As I prowl the internet I come across a great many sites that argue over the fact that we do not have more presidential candidates participating in the debates. That it’s “unAmerican” that Ron Paul, or Gary Johnson, or whomever is running on a specific ticket is not allowed to debate with capitalist choice A or capitalist choice B (psst…that’s Obama and Romney) on live television in front of the rest of our country.
I hate to break it to those red, white, and true blue believers, but that isn’t just an American value, that’s a democratic one that isn’t specific our country. We didn’t invent democracy, though many on either side of the political spectrum still considers it an invention of our revolution and subsequent union. But even that kind of democracy – and the one we struggle with today – is a limited one.
We seem to be in the stranglehold of the fist of capital, or wealth, or debt – whichever one you choose really because these days they are all the same in the eyes of the working class. Our capital has been shifted upwards through crony capitalism and corporate socialism. Our wealth (social, emotional, physical) has in most cases been depleted through the longer hours we work for the smaller piece of the pie. And our debt is the only thing handed back down to us as a means to survive while banks make sure we’re locked in to feed them like the good hosts for parasites we’ve become.
It’s nothing new in the eyes of Generation X, Y, or Z. All the lines on the graph of life have been skewing downward for the past 20-30 years no matter where the plot started. That is except for the ruling class who have begun to take notice of the people becoming a bit…upset.
More people have started waking up and realizing that the promise of being affluent like everyone else was a farce. There is no American dream because as George Carlin once said “you have to be asleep to believe it.” But we aren’t totally screwed because we’re only as powerful as we are conscious and active in our political, social, and economic surroundings. And these days there isn’t any shortage of that.
Sure, vote for your favorite candidate come election day, but also take notice of what’s happening around you after you leave the booth. Take notice and be inspired by the teacher strikes in Chicago (they weren’t just striking for more pay), or the recent Walmart ones (they are striking for more pay because their current wage is a joke). Follow economists like Dean Baker, Richard Wolff, and Steve Keen. They all have great ideas and solutions to help get us out of this hole. And above all else, get involved locally. The only way we can have our democracy back is not by waiting for some man or woman to appear on television to speak to us, we need to speak to each other.