Our Imperial Vote

November 5th, 2010 by Andy in America: Republic or Empire?

One of my favorite writers, former Air Force officer and now professor William Astore, nails the current political situation dead on with this no BS piece.

Yesterday, we went to the polls and cast our votes. The act of voting reassures us that we still live in a democracy. This is true in name only. For we are not a democracy; not even a republic. We are an empire.

The imperial reality is there to see. Bloated government bureaucracies. A “defense” establishment that continues to grow like topsy. Multinational corporations that we celebrate and empower as our First Citizens. Poisoned political rhetoric that dissuades people from voting. An undereducated populace consumed by real cares and distracted by phony entertainment.

We’re offered a simulacrum of “choice” (Democrats vs. Republicans), where in reality both parties are in thrall to elite interests (partly because politicians themselves are either in the elite, or they want to be in the elite). “Choice” yesterday often devolved to whether we wanted to drink Budweiser (the Republican brew) or Bud Lite (the Obama brew). Tired of the watered down, “Lite” version, this time many voters opted for the Republican brew.


A nation that fails to provide affordable health care and adequate education to all, even as it throws away trillions of dollars on unwinnable wars, is a nation on a road to irrelevance. On some level, I think we know this. Maybe that’s why we need so much patriotic pageantry - so many huge flags spread across baseball fields, so many renditions of “God Bless America” echoing in our coliseums - as compensation for our sense of unease.

So, what’s in our future? A revolution by the people in the name of greater liberty, equality, and fraternity? Not bloody likely, given our collective passivity. A fascist takeover? Also not likely, because it’s not necessary: The elites are already in control.

What we need are radical critiques followed by radical change.

Read The Full Article (and check out Astore’s work at TomDispatch.com.

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