowder Plot

"Remember, remember; the 5th of November; Gunpowder Treason and Plot; I see no reason
why Gunpowder, Treason;
ever should be forgot."
~ Traditional Rhyme
The 1605 “Gunpowder Plot” (or “Gunpowder Treason”) refers to a plot by suppressed English Catholics, forced to practice their faith in secret because their government gave the no choice but to submit to tyranny or fight the system the best they could.

I wrote yesterday that I found it interesting and fitting that yesterday was our election here in the US and that today was Guy Fawkes day – and this morning, I find the irony even more disturbing. America is on the verge of a political crisis and much like those conspirators in 1605 many of us find the political choices that we are given “Bad” and “Worse!”

It is the nature of the strong two-party system that we have here that any third party is non-viable. (Oh, and for those of you who believe that I am being disingenuous by omitting the TEA Party from my calculations – no, I am not. I see the Party as an invention of Faux News, and as an overwhelming number of TEA Partiers spout the Republican talking points, it is disingenuous to call them anything but “Republicans.” But I digress…

More than a third of the country now self-identifies as “Independent.” I prefer to use the term “No Party Affiliation” because (as I have stated many times before) I see the Parties as a BIG part of the problem. So why is it that (according to The Congressional Research Service) the 113th Congress of the United States had NO members who were not in one of the two parties and only two Senators who are identified as “Independent!?”

Party Breakdown In the 113th Congress, the current party alignments as of August 18, 2014:

• House of Representatives: 233 Republicans, 205 Democrats (including the 5
Delegates and the Resident Commissioner), and 3 vacant seats.
• Senate: 53 Democrats; 2 Independents, who caucus with the Democrats; and 45 Republicans.

I see the problem as being three-fold. First, there is no viable third party. Secondly, the parties control the whole process of nominating and electing the congress. And finally, the country has been so badly gerrymandered that there is almost no chance to ever remove your representative from office unless they (or the party) want the seat to change. The two parties have effectively disenfranchised a third of the country who believe that the system is broken!

How else can you explain the fact that over sixty percent of the country believes that the country is headed down the wrong track and still overwhelmingly the incumbents up for re-election won? Remember – we’re not talking about the six seats in the Senate here, we’re talking incumbents.

How is it that the congress is at an approval rating of only 14% and yet almost everyone in the Congress up for reelection retained their seat!? Again – part of that is that they had (in most places) only two choices; the rest of it is due to the fact that the districts have, over the years, been drawn to almost guarantee a reelection of the incumbent.

Except in those few places like Colorado (the so-called “Battleground States”) where the outcomes are still driven by the voters. But even here, we had only the two parties to choose from. That is where “Citizens United” comes into play. There was an absolutely OBSCENE amount of money poured into this election!

In the Senate race here alone, over $27 million was spent to convince us that one of our candidates is a dishonest lout and the other is a lout who is not honest. That amount of money is roughly equivalent of the entire annual household income of 460 Colorado families! Think of the good that money could have done if it weren’t going to smear two men (who largely have the same viewpoints) solely because of the color of the type and the letter placed before their name.

Besides, with all that money (much of it untraceable and coming in from outside the state) YELLING at us, telling us nothing about the issues and only what the Parties wanted us to hear, how in HELL is a voter supposed to become informed!? You’re not of the mistaken assumption that the vast majority of Americans is actually going to work at it, are you?

No, the Parties fear an informed electorate as much (if not more than) they fear the competition that a viable third party would introduce. So long as they hold all the cards, that is to say as long as it is their game and they are the sole arbiters of what the rules are, they are guaranteed to win and the status quo will be maintained.

“Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”
~ John Basil Barnhill

No, I am not espousing violence of any type, but so long as the game continues to be rigged against the people of the United States, the people will continue to live in fear of their government – fear induced by the parties that run that government (can anyone say ‘death panels’?) as a means of keeping the gullible voting for them.

And I am not talking out of my hat here when I make the claim that my fellow countrymen are gullible and uninformed! There have been repeated polls which show that an outstanding number of Americans are in favor of the provisions of the “Affordable Care Act.” These same polls also show that there is an overwhelming dislike of “Obamacare.” The fact that these are the same thing does not seem to change the opinions of those people most vehemently opposed to Obamacare. Many beneficiaries of the ACA are those most vocal in the opposition to Obamacare.

Obamacare was a big issue here in Colorado even though the president’s approval rating is three times as high as that of Congress and the fact that the ACA (as enacted here in Colorado) is wildly popular! It makes no sense.

Sorry for the length of today’s screed… Oh well, the election is over. I suppose that tomorrow we will start seeing ads for the 2016 Presidential race!

Wherever you are today, I hope you enjoy this (brief) respite from political attack ads!

Don Bergquist – November 05, 2014 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

No comments: