Richard Duncan and Ricky Johnson – Independent
Sheila Tittle and Matthew Turner – We, the People
Jeff Boss and Bob Pasternak – Independent
Dean Morstad and Josh Franke-Hyland – Independent
Jill Reed and Tom Cary – Twelve Vision Party
Jerry Litzel and Jim Litzel – Independent
Randall Terry and Missy Smith – Independent
Will Christensen and Kenneth Gibbs – Independent American Party
Jim Carlson and George McMahon – Grassroots Party
Jerry White and Phyllis Scherrer – Socialist Equality Party
Merlin Miller and Virginia Abernethy – American Third Position Party
Tom Stevens and Alden Link – Objectivist Party
Andre Barnett and Ken Cross – Reform Party
James Harris and Maura DeLuca – Socialist Workers Party
Stewart Alexander and Alejandro Mendoza – Socialist Party USA
Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan – Peace and Freedom Party
Tom Hoefling and J.D. Ellis – America’s Party
Peta Lindsay and Yari Osorio – Party for Socialism and Liberation
Virgil Goode and Jim Clymer – Constitution Party
Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala – Green Party
Gary Johnson and Jim Gray – Libertarian Party
Rocky Anderson and Luis J. Rodriguez – Justice Party
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan – Republican Party
Barack Obama and Joe Biden – Democrat Party
What do these 24 pairs of names have in common? This is not a trick question. It shouldn’t be difficult even. In fact, though I would imagine that many of you do not recognize more than 6 of those (and one of those you probably don’t recognize from this context), you probably did guess from the last few entries that what they all have in common is that every entry on this list has thrown their hat in the ring for election to the Presidency of the United States in 2012.
“But, we have a two-party system!” No, not really. We have a winner take all voting system. That is not the same thing. We have a media system that is based on feeding the lowest common denominator. It is definitionally conservative, in that it has monied interest in conserving, maintaining the status quo, and is also populated by people who have been fed by that same lowest common denominator for a long time. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. As with any other form of education, we cannot simply sit back and expect to be spoon-fed. It is a process that requires full engagement. It requires us to be actively looking for information. We cannot simply expect that we are being told the truth, particularly when we know that we have been lied to repeatedly. Not in the general, “Politicians lie” or “The news got the details wrong” sense. We know that these specific politicians intentionally lied. We know that these specific news outlets intentionally misreported information. What’s more, we know that they continue to do so.
And, in case the electorate simply isn’t ignorant enough of the choices that they have, the Great Satans will actively act to remove them from the ballots, so that no one would accidentally find out about them at the last minute while in the ballot booth. In Pennsylvania, the Republican branch had managed to have the Constitution Party remove themselves from the ballot simply by threat, and they are challenging the Libertarian party and its candidate to have him removed from the ballot.
As Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results. So, why would we expect that we could expect known liars to tell us the truth this time? As adults, do we not remember hearing from our parents that the problem with telling a lie is that everything we say after that is suspect? As parents, did we not tell our children essentially the same thing? So, why is it that we allow our politicians and our media to get away with this?
Last week, I discussed fact checking. Why do we have to have such a proliferation of fact checking, to the point where it has become a career unto itself? Because we know that we are being lied to. We have come to expect it. We expect it from our politicians. We expect it from our media. We expect it from our bosses. We expect it from our co-workers. We generally expect it from everyone around us. We have even come to expect it from our educators. Entertainment became enmeshed with information, and truth became almost indistinguishable in the public venue from lie. As a result, we developed the careers of fact checkers. But, even that wasn’t good enough, because then, we decided to revert to the old religious standby of attacking the source.
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