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Op−Ed | The hypocrisy of the United States political system

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 07:11

baramney

MCT

The political system in this country is chock−full of inconsistencies and contradictions to the extent that it is rendered dysfunctional and undemocratic. Possible detractors would posit that this system, with its faults, is the best in the world. That is debatable. Others would ask me what alternative I have to posit, but I, as a university student, am not a political architect. Therefore, I have none. None of these criticisms, though, actually refute any of the points that have been made here; they simply redirect the focus of the discussion. I do not plan to vote today. I do not want to participate in this parody of an electoral process. To those who would say that blood has been shed to provide me with this right, I respond accordingly: Indisputably, the blood of Americans was not shed to propagate the growing and rampant corruption of the government’s function. I do not want to legitimize this process with my vote.

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Stephanos Karavas is a senior majoring in history. He can be reached at Stephanos.Karavas@tufts.edu.

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2 comments Log in to Comment

Skaravas
Wed Nov 7 2012 07:54
Excellent article with one exception - your attempt to justify the "inaction" in not voting as a means to effecting change or possibly making a statement. If you were boycotting a product, I would agree. Your action does not reap any just rewards in effecting change. If everyone followed suit with your action, then we would be leaving the vote to who runs our country to fewer people (with personal agendas). There is no benefit or effective change in doing that. You may be correct in your reasons as to how our two party system/electoral system is not a democratic process, but what a person does from there is critical. How can we change this? How can we implement a long term strategy for change? Anyone can complain, anyone can abstain from voting, anyone can dig their heals in the ground and say "no this is wrong." This doesn't take courage. It is the person who actually puts thought into changing this system and implements a plan to effectively change it or at the very least becomes the catalyst for change. Not voting is a cop out and just a weak mans approach to not solving an obvious problem. You are a Tufts undergrad, go back to the drawing board and start thinking strategically, how you and others can possibly effect change as a follow-up....then implement....one person can make a difference. That would be worth seeing!
2 minutes ago · Like
alum2010
Wed Nov 7 2012 00:58
Our two party system provides the illusion of choice but in fact only reinforces the broad elite consensus on the vital issues which define the nature of our relationship with the rest of the world and the distribution of power among our economic classes. Nowhere in this election did you see the Democrats and Republicans debate the necessity of a global U.S. military presence, question the expansion of the surveillance state or raise the issue of serious reform of the tax code and the massive entitlements the government provides to corporations and the rich in forms of various tax loopholes, rebates and other subsidies. The wealthiest classes in America which set the agenda for these campaigns are united on these issues and therefore do not compete with one another on them in the campaign. Instead our campaigns are increasingly becoming more about minor issues which are exaggerated to humorous effect. What Freud called the narcissism of small differences has taken over our political process and Republicans and Democrats will debate late into the night on things like abortion, immigration and gun ownership which if decided either way will not jeopardize the current system of power and just serve to distract everyday people from the real issues where they are getting a raw deal.

Unfortunately, the fact that I can predict with absolute certainty four years from now our next presidential election will be a similar charade of the two "chosen" parties parading their candidate in idiotic conventions financed by the same financial and corporate interests who benefit from billion dollar advertising campaigns designed to lie, deflect and obfuscate real issues should tell you all you need to know about our "free" electoral process. It is anything but, and is in fact a highly orchestrated and predictable affair designed for us to "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

To the Democrats on campus I say to you a vote for Obama this year is a not a vote for freedom, justice or equality, it's a vote for 4 more years of Guantanamo Bay, a cowardly and corrupt Justice Department unwilling to press criminal charges for the crimes of America's political and financial elites (think Bush's White House counsel and the torture memos; Wall Street CEOs lying to regulators and Congress) and a Geitner-led Treasury Department committed to placating Wall Street at every turn - even after they lead us into the greatest depression in 80 years. It's a vote for 4 more years of a military budget that's doubled in the last 10 years and will leave our generation holding the bag for a debt that was given hand over fist to select military contractors.

Kudos to the author for having the courage to write an editorial on a campus where most people will defend the Democratic party to unbelievably naive ends, but to him I say non-voting is not the answer. Third parties provide real opportunity for voters to express their dissatisfaction with our two party system and have made real impacts on elite decision making in the past when they have demonstrable support in elections.

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