Lamp Post at Hotel Jardines de Nivaria in Tenerife
I am currently reading Simone Weil’s essay “On the Abolition of All Political Parties”—a subject to which I will return in a few days. In the introduction by Simon Leys, I found this splendid long quote from G. K. Chesterton’s Heretics:
Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good—” At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.
That Guy Stepping Off the Seesaw Has Just As Much Power As the Politician
On this election day (for me, the California Primary), I am reminded of one of the things that Donald Rumsfeld said in which I actually believed: Democracy is messy, sometimes incredibly so. This horrible election year of 2016 brings us a contest between two politicians that many Americans would readily damn to the infernal regions.
But we seem to have bought this whole two-party system thing. But what happens when people start to lose faith in both parties? Just because I donated to Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, my mailbox is full of solicitations from Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her minions. Although I tend to vote Democratic, I still consign those solicitations to the circular file with as much alacrity as an ad from Herr Trumpf.
Why would I donate money to a political party? I vote for candidates, not parties. And if the party cannot produce a good candidate, why then, bugger the party!
Yet I still vote. There I was at the Stoner Recreation Center at 7:15 this morning to vote for Bernie Sanders, despite knowing that Hillary Clinton would clean his clock. That doesn’t matter: If she gets in, then she has to listen to the forces behind Sanders or go down to defeat to the candidate that Jon Stewart would refer to as Fuckface von Clownstick. That would be … very … bad.
Thanks, But No Thanks!
It seems to me that political parties exists solely for the purpose of concentrating and funneling contributions for candidates and propositions. If there were no political parties, Sherman Adelson and the Koch Brothers would have a much more difficult task attempting to make television and print advertising buys.
I no longer make contributions to political parties, partly because I detest all political advertising and because I feel that every candidate I have ever supported as let me down in a big way. Consequently, instead of calling myself a Democrat, I see myself as a left-leaning Independent. I will probably continue to vote mostly Democratic (while holding my nose), but do not have any interest in their marketing problems. All political telephone calls are quickly dispensed with: “I’m sorry, I view myself as an anarcho-syndicalist and your candidate is just not toeing the line!”
Why support a gang whose primarily role is to get my vote at any cost, and then proceed to turn every political promise into a prevarication? As if the whole spectrum of American politics can be compressed into the platforms of two political parties! Let there be dozens of parties: It would force them to talk to one another.
If you think this is impractical, turn your attention to Iceland, where the fastest growing party is the Pirate Party.