Calm down, Greg

A typically excellent piece by Greg Palast recently exposed some more about the now almost routine cynicism of the US government. His article revealed how a piece of software is being used to carry out a huge purge of mainly non-white people from the US electoral role – apparently most non-white people in the US usually vote Democrat. Then just yesterday we learn that in the US mid-term elections the Republicans won control of Congress.

Greg Palast wrote with his usual mix of biting sarcasm and pent-up rage. Obviously the point he made is pretty important; but by the time I reached the end of the piece I felt like saying: “Calm down, Greg.  Surely you know that it really doesn’t make a scrap of difference whether the Republicans or Democrats win any US election: it’s exactly the same difference; it’s a rigged system where no matter who appears to be running the country the real movers and shakers (the bankers, the media moguls, corporate CEOs, military/”security”/”intelligence” communities) are all entirely unaffected. The illusion of western democracy is just a piece of theatre to trick the plebs into thinking they’re in charge. They’re not, and never have been.”

Excellent though Greg’s piece is, it’s also something of a distraction. It suggests that it matters whether someone votes Republican or Democrat. It doesn’t, because what you get is the same old same old no matter which of them wins the day. A surprisingly large number of people actually know this, and the proof they know it can be seen in the number of people who either can’t be bothered to vote at all, or who vote for third parties – more as a protest vote than for any realistic expectation they might win. But the larger that number becomes, the better the chance the cynical illusion of western democracy might get fixed.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.