America enters “Post-Democracy”
by Michael T Bucci
November 10, 2012
In many states, November 6 was a good day for blue and identity politics, but said nothing about big national issues of war vs. peace; Wall Street vs. Main Street; Constitutional rights vs. restrictions; Democracy vs. Oligarchy. It said nothing because nothing was said about these issues by either candidate for President or by the media. The debate was over degrees of pain to inflict through austerity, to inflict on other nations through expanding wars, on how to insure future funding of the military machine unleashed abroad and soon, no doubt, to be used at home. Your Street, Your Constitution, Your Civil Liberties, Your Democracy are not subjects for debate any longer – or for mentioning.
We are entering post-Democracy.
American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate put 2012 voter turnout at 57.5% of all eligible voters, compared to 62.3% who voted in 2008 and 60.4% who cast ballots in 2004. In 2000, the turnout rate was 54.2%. Some analysts claimed 2012 turnout numbers were lower. Viewed another way, approximately 90 million eligible voters did not vote. “This is one of those rare elections in which turnout in every state in the nation went down,” said Center Director, Curtis Gans. On the other side of the geopolitical chessboard, PressTV presented slightly lower numbers, “Latest figures show that 117 million Americans, less than 50 percent of the eligible voters, have taken part in the presidential polls,” claimed the wire service. Whatever the final figure, when voter absenteeism reaches 50%, Democracy is naught and Oligarchy (or plutocracy) is entrenched. Once lost, it would require another Revolutionary War to regain. Yet, many voters, already discouraged, were urged to “stay home” by fringe writers at politically connected web sites.
On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama offered the nation “real change” from the policies of George Bush. Once elected, the President continued and expanded “endless war”; endless Gitmo, endless violations of civil liberties; unlawful attacks on Constitutional guarantees; domination of government branches by the executive; endless bail-outs of banks; a seamless and totalitarian government-corporate spying and surveillance system sweeping all Americans; initiated state-sponsored extrajudicial assassination programs; further enriched billionaires; and now has placed on the alter for slaughter Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and entitlements. Mr. Obama’s coming “Grand Bargain” with the GOP is nothing more than a well-orchestrated stage play that any theatre critic would pan for lack of realism. Its authors reach back to Paul Ryan, a declared enemy of human welfare and social services spending and proponent of Ayn Rand Libertarianism, though he champions his religious credentials and theocratic leanings. But for an audience wearing rose-colored glasses or drinking toxins from polarized news venues that only report news favorable to one Party or another, the stage setting for this battle over deficit reduction will look real and the acting convincing. But the faux-battle might not last long. Recent political history has shown that the fastest scripts – like the Patriot Act – can be made law overnight given the right combination of threats, enemies, fears, collusion and plain old lies. (Nor would anyone want to delay this premeditated plan hatched months ago by the bipartisan back-room “Gang of Eight”, and already agreed to by both political parties, and have it ruin Thanksgiving dinner or impact Christmas sales. I expect it to be finalized with the speed of a Karl Rove “surge”.)
President Obama is often accused of taking away with one hand a thing most valued, and returning a fig leaf to the loser with the other hand. I wish to correct this: President Obama, a center-Right closet Republican, every bit a loyal neocon and neoliberal, isn’t throwing fig leaves. BARACK OBAMA IS THE FIG LEAF thrown to the people by forces that constitute and control this nation’s finance, wealth, government, multinationals and military. Mr. Obama’s performance for them in his first four years was remarkable. (If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.)
Austerity programs (a.k.a.”structural adjustments”) in the US will be, no doubt, like those imposed on EU periphery countries and the UK (resulting in gradually increasing civil unrest, further economic decline, and losses to Democracy). Under the smokescreen of deficit reductions, America’s own home-grown “troika” – Wall Street/Corporate America/Pentagon – will continue to mount an Oligarchy – an anathema to Democracy. President Obama and those now in Congress have not served to stop the forward movement of this threat. Dems/Libs/Progs remain blinded by Mr. Obama while the multitudinous Right-to-ultra-Right cells and parties have reasons to silently cheer a coming system offering them an even greater portion of the national wealth pie. President Obama will fail to protect seniors, the disabled, the poor and the unemployed, while shielding Wall Street from prosecution, enriching billionaires, expanding wars and enlarging the security state at home.