Editorial note: The Distributist Review does not formally endorse any candidate.
In part I and part II, I dealt with the Republican candidates for the party nomination, and attacked all of them roundly. Some people misunderstood the purpose of these articles. I did not write them to tell you how to vote. If you think x or y whom I wrote about is a good candidate, scribatur, fiat. I wrote rather to point out the lopsided nature of the attention given to the election of the president, that these politicians are not really solutions to our problems. Romney, Santorum, and Gringrich is more of the same, while Ron Paul at best would be a temporary breather.
Since, then, we are down to Romney, a predictable choice given the media attention, Santorum and Gingrich dropped out, and though Ron Paul is still in the race, his son Rand’s endorsement of Romney is going to seriously hinder his image, even if Romney’s nomination was not a foregone conclusion. Thus the pieces are set for the next election cycle: Obama, or Obamney. I’m not trying to be coy here when I say the only real difference between Obama and Romney is skin color. I said this about Bush and Obama in 2008. Both candidates are funded by the same Wall Street, the same banks. They both support top-down health care, they both promise intervention in Syria and Iran, and both support abortion (although Romney won’t be done pretending to oppose it until after the election). You can choose “A”, or you can choose “A” relabeled as “B”. The trap however, is thinking that if only a different guy got in, that we had any real choice. That is the defeat. That is accepting the system that in my view has been engineered for us by Capitalism and Socialism, united in the convenient marriage to bilk the populace of everything they have left before exploding a bubble that will dwarf 2008. The election to office of the president does not actually mean much other than who is going to serve Wall Street.
Moreover, I would submit to you that the purpose of Democrat and Republican parties is to manage those who identify with them. Let us imagine for a moment that George Bush firebombed Libya without congressional approval and put Al Qaeda affiliated Islamists in power who put black people into cages. Let us imagine that Condoleeza Rice was admitting that the American state department was funding Islamists in Syria to topple the Syrian regime. Imagine that George Bush signed the NDAA of 2012 which has provisions for the detention of American citizens by the military without a warrant or trial. Imagine if the TSA began its “groping” policy while Bush was president? I don’t think we need to think long to imagine the reaction from the left! The anti-war movement would be loud and ubiquitous, promoted everywhere, constant discussions would be swirling around the media about impeachment, and the old comparisons to Bush and Hitler or Darth Vader would be child’s play. Yet Bush did not do those things, no doubt he would have if asked by Wall St. Rather it was Barrack Obama who did it, and all was silent.
Now let’s backtrack to the 1990’s. Opposition to Bill Clinton from the right on military intervention in Serbia, Rawanda, the Middle East was tremendous. As I noted in part I, the Republican party condemned the Clinton administration for funding, of all people, Osama Bin Laden in the Balkans. In response George Bush ran on a non-interventionist campaign. I still recall being at a C-PAC in 1999 that featured cartoons of Bill Clinton in a police car with the logo “World Police”. September 11th comes and goes, all of a sudden Republicans become the war party and Republicans get in line, then Obama becomes the president and conservatives remain in line, while liberals pipe down rather than criticize their guy. The left-right paradigm has silenced the anti-war movement. Again, what if Bush tried to get rid of Glass-Steagal, the New Deal legislation that separated commercial banking from investment banking? The left would have gone berserk. Luckily for them, Clinton did it in 1999, so the stage was set for Bush to bail out the banks, and Obama to serve them even further. The point is now dead and buried. So the left and the right have been effectively managed toward the same position. So it could be said with so many other issues that we think are important and go with to the polls. The Party System is about managing the plebs, it is not about freedom or participation.
That is ultimately the point of part I and II, we do not have any solutions by voting in our contrived media spectacles otherwise dubbed “elections”. Now that Obamacare has been upheld, there will be many who will say we must vote for Romney in order to stop Obamacare and the HHS mandate. Are memories so short? Did we forget that Romney authored the same law in Massachusetts? I predict, and I hope I’m wrong and will be happy to offer a public retraction should I be wrong, that if Romney is elected he will not do anything about the ACA. He will proffer some excuse or else drag his feet. Nothing will be done.
So who should I vote for? Why vote? Whenever I tell people that I do not vote for president and have not since 2004, they usually, after recovering from a stultifying disbelief, say “you have to participate in the system”; or “then you can’t criticize the government if you won’t do anything about it”; and lastly “what about a 3rd party?”. I shall take these in order:
a) “You have to participate in the system.” Where did this conception come to pass? The Zephyrus blew, the Eurus turned over all the earth and suddenly we must all choose our oligarchs. Strictly speaking on a natural level, if a government is established by electing members of society to represent the rest, it does not follow that all members must choose them. The “representative”, so-called, is charged by his oath of office to represent all their constituents irrespective of whether or not they voted for them. The proximate source of election establishes the leader on whom authority is conferred. According to Romans 13, his authority is conferred by God, so in a democracy once he is chosen, he has the authority. His authority is there whether I acknowledge it or not. So why do I have to vote if I don’t like any of the candidates put forward, or if I do not think his office is very meaningful to how I am affected? At the founding of the United States this principle was understood, in as much as only property owners could vote. Those who could not vote were still law-abiding citizens going about their daily business. In fact, this is also how it functioned in Democratic Athens, although I’ll have more to say about that another time. Moreover, this represents the tendency of Americans to compartmentalize different fields of activity. If I am active in voting for and conversing with my local government, am I not participating in the system to some degree? Moreover, one has to realize that a president is elected by a simple majority of the electorate, who represent a simple majority of electors in the electoral college, the minority, no matter how large, will not be represented by the new president. We can see this with the elder Bush, Clinton, W, and Obama. Their policies to do not hold the interests of the group that did not vote for him at heart. This of course does not change the authority of the leader, unless, in accord with Catholic principles, he violates divine or natural law.
b) “You can’t criticize the system of you don’t participate.” Refusal to vote does not eliminate my right to criticize the leader for violating divine or natural law. Whether I vote or not is immaterial to whether there is or is not justice. When anyone receives an office of authority, it is never for himself, but for the benefit of those he rules, whether he is a “democratically” [sic] elected leader or a monarch. He is charged by the conferral of authority to be just. Can we call what Obama did in Libya just? Can we call what Bush-Obama have done in Afghanistan, namely 100,000 dead civilians in a country where 65% do not know what 9-11 was, just? That is so whether or not I voted for them or for anyone at all.
Thus, even if one holds that one ought to vote, where does it say in any source you must vote for every office? Lastly, the vast majority of people do not vote according to conviction, they vote according to what their parents have always done, or, who the incumbent is, or who has that magical “R” and “D” next to their name, without ever considering the wide range of the candidate’s views, what they will do and what they could do, and thus never consider that if candidate “x” supported policies not only contrary to what I believe but even contrary to natural law, then they become a tacit supporter of said policies. So for example one who identifies himself as “Democrat” and vociferously opposed the war on terror in 2004, but now votes for Barack Obama, who has faithfully prosecuted and expanded that debacle, solely on the basis that he is a liberal and therefore good, is an enabler and accessory to what he formerly (and in my view correctly) described as American terrorism around the world. I firmly believe that a vote for someone I don’t believe in makes me an enabler of his policies. I consider the War on Terrorism to be as egregious as abortion, and I vote accordingly. No Republican who supports the war on terror will ever receive my vote, any more than a pro-abort politician.
c) “What about a third-party?” I think it is time, if we are seriously intent on real meaningful change toward justice at any level, to call a spade a spade. Voting for a 3rd party for President is nothing more than registering your dissatisfaction with the “official parties”. You will not change anything. Yes we all know it is true, that if everyone who said “I like so and so, but he’ll never win” actually voted for him, the said candidate would win in a landslide. Yet changing habits is a long and laborious process, not easily overcome. I won’t go so far as to say that voting for a third-party is “throwing away your vote” (voting your conscience is never worthless), far from it, but it is not productive toward inducing change in society. Until the reliance of the average American on the stereotypical parties and their positions is broken, running 3rd party candidates for president is largely a wasted exercise. There is only one viable way to run a 3rd party candidate, for local office, not just in one state but in all. When 3rd parties run continually and produce results in state legislatures, state governments etc, then it is possible to run them in congress. When they have hit what is called in the retail world “critical mass”, that is 10% of the populace, or some 30 million people, vote 3rd party, all will take notice and pay attention.
This brings me to my final point in conclusion. In Latin we would employ a deliberative subjunctive for this, which has much stronger force than it does in English: Quid agamus? What are we to do? I would propose to you something radical. I do say propose, because I will not tell you how to vote like Catholic Answers which started a for profit registration in order to put out a voter’s guide which says in a veiled way “vote Republican to be a good Catholic”, or Protestant guides which do the same. What I propose to you that you go and vote, and on every office for congress or the President you write in the following: NOBODY 2012. This idea did not originate with me, but I wholly support it. Then, I would find out as much as possible about your local candidates, local sheriffs, local judges, get to know them, attend your local town meetings, turn off the left and right propaganda outlets of CNN and FOX news and ignore the Presidential Reality show. The ability of Washington to affect us negatively would be neutered in point of fact if local government was more forceful and local citizens were in tune with the issues. Do more than that, if you know of people locally who think like you do, it is not necessary to start groups and volunteer hours you don’t have that you could spend with your family. Yet, work out programs of information by e-mail and get them in touch with the local politicians. Anyone in local politics who has an eye to going higher will never succeed if he gets voted out of a Mayor or First Selectman’s position, so even the self-serving will listen. Contact your state commissions, like your state Utilities commission. We complain loud and often of our regulatory bodies failing us and taking the money from big business, but one of the reasons this is allowed to happen so easily is we are all tuned into the presidential reality show and ignore what is happening right under our noses.
Further, if we look aghast at the vast political machinery for consistent bad government that is the party system, and we want the most effective way to deal with it, then it is this: STOP FEEDING THE BEAST! Boycott Wal-mart, boycott the big stores, boycott Wall St. Take your money out of the system (while you still have any), and the system will take notice! Even if it costs 2-3 dollars more per item, shop at small local businesses rather than the big stores, and only use the latter for what you must have that cannot otherwise be obtained. Large businesses, Unions, and the rest of the establishment which heavily pays our politicians will take little notice of our voices, it will take notice however of the absence of our dollars. We need to broaden our idea of voting, you can vote with your dollar even louder than you can with a pen at the polls.