The Illusion of Choice

George A. Yesthal

As an American I have always taken comfort in the knowledge that, even though no current form of government can be thought of as perfect, a properly maintained democracy is about as close as it gets. We have been remiss in respect to maintenance. We have let our government become an entity that dictates choice by monopoly. The bipartisan system is exactly that…a monopoly. Monopoly is incongruous to the concept of democracy. It simply flies in the face of democratic tenets. In point of fact, since Teddy Roosevelt pretended to be against it and busted up the oil and railroad monopolies, it is downright illegal. I realize that what we really have is a democratic republic but to keep it simple I refer to democracy, because the truth of it is what we REALLy have is a plutocratic oligarchy. But we won’t go there.

If you sit down at a table at which a game of poker is being played, you buy in and that gives you a chance to win in varying degrees according to limits such as the amount of the pot, how many participants stick or fold, your own expertise, luck of the draw and house rules. The rules are explicit and you judge your chances by those rules and bet accordingly. Poker is a good analogy for democracy because the operating protocol is (or should be) much the same. It starts with a level playing field. In America you buy in by being born here or achieving citizenship. The limits are much the same and depend on your choices of elected officials, personal participation, investment, etc. The outcome depends pretty much on how real we keep it.

In recent times all that has changed, because the game has been sold out to a faction that assures that no matter how the betting goes, the house wins. We vote on elected officials that are all in the employ of the house and represent only their needs and interests. The limits imposed upon us are clearly illustrated by the fact that if you are a candidate that represents any party other than Republican or Democrat, you have absolutely no chance of victory.

In essence, the reality has become that the game is more like a game of “pocket poker” whereas there are no real winnings, only points. These points are represented by the fiat dollars that make up our current economy. The rules are set and you have nothing to say about the outcome other than by pushing the buttons offered to you. If it were a real game of poker, you would stand a realistic chance of a win with a high pair. In pocket poker, it’s Jacks or higher so your pair of tens, because you are playing against only the game, wins you nothing. Our governmental system has become much the same. What you get is only the illusion of a win at best, because the game goes on as usual no matter who you think is representing you. The rules never change. This is contrary to the idea of democracy, which states that if the rules are not working, it is within your power to change them because in actuality you are part of the house. After all, in real poker, when it’s your turn to deal, you call the game.

One can make the assumption that their vote gives them a say in their fate and for a long time, that was absolutely the case. But today our government is homogenized and all the pesky hassle of doing any REAL maintenance has been comfortably remove from our agendas. “Ahh, ahh, I have become, comfortably numb”. Sound familiar?

Our vote is impotent if it can’t actually achieve something because, let’s face it, a bullet is only effective if it finds its mark. I have always maintained that if one does not vote, one has no right to complain and make no mistake, I LOVE to complain and have always voted to assure my bitching rights. But I’m finding that because of the reasons I’ve already described, voting is simply not enough. Being more proactive is necessary. But take heart. Being proactive has never been easier. With the advent of the internet came free media coverage and a means to make all our bitching count for something. Every time you blog your sentiments it is shared by someone. Unfortunately today, as often as not, the government is covertly listening as well. But hey, so what? If you’re worried about that, and well you might be, just watch what you say.

My concern is that even though most people are aware to some degree that things are not as they once were or as they should be, they are either too lazy or complacent or afraid to do anything about it, to care or to take a stand. The truth has a way of always eventually finding the light of day, but it takes some digging to clear away the layers of obfuscation that the powers-that-be put in place. The truth is that we are STILL supposed to be a democracy and that numbers count. The truth is that we CAN change things and make a difference if we get involved. The truth is that we DO have a choice. If the powers-that-be have anything to say about it, the only real choice we will have is, whether we are going to disappear out the window or down the toilet.

That’s not much of a choice at all. Please get involved.

The Illusion of Choice

George Yesthal

Brodheadsville, United States

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