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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The right-wing duopoly and the coming darkness

Adrian Kuzminski writes in Counterpunch about how far we've descended, and how Ross Perot may have been our last hope for escape:
The right-wing duopoly is now virtually impervious to challenge, as the careers of figures as diverse as Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, Howard Dean, and Denis Kucinich demonstrate. Kerry's right-wing campaign for president, echoing the exploitative domestic and aggressive foreign policies of Bush, confirms the end of meaningful political discourse in the United States. There are simply no remaining effective instruments of political action available to the restless masses, who are probably a majority of the country, and most of whom, as a result, no longer participate in the political process at all.

Voting for Kerry is marginally better than voting for Bush, or wasting a vote for Nader. But it's rather like voting for Marius and Caesar (the Democrats) rather than Sulla and Pompey (the Republicans). A more benevolent despot is always better than a less benevolent one, but despotism it remains all the same. Can we pretend otherwise any longer?

What is likely is the continued consolidation of the right-wing duopoly, most evident in the erosion of civil liberties and the war on terrorism. Somewhere along the line, America lost its political freedom without even realizing it. The last meaningful opposition to the duopoly was perhaps Ross Perot's presidential candidacy in 1992. His presence in the presidential debates and his subsequent garnering of almost twenty percent of the vote -- in spite of dropping out of the race and then reentering it -- may be the most underappreciated event in recent American political history. Perot was no social activist liberal, but he showed what an open political process might achieve. Afterward, the duopoly regrouped and created a rigged, 'bi-partisan,' corporate-sponsored debate commission dedicated to making sure that no third party candidate would ever again enjoy such exposure to the voters.

The coming darkness is the eclipse of American political freedom and the unchecked reign of a venal, arrogant, and ignorant ruling class. Onerous as its depredations at home are likely to be, even more omnious is its immoral, illegal, and criminal policy of preemptive war abroad -- a policy fully endorsed by Kerry. There is no end to the war on terrorism, since a terrorist is increasingly defined as anyone who opposes the duopoly at home or abroad.

It has always been madness to try to remould the world in one's image, as we see most recently in the war in Iraq, but it is a vastly greater madness in a nuclear age. The lesson of 9/11 was that resentments born of decades if not centuries of perceived wrongs will find their target if those wrongs are not addressed. The ultimate equalizer, in our time, is the nuclear bomb and this the terrorists will sooner or later obtain and use if they continue to be provoked. This will be the final, bitter fruit of the loss of our political freedom, and it will be made the ultimate justification for the tyranny now established upon us.
If that's not depressing enough for you, read the whole article.