Circus Politics: Will Our Freedoms Survive Another Presidential Election?

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“Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.” ― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Adding yet another layer of farce to an already comical spectacle, the 2016 presidential election has been given its own reality show. Presented by Showtime, The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth will follow the various presidential candidates from now until Election Day.

As if we need any more proof that politics in America has been reduced to a three-ring circus complete with carnival barkers, acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, lion tamers, animal trainers, tight rope walkers, freaks, strong men, magicians, snake charmers, fire eaters, sword swallowers, knife throwers, ringmasters and clowns.

Truly, who needs bread and circuses when you have the assortment of clowns and contortionists that are running for the White House?

No matter who wins the presidential election come November, it’s a sure bet that the losers will be the American people.

Despite what is taught in school and the propaganda that is peddled by the media, the 2016 presidential election is not a populist election for a representative. Rather, it’s a gathering of shareholders to select the next CEO, a fact reinforced by the nation’s archaic electoral college system.

Anyone who believes that this election will bring about any real change in how the American government does business is either incredibly naïve, woefully out-of-touch, or oblivious to the fact that as an in-depth Princeton University study shows, we now live in an oligarchy that is “of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.”

When a country spends close to $5 billion to select what is, for all intents and purposes, a glorified homecoming king or queen to occupy the White House, while 46 million of its people live in poverty, nearly 300,000 Americans are out of work, and more than 500,000 Americans are homeless, that’s a country whose priorities are out of step with the needs of its people.

As author Noam Chomsky rightly observed, “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.”

In other words, we’re being sold a carefully crafted product by a monied elite who are masters in the art of making the public believe that they need exactly what is being sold to them, whether it’s the latest high-tech gadget, the hottest toy, or the most charismatic politician.

As political science professor Gene Sharp notes in starker terms, “Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.”

To put it another way, the Establishment—the shadow government and its corporate partners that really run the show, pull the strings and dictate the policies, no matter who occupies the Oval Office—are not going to allow anyone to take office who will unravel their power structures. Those who have attempted to do so in the past have been effectively put out of commission.

So what is the solution to this blatant display of imperial elitism disguising itself as a populist exercise in representative government?

Stop playing the game. Stop supporting the system. Stop defending the insanity. Just stop.

Washington thrives on money, so stop giving them your money. Stop throwing your hard-earned dollars away on politicians and Super PACs who view you as nothing more than a means to an end. There are countless worthy grassroots organizations and nonprofits working in your community to address real needs like injustice, poverty, homelessness, etc. Support them and you’ll see change you really can believe in in your own backyard.

Politicians depend on votes, so stop giving them your vote unless they have a proven track record of listening to their constituents, abiding by their wishes and working hard to earn and keep their trust.

Stop buying into the lie that your vote matters. Your vote doesn’t elect a president. Despite the fact that there are 218 million eligible voters in this country (only half of whom actually vote), it is the electoral college, made up of 538 individuals handpicked by the candidates’ respective parties, that actually selects the next president.

The only thing you’re accomplishing by taking part in the “reassurance ritual” of voting is sustaining the illusion that we have a democratic republic. What we have is a dictatorship, or as political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page more accurately term it, we are suffering from an “economic élite domination.”

Of course, we’ve done it to ourselves.

The American people have a history of choosing bread-and-circus distractions over the tedious work involved in self-government.

As a result, we have created an environment in which the economic elite (lobbyists, corporations, monied special interest groups) could dominate, rather than insisting that the views and opinions of the masses—“we the people”—dictate national policy. As the Princeton University oligarchy study indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen. As such, the citizenry has little if any impact on the policies of government.

We allowed our so-called representatives to distance themselves from us, so much so that we are prohibited from approaching them in public, all the while they enjoy intimate relationships with those who can pay for access—primarily the Wall Street financiers. There are 131 lobbyists to every Senator, reinforcing concerns that the government represents the corporate elite rather than the citizenry.

We said nothing while our elections were turned into popularity contests populated by individuals better suited to be talk-show hosts rather than intelligent, reasoned debates on issues of domestic and foreign policy by individuals with solid experience, proven track records and tested integrity.

We turned our backs on things like wisdom, sound judgment, morality and truth, shrugging them off as old-fashioned, only to find ourselves saddled with lying politicians incapable of making fair and impartial decisions.

We let ourselves be persuaded that those yokels in Washington could do a better job of running this country than we could. It’s not a new problem. As former Senator Joseph S. Clark Jr. acknowledged in a 1955 article titled, “Wanted: Better Politicians”: “[W]e have too much mediocrity in the business of running the government of the country, and it troubles me that this should be so at a time of such complexity and crisis… Government by amateurs, semi-pros, and minor-leaguers will not meet the challenge of our times. We must realize that it takes great competence to run a country which, in spite of itself, has succeeded to world leadership in a time of deadly peril.”

We indulged our craving for entertainment news at the expense of our need for balanced reporting by a news media committed to asking the hard questions of government officials. The result, as former congressman Jim Leach points out, leaves us at a grave disadvantage: “At a time when in-depth analysis of the issues of the day has never been more important, quality journalism has been jeopardized by financial considerations and undercut by purveyors of ideology who facilely design news, like clothes, to appeal to a market segment.”

We bought into the fairytale that politicians are saviors, capable of fixing what’s wrong with our communities and our lives, when in fact, most politicians lead such sheltered lives that they have no clue about what their constituents must do to make ends meet. As political scientists Morris Fiorina and Samuel Abrams conclude, “In America today, there is a disconnect between an unrepresentative political class and the citizenry it purports to represent. The political process today not only is less representative than it was a generation ago and less supported by the citizenry, but the outcomes of that process are at a minimum no better.”

We let ourselves be saddled with a two-party system and fooled into believing that there’s a difference between the Republicans and Democrats, when in fact, the two parties are exactly the same. As one commentator noted, both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty.

Then, when faced with the prospect of voting for the lesser of two evils, many simply compromise their principles and overlook the fact that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Perhaps worst of all, we allowed the cynicism of our age and the cronyism and corruption of Beltway politics to discourage us from believing that there was any hope for the American experiment in liberty.

Granted, it’s easy to become discouraged about the state of our nation. We’re drowning under the weight of too much debt, too many wars, too much power in the hands of a centralized government, too many militarized police, too many laws, too many lobbyists, and generally too much bad news.

It’s harder to believe that change is possible, that the system can be reformed, that politicians can be principled, that courts can be just, that good can overcome evil, and that freedom will prevail.

So where does that leave us?

Benjamin Franklin provided the answer. As the delegates to the Constitutional Convention trudged out of Independence Hall on September 17, 1787, an anxious woman in the crowd waiting at the entrance inquired of Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic,” Franklin replied, “if you can keep it.”

What Franklin meant, of course, is that when all is said and done, we get the government we deserve.

A healthy, representative government is hard work. It takes a citizenry that is informed about the issues, educated about how the government operates, and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to stay involved, whether that means forgoing Monday night football in order to attend a city council meeting or risking arrest by picketing in front of a politician’s office.

Most of all, it takes a citizenry willing to do more than grouse and complain.

We must act—and act responsibly—keeping in mind that the duties of citizenship extend beyond the act of voting.

The powers-that-be want us to believe that our job as citizens begins and ends on Election Day. They want us to believe that we have no right to complain about the state of the nation unless we’ve cast our vote one way or the other. They want us to remain divided over politics, hostile to those with whom we disagree politically, and intolerant of anyone or anything whose solutions to what ails this country differ from our own.

What they don’t want us talking about is the fact that the government is corrupt, the system is rigged, the politicians don’t represent us, the electoral college is a joke, most of the candidates are frauds, and, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we as a nation are repeating the mistakes of history—namely, allowing a totalitarian state to reign over us.

Former concentration camp inmate Hannah Arendt warned against this when she wrote, “No matter what the specifically national tradition or the particular spiritual source of its ideology, totalitarian government always transformed classes into masses, supplanted the party system, not by one-party dictatorships, but by mass movement, shifted the center of power from the army to the police, and established a foreign policy openly directed toward world domination.”

Clearly, “we the people” have a decision to make.

Do we simply participate in the collapse of the American republic as it degenerates toward a totalitarian regime, or do we take a stand at this moment in history and reject the pathetic excuse for government that is being fobbed off on us?

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Contributed by John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute.

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  • De-Register from the counterfeit government.

    Re-install the Constitutional Republic IF the South will re-join the Union !!

    Odds of that happening? Less than Hitlery winning 6 coin tosses in a row

    • Are you stuck in the late 19th century?

      • Reverend Draco

        Early 14th.

        • So he is imagining all American history from way before any of it happened?

          • Reverend Draco

            Education – early 14th at best.

            Which is to say. . . not well-educated at all.

          • The education available to the 14th century child was all provided by their parents, most of whom were as well educated as today’s given the lack of anything to learn at the time.

          • sunshine

            They could probably grow crops, take care of animals, do basic repairs to structures, sew, and maybe have a craft/skill. So I guess they were well suited for the life and society in which they lived. Seems like a lot of people today have no clue how to do anything other than stare at a screen and maybe punch some buttons that makes something on the screen do something. But I suppose that’s valued in this time period.

          • Each time period has it’s own values. Those of this one aren’t very utilitarian in a failing high-tech society.

    • sunshine

      Why? He’s not a bad commenter, you just have to understand what he’s saying and not let your pre-conceived notions cloud your comprehension. You have said some pretty shitty and trollish stuff yourself you know.

      • Sounds like the maroon using a different name

        • Are you sure it is maroon and not candy apple red?

        • sunshine

          Go ahead and believe that if you want. I don’t care what a troll like you thinks anyways. You are a shitty asshole and make it a point to be as big of a dick as possible, at least he is polite in his comments. Your name is also indicative of your assholishness, FYI.

  • Which freedoms have survived the disregard of any other part of the Constitution?

    • Mike

      none of them, they are just letting us think some of them have.

      • Anyone who is that easy to deceive deserves to be deceived.
        “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
        Benjamin Franklin
        “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
        Thomas Jefferson

        • Reverend Draco

          “No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” ~ Samuel Adams

          “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.” ~Thomas Paine

          • Is that Paine from Age of Reason?

          • Reverend Draco

            I do believe so.

        • Mike

          It would be nice if people actually stayed informed instead of watching reality TV, plugging away at nsabook and the like.

          • The best way to deal with all of today’s television programming is by getting rid of the receiver. I did that, by default, when my last one was stolen in 1987.

          • nighthawk

            And don’t forget facebook

          • Mike

            i called that one nsabook.

  • Nabi

    Without the protections of the balance of power between the three branches of government, we would be better off with a parliamentary form of government. Thanks Obozo!

  • Not sure what ‘freedoms’ the author is talking about. If he means the
    Right to Life, Liberty, and Property, that Right was pretty much negated
    by the constitution.
    I guess I’m free to go get a job, or free to go see the doctor but that’s not the same as a Natural Right. More like government privileges.

    • Reverend Draco

      You’re free to select either (D) or (R) – how much more freedom do you expect, slave?

      • Some people are never satisfied. Government says I’m free – I should just accept that.

        • Reverend Draco

          That’s right. Sit down and gawk at a Tardashian or something. . . you’ve got plenty of choice as to which vapid harpy your eyes unfortunately fall upon.

          That’s all the choice you need.

          • sunshine

            B-but they’re having a Twatter war with some no-name ghetto whore and the fat male Kardashian is banging some other fat ghetto whore! Come on, citizen, this is news! Lol it must be since it’s literally EVERYWHERE like we should care about it.

      • Sandra Allred

        ❝my neighbor’ s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet❞….A few Town ago new McLaren F1 subsequent after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a Town ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn More right Here:a659➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsBatch/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:❦:::::a659….

      • sunshine

        Don’t forget paper or plastic. Although in a lot of places you can’t even get plastic bags any more….

  • Reverend Draco

    They haven’t survived the last 4 elections very well. . . I don’t see a reversal coming with this election.

    • I’m hoping there will be a choice worthy of my going to the polls this time. The last presidential candidate I voted for was Harry Browne, the first time he ran. Unless I get a lot of negative information about him, I’m voting for Trump. If I do, it will be Gary Johnson.

      • Reverend Draco

        Last Pres I voted for was Perot – I figured, a guy who will hazard his own personal fortune to rescue employees from Iran (during the hostage thing), just might have some integrity.


        I refuse to lend my jot of legitimacy to a rigged game. I’d rather play chess.

        • How did you vote for someone who withdrew before the election? All games are rigged, some by the rules, some by the players. Elections are rigged by both.

          • Reverend Draco

            He did reenter. . . even met the poll percentage needed to get into the debates.

            He actually finished 3rd.

          • I guess I missed the reports of his family being murdered.

          • sunshine

            They threatened his daughter.

          • nighthawk

            And the “fix” s in for Billery

        • sunshine

          Hahaha OMG I made my grandmother vote for Perot because I was too young to vote!

        • SP_88

          I thought Ross Perot was a good candidate. I was too young to vote but I remember seeing him on tv.
          I also remember Admiral Stockdale opening the VP debate in 1992 with, “Who am I, why am I here?”. They sure ran with that one. It was pretty funny though.

  • Broos
  • Revolution is the only recourse!

  • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

    What we stand to lose in the next election has already been lost. The ripple effect just hasn’t reached us yet. There is no candidate left worthy of my vote, so I will probably abstain.

    • Reverend Draco

      How about a nice game of chess on election day?

      • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

        Beats the hell out of wasting time “voting” for any of the pos’s in the turd pool.