The 2nd in a three part series celebrating the return of Futurama by using its imagery to point out some of the flaws in our political economic idiocracy, we look at the candidates for election in the Futurama episode A Head in the Polls and the lack of choice we have when we go to the ballot box. by Russell G. Davis
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
They appeared in only one episode as the two mainstream candidates representing the Fingerlicans and Tastycrat parties. But it was a very accurate parody of the lack of choice we Americans face come election time. The show portrays two clones running for President in the General Election. Leela warns not to let the identical DNA fool you, they differ on some key issues. They are able to issue such bold statements during election time as "I'm against those things that everybody hates!" and " I agree with everything my opponent just said".
And we have very similar bland and lackluster choices every election cycle.
For example, during the last election, the turning point came when McCain gave a speech pronouncing the economy as fundamentally strong on the same day the Dow had a record drop in value. The response was a proposal to suspend the campaigns and deal with the crisis. What was the way of dealing with the crisis? Hank Paulson created the TARP, Troubled Asset Relief Program, or 700 billion of dollars of our tax money given to institutions like AIG that made the bets/option trades to pay of Goldman Sachs if the economy went in the tank. I'm glad they avoided massive bank failures that we were looking at and thus another Depression, but that's not my point.
The point is that both candidates voted for this bailout during the election. McCain was even taking money from Fannie Mae during the campaign while it was failing. As deeply unpopular as this use of the taxpayer money was, there was no choice offered between the two major candidates. You can have this candidate who voted for the bailout while denouncing the need for it or the other candidate who voted for the bailout while denouncing the need for it. If you thought as the marginalized far left did, that the money could be better spent helping out troubled homeowners directly for less money you had the choice of being ignored or of being brushed aside. If you thought as the marginalized far right did that the marketplace has spoken and these institutions should fail, damn the consequences, well, you had the choice to be condescended to or to be talked down to. Do you want to be ignored or brushed aside? Do you wish to be condescended to or be talked down to? It's completely up to you, the voter/citizen/taxpayer.
And as hard as Sarah Palin is railing against the bailout now, when she was on the ballot she went along with it as part of the McCain ticket, saying at the time "inaction was not an option."
Both John Jackson and Jack Johnson seem to have been for the bailout. And that's not an isolated incident. We find the same thing on issue after issue election after election.
Ron Paul was very vocal (and very correct) when it came to criticism of President Bush during the Republican debates. As a matter of fact the Democrats took a lesson from the embarrassing smackdown Paul had given his fellow Republicans and pulled strings to censor one of it's own candidates with a knack for embarrassing Status Quo deadwood during the debates, Dennis Kucinich.
They did not want there to be an actual choice presented to voters.The three pre-approved choices were Hillary Clinton, Barry Obama, and John Edwards. Dennis Kucinich was invited to the Nevada primary debates in Las Vegas and NBC had told him that he had met requirements to be included. Rather than include a candidate that brings up Hillary's vote for the Iraq War, Barry's corporate sponsors, and John Edwards' lack of any bold stand on any issue, forces in the Nevada Democratic party had NBC change the requirements and uninvite/censor Dennis Kuccinich.
Paul and Kuccinich (neither of whom voted for the bailout) if they had won the nomination of either party would have been a welcome change from the Jack Johnson/John Jackson dichotomy we usually get. And either one of them would have put in a superior administration compared to what we wound up with.
Democratic or Republican, the two major parties are notorious for installing machinery after an election that rolls over and gives lobbyists everything they want. That's why, prior to the BP Oil Spill, Barack Obama was comfortable giving the middle finger to every environmentalist that canvassed for him in 2008 and state that he was going to be expanding oil drilling. Apparently the potential votes of people who hate him and didn't vote for him are more important than the votes of people who actually did.
The only difference is the manipulative demagoguery that is indulged in come election time. One side manipulates its base with fear of Big Business, the other side manipulates its base with fear of Big Government. All of which is well and good during the primaries provided you don't say anything of relevance. If you do, you can be censored by having the rules of who gets to debate change at the last minute. But after the primary, it devolves into a PR campaign that focuses on the personality and avoids issues.
How do they stand up when actually elected?
Well, the Democrats fight Big Business so much that they "fix" Health Care by requiring people to purchase from the industry that is causing the problems. Clinton favored big agribusiness over the family farmer. He lobbied NAFTA into law against labor, consumer, environmental and human rights groups. Gifts of land in Mexico to Agribusiness are a huge source of the lack of work in Mexico and immigration into the United States.
Which brings us to Republicans and their fight against Big Government. NAFTA, WTO, CAFTA also have huge amounts of support on the Right. Throw in a lot of taxpayer subsidies for Corporations throwing people off their land in Mexico and you can expect to find the predictable Free Market rhetoric not far away. And when those people immigrate to Arizona you have conservative hypocrites saying that the Constitution doesn't mean what it actually says when it comes to a US Citizen who is poor and Latino. Poor Latino US Citizens have already been detained while they are forced by the state to prove their citizenship in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Then there are the Bush-era illegal warantless wiretaps, Military Commissions Act of 2006 that took away your right to habeus corpus (Obama has not repealed this thus far),The REAL ID act (nothing says getting Big Government out of my life better than longer lines at the DMV), and Cheney saying he wanted to ignore the Posse-Comitatus decision and send troops to a US City.
And this is typical of our choices at pretty much every election for every Federal office. Do you want John Jackson, the Fingerlican who tells you pleasant but manipulative falsehoods about protecting you from Big Government? Or would you prefer Jack Johnson, the Tastycrat who tells you pleasant but manipulative falsehhoods about protecting you from Big Business? The choice is yours.
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