Few Choices - No Freedom
James Madison must be rolling over in his grave as Republican operatives take to the media speaking about the “GOP Brand.” Perhaps Karl Rove is destined for Madison Avenue. In Rove’s wake (and at his direction) is a nation deeply divided – this is the very division that James Madison warned against in his Federalist Paper No. 10.
A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.
Eerie – Madison (looking around him back then), the seer of many things to come - 200 years in the future.
Is there any wonder that our country is “polarized” when in nearly every case in which a citizen can make a decision there are only two choices? Bad or Worse.
From Thomas Jefferson:
”What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing.”
Logically then, when our choices are reduced, our freedom is lessened.
Again, from Federalist No. 10:
In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few.
Those cabals now have the trademarks of Elephants and Jackasses: the ones who “never forget” chastise Ross Perot for handing the presidency to Bill Clinton in 1992; the asses of 2000 complain that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the presidency to George W. So much for having a “big tent.”
More from Madison:
[T]he fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.
And it is the party of “free trade” that has led us to the consolidation of corporate America. I ask you:
How many airlines do you have to choose from?
How many different grocery stores are in your town?
How many different sources of news do you now have?
How many banks now operate in your community?
Granted, there are many “storefronts” on their faces – but their control has been shifted to the very few. We have lots of radio stations – but most are owned by Clearchannel or Sirius. There are numerous television stations and newspapers, but most are being bought up. Many gas stations, now in the hands of a few. The choice amongst them is not a choice at all – because there are less and less of them. And as a result, we are less free.
For those out there who support John Edwards consider this:
The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets….
But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.
The “Big Tent” claim of the two parties is without merit. Of course, watching the Republican debates, we see ten white dudes. In the Democratic debates, there are white dudes but also a woman, an African-American and a Latino-American. Is that a “big tent” or a marketing strategy? Does it matter more a persons’ chromosomes and pigmentation or what they stand for?
Hillary Clinton has to run to the right to prove she has some balls.
Barak Obama is chastised for not being “black enough.” What must he do? – have a gat in his waistband and only “gangsta rap” on his Ipod?
Bill Richardson is largely ignored.
So much for the big tent of the Democratic Party – the “Big Tent” only applies to the potential consumers – the might-be voter. The candidates – they all sound the same. Consider the “change” we’ve all experienced since the Democrats came to power in the Congress in 2006.
There are less than two choices – there is only one – “Stay the Course.” And that is not freedom at all.