Kellia’s World – Recommended Reading

Challenging the assumptions we live by — Because I want to.

Jerry D. Rose: Off on the wrong track?

Posted by kelliasworld on October 26, 2008

[This Op-Ed, which originally appeared in The Sun, a newspaper published in Gainesville, FL, is reprinted here by permission of the author. You will see other articles by Mr. Rose in Kelliasworld from time to time. You are invited to visit his sites: The Sunshine State Activist, which contains many articles of interest to people outside of Florida, and his blog Principled Progressive].

Published: Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 24, 2008 at 3:04 p.m.

Public opinion polls are showing that only about 10 percent of people are saying that the U.S. is going in the “right direction,” most saying we are on the “wrong track.”

Cagle Cartoons

This mood of pessimism about the country’s future is widely cited as a reason that Barack Obama has forged his way to a seemingly commanding lead in the presidential preference polls.

The thinking is that people usually vote for an opposition party when they are dissatisfied with conditions under the incumbent one.

Such analysis no doubt contains a grain of truth that should be acknowledged.

But when I cast my ballot for president on the November ballot in Florida, I am faced with a choice of not two but (count them) 13 choices.

Each of the 11 alternates represents a more or less different “track” if I don’t care for the one furnished by either of the two major parties’ nominees.

How will I and other Florida voters choose a “track” when faced with a full set of options? Will we accept the box placed around our choices by our media and our peers, making a choice between the two tracks represented by the Republican and Democratic candidates?

Perhaps we will, but suppose we find nothing in the track records of either the McCain or Obama tickets that would impel us to get on either of their trains?

What if we feel that, no matter which track is taken, the destination will be the same: a cliff just outside town that the train will go over whenever we reach the point of an international conflagration or (in case we miss this cliff) an abyss of economic collapse on a train with engineers in the payroll of the Wall Street combine that drives the engine of our national economy?

Suppose we want something different; like progressive taxation, a fair tax, a reduction in government size, a socialist rather than a capitalist society, a world at peace rather than in incessant war, etc.

We will find congenial “tracks” in our list of 11 or whatever alternatives to our two corporacratic parties and some of us will choose one of those tracks, feeling that while that track may not get us to our preferred destination, it at least will not run us over one of those aforementioned cliffs toward which the D Train and the R Train are headed.

If our peers, parties, pundits and presidential debate organizers have their ways and get us all back on the Obama track, we’ll all be duly making our “lesser of evil” choices. The Obama lead in the polls might then hold up when the only poll that counts is conducted in November.

If too many of us stray off the track, we might indeed “spoil” the election for a Democratic Party that has in fact spoiled itself through its failure to select candidates who are genuine alternatives to the Republican ones.

If that happens, we track-strayers will of course face the full wrath of those who will blame us for the train wreck of the country in the coming McCain administration.

But maybe, just maybe, the Democrats will come to the realization that, if they want the unquestioning support of the American people, they need to put the party back on a track that represents the values of their paying (voting) customers, not those of their corporate paymasters

Jerry D. Rose is a retired sociology professor living in Gainesville. He operates The Sun State Activist and Principled Progressive, Web sites which present news and views from a progressive point of view.


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