Here’s what I know about the conspiracy theories that “both candidates are controlled by the same Powers”, or that the elections will be stolen through mysterious machine tampering: to the people who embrace them, they are both pleasurable and comforting.
Pleasurable, because they are self-congratulatory: “I’m too smart to be fooled. I know what’s REALLY going on.” Nice stroke to the old ego.
But more insidiously, they are comforting because they absolve their supporters of any responsibility.
If it’s all determined by corrupt conspiracies beyond our control, well, then, we don’t have to feel responsible for the outcomes, do we? And we don’t have to bother to make an effort to get out the vote…or even bother to vote ourselves.
So convenient. Their hands are clean, you see?
That self-congratulation is misplaced, and the excuse-making scurry from responsibility is cowardice. A lot of people have died to be able to vote, and once they could, things changed. You think we’d have Title IX if women never got the vote? Anti-discrimination laws if black people had never been able to vote? Regulations on polluters, if only the “corporate powers” really had any influence?
That storyline is a weak set of excuses, and it needs to stop.
Our system is far from perfect, but our votes DO determine who serves in office. And those people DO make the decisions about issues like those I listed.
Those who hope for equality, justice, and curbing the excesses of power and private interest in the name of the public interest have always been the underdogs. Honestly, they always will be—though there is a lot we can do to improve the system, starting with getting rid of Citizens United.
Corporate power and the influence of the wealthy is, and always will be.
But the idea that we can’t do anything at all—that elections are a charade, so we shouldn’t bother with anything but empty gestures—is a sorry way for the people of this time to avoid their turn to shoulder the banners of the suffragettes, of John Brown and WEB DuBois and MLK and Joe Hill and Emma Goldman and Eugene Debs, of Rachel Carson and David Brower, of the women who led the garment workers’ strikes in NYC and the miners of Ludlow and Matewan, of Chavez and Milk.
It’s a sorry set of self-congratulating excuses, and I have no patience for it. Too many have died over too many years to bring about too much progress for those who inherited all their advances to throw them away through laziness and self-satisfaction. It’s wrong, and it needs to be called out.
Smugness is the farthest thing from what you should be feeling if you buy into this crap. Quit kidding yourself. Get down from your high horse, stop telling yourself how smart you are for “seeing behind the curtain”, and do the work of being a member of this society.
At publication, the Dragon was FED UP