Stunned is the word that comes to me. Stunned in the face of this shocking violence, the next in a seemingly endless line of senseless shootings. More hatred, more rage, more terror on the streets and TV screens of our country. Stunned nearly to silence. So today’s Side will be on the short side.
The sicknesses that make us such a murderous society go pretty deep, and I’m not ready to explore all that today. Those questions lead into realms outside the narrow boundaries I’ve set for this View from the Side blog. There may be a place and a time for me to write entries like “As Above So Below”, “The Games People Play”, or even, “The Shadow Knows!” But not today. I’m too stunned to go into new ground.
Staying inside the political realms I’m peering in on, one burning question rises through my tears. How could such a plague of violence as this continue so long without any remedy from our government? How could this go on? Again, the answers are so many and so over-determined that I can barely begin the list. History, the constitution, the financial interests of the gun manufacturers, bribery and corruption…
But from the Side I can’t help but see one over-riding factor that prevents any government action on this issue of public safety. It’s P.R. Burn-em’s Two-Party Circus, after all.
And at least part of the reason our government hasn’t acted on gun violence is the nature of the two-party system itself. The polarized, us vs. them, structure we are ruled by in Washington D.C. can’t act on any issue that has become identified with one of the parties. And since the Republicans are linked closely with gun ownership, the two-party system will never let itself make any large changes to the gun ownership laws. The two-party system freezes up on itself when it comes to certain issues. By design. Only a different system could make progress on this kind of issue possible.
Since leaving the Democratic Party, I’ve been critical of the two-party monopoly that controls our supposed democracy here in the United States. I’ve outlined some of the many flaws I see in our current system. Heck, criticizing the two-party circus is some of the most fun I have, over here on the side.
But I’ve been pretty remiss in offering alternatives. There are a number of reasons for this. But mostly, it’s just fookin’ hard, man! I just don’t really know how to change such an entrenched and powerful structure. And– though I can imagine a number of reforms that would help create a more democratic and participatory system– I cannot for the life of me imagine how they could come to happen in reality without some truly dramatic incident to force the current system to change.
But it’s still worth exploring some of the alternatives to P.R. Burn-em’s Two-Party Circus, even though we know it’s the only show in town for the foreseeable future. No alternative has come along that can challenge it. Yet. But, if and when the American people are ready to change their political habits, it’s good to know options exist. Right? And maybe a better system could allow us to get guns off of our streets, and stop the civil war our current system is sliding into.
Here’s an idea from Forbes for using flaws in the current party rules to create “sub-parties”. I like this idea.
Huff Post looks at some possible alternatives to the Two-party Circus. But how to get there? The Two-Party System would have to reform itself. That’s about as likely as rich people voting taxes on themselves.
In case I haven’t convinced you yet, this Vox article examines just how broken the two-party system is.
Hey, I’ve got an idea that could totally transform the two-party system. And it’s easy, and fun! Why don’t you all just quit your party, whichever one it might be? Become an independent voter, unaffiliated with any political party. Join all of us millions of voters over here on the Side, even for a little while. And then let me know how it feels. What the heck, right? You can always rejoin a party later, if you want.
So, I’ve said before how important I think it is to notice the gaps in the text, the blank spots in the picture, the absences, the lacunae in the news. What we aren’t being told tells us a lot. So let’s take a look for a moment at what’s not popping up much in the mainstream news cycle these days. Even stunned as I am, four big stories of the last couple weeks come to mind. What happened to Robert Mueller, Jeffrey Epstein, the Climate Crisis, and Impeachment?
I know they haven’t gone away, but I haven’t seen much about any of those issues in the news the last few days.
I wonder why. But then, I always do. So I’ll leave you to ponder, too. ’Til the morning comes.