Obama or Romney: It Matters as much as Choosing Pepsi over Coke
Most Americans believe that they live in a democracy, which implies options to choose from. They still think that the United States has a two-party system with real differences between Democrats and Republicans. But in reality the very same non-elected people have been pulling the strings and making policy decisions for the sake of the same interests for decades. Alan Greenspan is of course a typical example of this, but so are Kissinger and Brzezinski on issues of foreign policy. Larry Summers, a Clinton man who had a big responsibility in creating the real-estate bubble and the subsequent 2008 crash, quickly became one of President Obama’s key economic advisers. Ben Bernanke, President Obama’s Chairman of the Fed was George W. Bush’s Chairman of the Fed. The same troubling continuity of powerful policy players took place between the Reagan and Bush Sr. Administration and the Clinton administration.
It is hard to pinpoint when this democracy took a wrong turn towards a plutocracy where oligarchs stay in power from one generation to the next. Where a political aristocracy has the impudence to maintain an incestuous relationship with bankers and corporations at the expense of the people that they are supposed to represent. And where a small group of non-elected powerful “wise men” pull the strings in the background, like puppet masters, one administration after the other. Americans are not, in general, very well informed, and most are still under the illusion that the two parties give them real options. This said, US citizens intuitively understand the corruption and failures of their political class. Currently, the public approval rating of the US Congress is 17 percent compared to 75 percent disapproval. It is at one of the lowest levels of confidence in US history.
Some were hoping that election 2012 would be less predictable than the usual American political charade by offering some real choices or at least some debate. A few politicians could have found the courage to challenge the plutocracy’s status quo, and at least open the necessary discussion. Some of us were putting our hopes on Congressman Ron Paul, on the right, and Senator Bernie Sanders, on the left, to disrupt the smoke and mirrors maze of America’s pathetic political discourse. Each of them could have challenged the monstrosity that has become the monolithic Demorepublocrat one-party system. But it will not happen this time around, and it might never happen at all unless money is taken out of politics. In US politics, just like in branding and marketing, only money talks. There is no room for small brands, and the big brands have only minute differences between them.
I almost never drink either Pepsi or Coke, but unless you have developed a branding fixation/addiction for either of them, they are very hard to tell apart. Both soda concoctions have a lot in common; they have a lot of sugar and caffeine, and they represent, unless consumed in extreme moderation, a serious hazard to your health. In a society where consumption is king, politics and politicians have become a product, a brand. When consumers go to the market, if they like sodas, they might buy Pepsi or Coke.
Voters, the consumers of talking points of their favorites cable news, will be faced with the same type of dilemma when it is time to vote in November 2012. Does it really matter? Will their choice change US policies domestically and abroad? Domestically, Wall Street and the big corporations will still be calling the shots, in either case, and Congress will display its usual inertia. Internationally, the same imperialist US policies will be maintained or even extended in both instances. So, whoever wins in November probably matters as much as buying a Pepsi instead of a Coke when you go to the supermarket.