Democracy Held Hostage

Did you know we have more than 2 candidates for president? Likely not, and with good reason. I heard an interview with Ralph Nader on CSPAN the other day and realized that I forgot what it sounds like to hear a candidate with substance speak.

Describing the nature of the problem with the presidential debate system this very good article says: “At the core of the problem with U.S. presidential debates is that they are run by a private corporation, the Commission on Presidential Debates, founded in 1987 by the Republican and Democratic parties. The CPD took over the debate process from the League of Women Voters. Just once since then has a third-party candidate made it into the debate — Ross Perot in 1992. After he did well, he was excluded in 1996. The CPD requires contenders to poll at 15 percent before they qualify for any debate.”

In the interview I watched, Nader told how Google offered to host a debate to include the Independent candidate… they had it set up for New Orleans and sent invites. McCain accepted, Obama declined. That debate suffered from other problems as well but why, as a democratic nation, do we tolerate tyranny of the majority, where neither media nor process is open to more than two candidates? “An essential process of representative democracies are competitive elections, that are fair both substantively and procedurally.”

And we have allowed media to kidnap our process. In this article on the Media Reform Conference Dan Rather noted: “Too few voices are dominating, homogenizing and marginalizing the news. We need to demand that the American people get something in exchange for the use of airwaves that belong, after all, to the people.”

At the same conference Bill Moyers stated: “Extremes of wealth and poverty cannot be reconciled with a truly just society. Capitalism breeds great inequality that is destructive, unless tempered by an intuition for equality, which is the heart of democracy. When the state becomes the guardian of power and privilege to the neglect of justice for the people who have neither power nor privilege, you can no longer claim to have a representative government.”

The question shouldn’t be “which of those two are you voting for” but rather “why are you tolerating a system that is stripping you of your right to fair process and what can we do to change it?” Stop settling for less and start demanding more from the systems that your dollars support. Stop following the process blindly and start looking at the bigger picture and asking the hard questions. Demand more… our nation deserves it… our nation needs it. We certainly do need change, but I assure you change will NOT come from any candidate put before us by either the democratic or republican parties.