Getting past the ‘Viability’ Marketing Scam & ‘Wasting Vote’ Misconception
During the last two years I have been engaging in a certain ritual each time I get together with friends or acquaintances. Usually this is how it goes: we chat about how much ‘worse’ things have gotten since Obama became president, on issues from expansion of our imperialistic wars to illegal domestic spying to fiasco-ridden bailouts to the continuation of torture and assassination programs… At some point during these intense discussions I lean over the table, look directly in my companion’s eyes and say the following: ‘Come on, admit it, and admit it loud and clear, with no ifs or buts. Say it; say I wasted my vote.’ The reaction is usually something like this: ‘I really had hopes for this guy,’ or ‘considering the other evil I didn’t have much of a choice,’ or something along these lines. But as you may know I don’t give up that easily, so I press harder: ‘whatever the reason, do you now see your vote as completely misplaced and wasted?! If so, just say it.’ To make a long story short, I usually succeed. I get them to admit, loud and clear, with each syllable emphasized: Yes! I wasted my vote.
Let me explain my intentions before you take me as someone who gets some sort of a perverse pleasure in being proved right, or, rubbing people’s noses in their mistakes. Because I don’t take any pleasure whatsoever from this particular ritual, neither do I consider myself some sort of winner in a competition. I engage in this ritual because I truly believe in ‘admitting to our fallacies’ as the first step in getting over them and or not repeating our past mistakes. It is one thing to be objective enough to criticize one’s chosen candidate, but it is a totally different ball game when we take responsibility and own up to our own role in creating or putting in place the wrong candidate. And I believe three major mistakes we as a nation repeatedly commit are the following:
1- Buying into our Media’s Marketing Scam in Creating a ‘Viability’ Illusion
2- Believing in & Repeating the Myth of Wasting One’s Vote
3- The Lesser of Two Evils Mentality
Two years ago I wrote the following on the self-defeating lesser of two evils mentality, and I still stand by it:
On the issue of casting votes, one of the points I keep hearing, over and over, is that ‘I knew it even back then, but I had to choose and vote for the lesser of two evils.’
Don’t you consider this, at least to a degree, to be acceptance of ‘no hope for real change’ when it matters the most, during elections? First, to readily accept that we are limited to only choices that have been declared as ‘viable’ by the same MSM and establishment we seek to change.
Second, to helplessly adopt a mindset that says ‘evilness’ is an inevitable prerequisite for ‘viable’ candidates.
When it comes to ‘evilness,’ there is no reliable standard of measurement. Let’s say, for example, that the pre-selected options are: Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, and Senator McCain. How do you measure their degree of ‘evilness?’ For arguments sake, let’s say there is a standard of “evilness” measurement, and when applied to these candidates you get the following data: on a scale of ‘0 to 100’ on the evilness measurement index (‘100’ being absolute evil, ‘0’ being no evil qualities), McCain ranks 98, Clinton 96, and Obama 94. Based on this do people feel justified in voting for the lesser of the ‘given’ three, even though that candidate still ranks extremely high in ‘evilness’?
And in that same article I summed up the myth of wasting one’s vote:
The second issue I want to bring up has to do with the notion shared by many: I didn’t want to ‘Waste’
“I know there are other candidates who are ‘much less evil’ and have much better track records. However, as you see, they don’t have a chance. The MSM and the establishment have either marginalized them or never acknowledged them in the first place. They have no chance, thus, I won’t ‘waste my vote and will choose between the ‘viable’ candidates declared ‘electable.’”
We don’t give those ‘better’ candidates a chance even when we believe in them and their competence. What if every one of us who’ve been active and pushing for ‘real changes’ disregarded the ‘established’ etiquette of candidate viability, went out and actually voted for the candidate we trusted ? What if by doing this that ‘nonviable’ candidate ended up with, lets’ say 15% of total votes? Granted he or she has not become the ultimate winner, elected, but what do you think that 15% would mean in the next election? Would it encourage more people to do the same, cast their vote based on what they really believe? Would it motivate better people to rise up and take on leadership? Would it help the current landscape of the MSM – promoting coverage of a ‘people’s candidate’? And finally, what if two election seasons later we get to see a ‘people’s candidate’ with 50% or more of votes cast?
Now, let’s talk about our ‘dependent’ media’s viability criteria when it comes to political candidates, since this may very well be the major factor shaping the other two fallacies. After all, they, the media, package, market and sell the two candidates deemed and stamped as viable by their bosses. I am saying ‘let’s talk about,’ since I want this to be a discussion with you as participants. I want us to look at previous ‘viable candidates’ we put in high office guided by the media’s systematic vote-shaping marketing scams, and I would like us to take note of how they currently are setting the stage for their bosses’ choice of ultimate finalists this time around. We are going to list ingredients that go into the establishment’s chosen viable candidate, and dissect the anatomy of a viable candidate. I’ll start the discussion and let you continue and expand upon it.
Last February I came across a selectively picked and rather contained quasi debate posted at the Politico site on the viability of Republican candidates post CPAC. What caught my attention was not so much the quasi experts and agenda-driven analysts who are in on this marketing scam, but the terminology and adjectives long-used by our media to systematically shape the direction of election votes. I am talking about words and adjectives that become glued to candidates to create the myth or illusion of viability or non-viability which then, after being repeated thousands, no millions of times, become accepted reality by the unknowing majority. For this case, I am going to use Ron Paul as the perfect example. Here are a few phrases of ‘non-viable’ rhetoric with catch-words emphasized:
Paul’s occasional embrace of seemingly bizarre issues has created the impression among most voters that he is a fringe candidate… Dr. Paul would be hard pressed to be viewed as a viable candidate for president.
These voters see Dr. Paul as an outsider holding fringe views. Although the voters probably have more in common with Dr. Paul than not, they already have a soured view of him – a condition that isn’t likely to change.
He clearly has a niche among the electorate… I wouldn’t expect him to be the GOP nominee
Of course Ron Paul can never be elected president. He’s a quirky, schoolmarm-ish eccentric whose quixotic tangents – like a return to the gold standard – are too far removed from the average person’s day-to-day concerns. And he looks more like the clerk at a hardware store than a president.
No one can argue that Ron Paul had a real following in pockets of the country, but he has no chance in another presidential run…
He has a track record of wacky statements going back 30 years, and bizarre and racist associations… It’s tragic that the national hopes of libertarian conservatism are lodged in such an imperfect vessel as Ron Paul…
Ron Paul has some strong and populist views on issues that are unlikely to sweep him into office.
Ron Paul would make a great Republican presidential candidate…if he was running in 1924. Come to think of it, he does have that dry Calvin Coolidge routine down pat.
In the next year or so we’ll witness the following adjectives being attached to Ron Paul over and over, every day, and a hundred or more times a day: Not Viable, Fringe, Marginal, Eccentric, Nutty, Quack, Old, Ugly, Racist, Extremist, Radical, Sexist…
There are certain qualities that go completely against the opinion-shapers’ viability propaganda rules. Let’s list a few;
Consistency is a major no-no when it comes to candidate viability as determined by the establishment and its media. A flip-flopping and contradictory statement-action record is viewed as a Must; it is considered a necessary characteristic of a good politician. Obama’s inconsistency is viewed and presented as a sign of him being a savvy politician. As a senator he supports NSA illegal wiretapping and protects the participating businesses, then he says he will stand against it and stop it as a president, and then, as president he continues and expands it. There you have it: a masterful politician. Now, Ron Paul has been exhibiting the opposite, and that is a problem; that makes him not politician-like and a fringe. How could he be so courageous (Radical) as to stand against the PATRIOT ACT and other similar police state practices when doing so was so politically unpopular! And, remain that way?! That is just craziness! Now apply that to the same consistent positions on NSA illegal wiretapping, FBI National Security Letters …How so boring, thus not viable!
War & The Military Industrial Complex
Let’s admit it: if you are not indebted to the Military Industrial Complex, thus, not committed to war, interventionism and imperialistic expansion, you are simply crazy, unrealistic, and simply not presidential material. Those drones, the bombs, the F-16s, tanks and armor cannot sit on shelves as un-liquidated inventory surplus, or even worse, unmade. That’s the position of the Military Industrial Complex and its tentacles and advocates in the US media. Now, you get a man who has consistently opposed wars, throughout his political career, who has been known as Anti War throughout his life, a man who calls war a racket, and you have a man considered not viable. To not make it sound what it is, anti-war, since that has some positive connotations, they’ll simply make him out to be a nutcase.
Powerful Foreign Lobby Influence-Israel
An absolute commitment to US interests and respect for all human life regardless of ethnicity or race is not tolerated if it gets in the way of certain powerful nation’s interests and lobby, and this applies mainly to Israel. No viable candidate in his or her right mind would criticize or speak against the interests of Israel that are in conflict with American’s interests. This is considered one of the most important 10 commandments of political viability, and those who dare to challenge it are stamped as Anti-Semitic Radicals. Ron Paul has dared, and dared this viability commandment consistently; in words and in actions, and that my friend is another sacred no-no no establishment candidate may cross.
Constitutionality, Small Government & True Americanism
Today, our founding fathers, our first few presidents, would be considered absolutely Not Viable. Think about it, how could the men who said and did everything in their power to restrain government’s powers, advocated and fought for small government, and warned against the danger of big government and government becoming the domestic enemy of our Constitution, be considered viable by the military industrial complex, financial institution-federal reserve, powerful foreign lobbies, and of course, the government itself?! The same people, these same opinion shapers, who call Ron Paul a radical anarchist, would have used those same exact adjectives against the architects of our Constitution, and declared them all non-viable.
I am not going to try to make too many points, and I am not sitting here advocating and campaigning. You can switch the name to Kucinich or Nader, and see similar adjectives and labeling come pouring. Too short, too ugly, too strict, too naïve, way too radical, not politician enough, crazy, nutcase, eccentric, anal, ugly, old, uncharismatic…Instead, let’s flip this trend, and list what goes into a ‘viable’ candidate’s anatomy as far as the establishment, the same establishment that has gotten us into perpetual wars, illegal domestic spying practices, trillions in deficit and a tanking economy… is concerned.
I’ll start the list and have you add your items in the comments section:
Inconsistent & Convenient Flip Flopper
A Good Actor & a Great Pathological Liar (Think ‘Change, Change, Change’;-)
Indebted to the Military Industrial Complex
Committed to Perpetual Wars & Imperialistic Foreign Policy Practices
A Major Advocate of Big Government
Approved & Supported by the Israel Lobby
Polished & Groomed by the Political Marketing Industry
Disregard for the Constitution and or Savvy in Bypassing the Constitution
Trusted & Counted On by Financial Conglomerates & the Secret Federal Reserve
There. You now have my initial list of US Political Market’s Viability Criteria. Please treat it as a starter, and add yours.