Letter to the Phoenix: Why Does Voting in the Presidential Elections Seem So Important?

Note: The Red Phoenix does not edit the content of letters and reproduces them as a glimpse into the minds of working people in the US.

The Red Phoenix received the following letter from G. Green on the nature of the 2020 election. G. Green is a “matriarch and worker bee, career bartender, and mom/head of household” living in Florida.

Nowadays in the US, it is made abundantly clear that everyone wants you to vote, to exercise your right to participate and be heard. All types of people, from politicians to celebrities, to community pillars, family members and even Atlanta’s leading exotic dancers are rushing you to get your booty to the polls.

When I was younger, there was a Hilton heiress all over the media telling us simultaneously to ‘Rock The vote!’ and ‘Stop being poor’ in the same year.  I wondered… Why would Paris want me to vote? After all, I hated her and all the privilege she represented so why should she care what I have to say about anything? It came as no surprise when the news broke that the thin, spoiled and famous blonde didn’t just not vote that year but in fact, she wasn’t even registered to do so. Her voting performance was done for social capital, and had no real foundation in principle. In light of a recent Cambridge Study that tracked the real differences between the two parties, maybe Paris’ apathy was justified.

Voting may look and even feel good, but the truth is it doesn’t help anyone as the study suggests. There’s always been an extravagant aspect to American democracy. There’s the fanaticism of the people, the performative showmanship from the candidates and the  spectacle-like media wire in a constant whirr. Now we know as fact that this exhibition is an illusionary one. In the wake of  a global pandemic that still lingers in the US airwaves and having now more positive cases in the White House than in all New Zealand and North Korea for the last 10 days, the American people are focusing on science and trusting it more than ever. 

Science, in the shape of that recent study, tells us today that our vote does not make a difference at all. Because as it turns out, on the issues that effect our lives: deportation, poverty, police violence, and so on, which party wins has little effect. The study carefully measures how the two major parties affect economic, education, environment, crime, family social, and health outcomes and it finds ZERO differences between the democratic and republican parties.

I fail to see how this study has not made big news, this factual statistical information is more valuable now than ever before. Science has warned us before about the unsustainability of capitalism and the damaging effects of a rampant free market to the average citizen. Today, Science is shouting at us that the two ruling parties are just as one. It is showing the sham that our electoral process is on a whole new level. This isn’t just the electoral college, this is a blatant oligarchy and It’s not just your Marxist philosophy professor telling you, this is the premier journal in political science letting you know what’s up. Straight up. 

So, why would there be so much pressure to participate in a democracy that is purely theatrical? I think we all can agree that the canvassers, the census, the media and political ads are getting increasingly aggressive. Going as far as having each of the two major parties telling you to vote against the other, as opposed to, in their favor. Presidential candidates are running on a “I’m not the other guy” platform, and each party cries that the other will take away your basic liberties, trample your rights and destroy our country. Frankly, this style of campaigning feels insulting to the intelligence of anyone who can acknowledge that real democracy can not be founded in fear. 

The answer to why the establishment would want you to vote is simple :  

To make you feel good and look good and, to make the system look even better, like it’s actually working as if it was a real democracy. Voting, especially in this election, would be an incredibly self-serving act that satisfies mostly yourself. It justifies the collective faith in a system that isn’t broken or failed,  it was designed to be this way. It is one of the many ways to make oneself feel complacent by performing a ritual that does not make a difference. As Gore Vidal once said, “the two parties are just one party, representing four percent of the population.

The presidential elections have become  just another product for our massive consumption.



Categories: Interview, U.S. News

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