Though there have been more than 32 political parties in the USA, most Americans can name only two – Republicans and Democrats. However, in addition to Republican Senator Mitt Romney and US Democratic President Barak Obama, there are other candidates running for the office of president. Last month Oakland’s Oaksterdam University presented Peace & Freedom Party presidential candidate, Roseanne Barr, to a packed house. Presidential hopeful, Barr, stirred the standing-room-only crowd with a powerful message of social justice and environmental protection, making it perfectly clear that she is a formidable presidential contender. Yet major networks routinely label non-republican and non-democratic challengers as “unlikely candidates” – implying they are inconsequential opponents. Is that democracy?
Major media networks provide superfluous coverage on sports, entertainment, fashion, electronics, and other arenas that have little to do with the course of democracy, while failing to provide the voting public with needed, in-depth coverage on other presidential candidates from other political parties (the Independent Party, the Green Party, the Socialist Party, the Libertarian Party, the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party/Constitution Party, the Labor Party, the Communist Party, the American Populist Party, & the Citizens Party of the US, etc.). Is that how democracy works?
A multi-million dollar menagerie of advertising campaigns replete with personal groomers, celebrity stylists, expensive speech-writers, exclusive political strategists, and elite PR firms have overwhelming power and influence over media appeal and voter perception. By November 6th, voters have been thoroughly conditioned to choose between one of two popular politicians, each campaigning for a public office that is anonymously determined by an electoral college, and eventually beholden to corporate interests. Is that democracy?
The United States Constitution initially listed only three qualifications for US president (high school graduate; minimum age 35; and US citizenship). We now know, however, one must also be a billionaire (or have others donate then expect billions) in order to run for the office of United States president. So, does democracy “by and of the people” actually exists; or is ignorance bliss? Is tobacco safe? Is crouching beneath a classroom desk effective protection against an atomic bomb blast? Should people be concerned about global warming? If we cannot trust the media and the American government, who can “we the people” trust? Decisions, decisions …