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Week of: August 19, 2001

Random Thoughts on Politics & Voting

by F.R. Duplantier

Our electoral system does need reform, but everyone seems to be going about it the wrong way.

Remember, when Ronald Reagan was President, how the excuse for every Republican defeat in the battle to roll back government and restore traditional values was Democratic control of Congress? And how, during the Clinton years, with the GOP finally in control of the legislative branch, every failure was blamed on an opposition President? Wouldn't it be nice then, just once, to have a Republican President and a Republican House and Senate (for more than a few weeks, that is, and with a margin of more than one)? Then there could be no excuses. Republicans would either make good on their promises or expose themselves, once and for all, as frauds.

The persistent fomentation of class envy and sheer stupidity in the electorate is something we can do without. If that's all the Democrats have to offer, they may as well close up shop. The sooner, the better. The death of the Democratic Party would have a salutary effect on our two-party system. It would undoubtedly cause the Republican Party to split in two. Imagine that: A Grand Old Party and a Grand New Party. The center would shift to the right, and we'd have a choice between two versions of conservatism, instead of two versions of liberalism.

Taxpayer-financed elections has got to be one of the most idiotic ideas in a century brimful of them. You think we have mediocre candidates now? These are office seekers people are willing to give money to, remember? Just think what sort of candidates we'd get -- and how many! -- if any knucklehead who wanted to could enter a race without worrying about spending his own money or soliciting someone else's! No, we'll settle for the retail candidates we've got now. At least with them, we know what we're paying for.

The political process in America has become a theater of the absurd. Victories are determined by -- and campaigns tailored to -- so-called swing voters, people who still haven't made up their minds with only days left in races that began months, if not years, earlier. Could it be that they have no minds to make up? If they have no grasp of the issues and no judgment in general, why are they voting? If they are morally and intellectually incompetent to cast a ballot, why do they enjoy the franchise? Elections are now decided by -- the undecided! Forget finance reform: we need franchise reform, and fast.

If the American people twice elected as President and Vice President two men who personify the amoral, anything-goes approach to public policy (and very nearly succeeded in extending the eight-year moral blight for another term), what can we conclude? Just this: Our public offices are filled with ethical freaks because our polling booths are filled with ethical freaks. Moral principles are anathema to them. Relativism reigns. Unconstrained by Church or Constitution, the American people subside into a mob.


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