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  • Writer's pictureB. Thomas Marking

Our Thriving Political Industry

To all my rebelutionary friends, I highly recommend a book by Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter entitled "The Politics Industry". It is an impressive, concise, and compelling indictment of America politics. The central premise is that our political system is not broken, as many avow, but is, instead, delivering exactly what it is designed to do, and doing it with the utmost efficiency.

Our industry is a two-headed monopoly that can set any price for its services (whether provided or not), can write all the rules it lives by (or ignore them), builds great walls to keep out any would-be competitors (third-party candidates), and stifles any promising innovation (like rank choice voting or the Fair Tax system).

However, the actual clients of the two major parties (financiers, incumbent office holders, idealogues, lobbyists, and corporate media outlets), are all quite pleased with the way things work inside the beltway. The rest of us, not so much.

Gehl and Porter note that we Citizens, sadly, have learned to be helpless. We take for granted that:

o Unsuitable red and blue candidates will be our only choices.

o Billions will be spent annually to buy political influence.

o Bizarre "legislative" boundaries will skew all voting.

o Our government is incapable of passing a budget (balanced or otherwise).

o Critical issues will never be resolved by our Congress.

o And, there is nothing we can do about it.

I can only conclude that the Democrats and Republicans (and their media propagandists) who point fingers at each other and wail that our democracy is in peril are putting on an act. If they actually believed in democracy:

# The two houses of Congress wouldn't be run like petty dictatorships. No Senator or Representative would be more equal than another.

# Service in Congress would be limited to twelve years to promote innovation.

# Campaign finance reform to end corrupt big money influence would be in place to promote equity.

# Artificial barriers to third-party candidates would be abolished to promote diversity.

# Gerrymandering would have been outlawed to enable inclusion.

# Etcetera, Etcetera

Most importantly, if America's political industry were designed to promote and preserve democracy, our citizens would have a direct voice, and a leading role, in setting the national policies that affect their lives (a right the Swiss have enjoyed for decades).

There IS something we lowly Citizens can do to change our political culture. We've done it before. Obviously, the business of politics needs a healthy dose of competition. As Gehl and Porter note: it will not self-correct and

"Politics has become the pre-eminent barrier to addressing

the very problems it exists to solve."

There are now hundreds of grass-roots initiatives with ideas on how to make the American Political system something we can again be proud of. They need to congeal into a single movement to be more effective, but that will happen one day. The sooner the better!


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