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Political inbreeding-The U.S. and the need for ideological variety

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Political inbreeding-The U.S. and the need for ideological variety

Nino Pagliccia

28 September 2011

 

An opinion piece by Ted Rall appeared today in the newspaper Al Jazeera titled “The de-politicisation of political media”.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/201192493625755405.html

One of the main points in the article is the increasing use by political media of the term “the base” in reference to the two American political parties. The term is never defined but supposedly everyone knows what it means – the core support centre of the parties. It makes me think of Star War movies when they refer to “The Force”. Except American politics is not science fiction. Or is it?

As the title suggests, the article states that there is a “de-ideologising of mainstream discourse” from the 1960s and 1970s when leftist personalities were more prominent on the political stage in the U.S. as opposed to today.

When it comes to the two political parties in the U.S. – Democratic and Republican – in relation to the political media and ideology there are several points that come to mind that help understand the American political make up.

1- Two perennial parties don’t make a democracy. The U.S. is prone to preaching democracy to the whole world but I have seen more democracy in terms of variety of ideologies in other countries; that includes Venezuela with 18 major parties and 62 “other parties” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_Venezuela). I just came back from India where I was told there are more than 400 parties (!).

2- The Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S. are hardly distinguishable. It is no mystery that they represent the same corporate/military apparatus whose goal is not necessarily the well-being of the people. Just take a look at current American issues: scrambling to “support” corporations with bailouts and a few American-led wars around the world. It was like this with Bush (Republican). It is like this with Obama (Democratic).

3- Because of #2 above, there is no political ideology in the two parties. The debate between "tax or don’t tax the rich" can hardly be called ideology.

4- Ideology has never been present in US politics unlike the suggestion in the article. There have been only independent popular expressions that were never allowed to flourish and materialize as alternatives to the traditional parties. The media use of the amorphous term "the base" further removes ideology by avoiding the use of political labels.

5- U.S. status quo has worked hard at eliminating any ideology from the party system; examples are socialism, Ralph Nader, etc. In doing so it has eliminated the necessary variety for the survival of political life in a society.

6- Media are corporations therefore see point 2 above. No changes will come from them; on the contrary...

7- Without political variety American society is becoming diseased with "political inbreeding". This shows as a lack of energy, credibility and ingenuity in producing real social changes both domestically and internationally. We see signs of this already in economic apathy, increased crime rate and increased resistance to American domination.

8- What is the cure for inbreeding? The only one cure known is openness and being receptive to ideological variety even when it appears to be “foreign” or “extreme”.  No more melting pot, but rather an invitation to contribute new cultures, new thinking, new values and, yes, new ideologies. The alternative is a slow self-inflicted death of the Empire, but many will die with it. Many may welcome this. But many others, Americans included, would like to see a transformation of the Empire from a big world bully into a cooperative friend of the international community.

9- Who can administer this cure? This is a tough question. Ideally, Americans themselves should in order to transform and survive. Realistically, the cure will come from outside and this is bound to destroy the Empire as we know it. We see some signs of this already not to mention that we are told so by the main teacher: History.


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Nino Pagliccia (Nino Pagliccia)
Vancouver, BC
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