I’ve been watching with horror the masses of people excited about Donald Trump. I’ve been watching with annoyance the Bernie Sanders voters who rail about “never Hillary” as if their voting records weren’t nearly identical.
What Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump stand for is very, very different. I voted for Bernie Sanders, after all, and would seriously look into leaving the country if Donald Trump were elected, after his hate-filled rhetoric.
But what they have in common is that they have pulled in disenchanted voters on opposite ends of the spectrum, who share a mutual frustration with the system. It’s the reason why my one Tea Party friend on Facebook, someone I know from elementary school who is now a small business owner in Texas, have in common is our dislike for the money in politics.
Because that is our system. We are a capitalist country, more or less run by corporations who government can only try and reign in and regulate – not get rid of entirely or even prevent from spending money in elections.
Like most things, it’s all on a continuum, as opposed to being black and white in the way that Trump and Sanders both tend to talk about it. But Citizens United means things swung pretty far in the direction of more money in politics, and that won’t change until we either elect enough people in Congress or get a substantially different Supreme Court makeup. It will probably swing back eventually.
But that’s the thing – our democracy is one of swings back and forth. Unless we dismantle the system entirely, that’s never going to change. So when people talk about voting for the “lesser of two evils” that really is all we can do. We can vote for the direction we want it to swing, but we can’t realistically expect revolution. People seem to have gotten the idea from Obama’s campaign that he promised he could bring about a revolution, but he never said that. He ran as a moderate Democrat and has governed as one. His foreign policy has largely been the same as both Bushes, and Bill Clinton’s. I’d like that to change, but clearly the corporate interests don’t. So I wait for that to swing back. Still, many not insignificant changes have happened in our country in the last years, in the realm of domestic policy and civil rights. Nothing revolutionary but still important.
We have a two party system. We always have, and we always will, unless the Great American Experiment ends. And I’m not sure we really want it to end, since we don’t know what will pop up in its place. Rather, we have to keep pressuring the system to shift in the direction we want it to shift, and have patience with things not moving fast enough.