Friday, June 10, 2011

Democrats and Republicans seek to make slaves of us all

This picture represents my pretensions of rebellion

The other day, I received my Voter Registration Form in the mail.

This is a somewhat momentous event – because, as a newly minted American, it'll be the first time I'm allowed to register to vote!

One of the questions asked was which party you want to register as – Democrat, Republican or Independent.

It's a surprisingly tough choice.

I know many of my friends would think I'd sign up as a Democrat. After all, I'm pro-gay marriage, reluctantly tolerant of abortion, against the death penalty and believe in a 'fair' progressive tax system.

But I'm no Democrat.

Because the fundamental founding concept of the Democratic party – as envisioned by the federalist founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams – is collectivism: Governing for the "greater good."

And while I understand the sentiment behind that concept, I don't hold to it. The Democrats, I believe, govern with the intention of creating more and more dependence on said government.

Why? Because more dependence on the government creates more loyalty from their voters. This is why some of the groups that support the democrats most passionately – like trade unions – are also the groups that benefit most directly from their policies. The democrats basically buy votes with the taxpayer's own money - and ultimately threaten to make us all slaves to the government.

But before Republicans start patting themselves on the back, I really don't see them as being very much different.

Instinctively, I'd like to register as a Republican because the values to which that party are supposed to stand match the things I truly love about America.

Founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (author of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution respectively) were the spiritual fathers of the Republican party and their overriding political philosophy was one of individualism – the single characteristic that has made this nation great (and I aspire to the most.)

But the modern Republican party is a far cry from the party of Jefferson and Madison.

One the one hand, you have the social conservatives it panders to. For a party that claims to represent "freedom," it certainly does a grand job supporting policies which restrict people's personal, political and religious freedoms.

Hey, I appreciate you guys fighting for the right to let me own a gun – but how about letting me buy a beer on Sunday morning, smoke a joint, marry another guy or see some naked breasts on television? (Not that I'd want to - sounds like that would be a busy weekend!)

But the worst are the people on the other hand. The ones who organize the hypocrisy and graft that fuels the Republican political machine.My biggest criticism of the Republican party is that they are just as eager to turn American voters into dependent slaves as the Democrats – they just use a different means to do it.

Using the bugbear of socialism (a concept very few Republicans genuinely seem to understand) and championing some twisted vision of a "free market" (ditto) they sell their core demographic on buying into an "American Dream" that renders them little more than indentured servants.

I'm experiencing this twisted work ethic myself, right now. I'm writing this at 9pm on a Friday, still at my office computer waiting to present some work.

Americans work longer and longer hours, for less and less pay. Jobs are less secure than they ever were. Wages haven't gone up since 2000, while the cost of living has increased in real terms by more than 10%. Things are worse for the American worker than they've been for a half century, but they're willing to put up with it all for fear of losing their next pay check.

The real chains of Republican indentured servitude, however, come in the form of the broken health care system they vehemently defend from any "improvement."

Americans are de facto slaves to traditional employment because such a system is the only way millions of them have access to affordable family healthcare. I would have continued freelancing myself, were it not for the fact that freelancing meant buying family healthcare that cost more than my monthly rent.

And the Republican party encourage the tightening of these chains.

They are eager to make Americans as dependent as the Democrats are. This is why they allow healthcare benefits to be stripped (corporations like Wal-Mart and McDonalds can 'opt out' of requirements Mom & Pop stores have to abide by.) This is why they've shoveled people's retirements from safe and steady pension programs onto the 401k roulette table. Every single day, the Republicans encourage an environment which takes more and more money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans and into their own election coffers (through corporate donations.)

The Republicans and the Democrats both want to enslave the American people.

Why? Because they see that as the only route towards political dominance – and we, like obedient bipartisan sheep, eagerly trot ourselves off into their grazing paddocks by registering to be part of one form of slavery or the other.

I shouldn't be this way.

I realize now – in a way I never have done before – that the so-called "American Dream" isn't the big house, or the shiny car, or the three happy kids we get told it is in the TV commercials.

The "American Dream" is the same one our founding fathers had – independence.

A different type of independence, certainly. Economic freedom, rather than political. But no less real, and no less worth standing up and fighting for.

The real "American Dream" is to not be the pawn of some praetorian government, nor the chattel of some domineering corporation. It's to make your own destiny, be your own paymaster and make your own destiny.

That's the freedom I aspire to – and the independence I believe our founding fathers sought in this great land of ours.

Until they recognize the power of that dream, or my capacity to make it real, both political parties are unworthy of my support.

1 comment:

Hortensio said...

First off: Congratulations!

Regarding the meat of your post, the socially conservative wing always annoys me around primary time in particular - I see a Republican candidate that I like, and then he or she starts going off on the perils of homosexuality. Never puts me in a good mood, does Republican primary season. (Sure, if I were American I'd hold my nose and vote for their candidates [usually], but I'd feel dirty doing it.)

As far as health care reform goes, well. . .

The plans each party puts forward are always so full of pork and escape clauses that I'm never sure how they're meant to be an improvement.