Bathwater is the New Baby

I’m planning to graduate in December, and like most of the first- and second- year seniors at this school, I have put off liberal studies until the absolute last moment. Consequently, this semester I’m taking Math 101. For our final project in the class, the professor has split the class into groups and asked each of them to devise and conduct a public opinion survey and then evaluate the results based on the statistical formulas we studied in class. My group chose to construct a 95% confidence interval for the candidate who most of the population at WCU believes will win the Democratic Party primary and will go on to be the Democratic presidential candidate in November. The project is not finished yet, but our results at the time of press show Barack Obama with 84% support and Hillary Clinton with 16%. Our group has had a hard time completing our survey because most people are reluctant to choose a candidate. Our zeitgeist is apathy. That is to say, the “spirit of our times” is an attitude that “Someone else will decide for me.” Getting behind a candidate will only lead to disappointment if the candidate is defeated. We can’t throw out hope no matter how bleak things currently look. The American democracy is unique among the governments that people have devised. The ideals of representation and equal representation under they system of law, the government of the people by the people for the people, these ideals need to be preserved. Our system may not be perfect, but we don’t have to abandon it no matter how cynical we become.To understand what I mean, we only have to look at recent American history. The assassination of JFK by an unknown gunman in Dallas was, in a sense, the end of the “American Dream”. President Kennedy was a dynamic, charismatic character that won the 1960 election with promises of moon voyages by the end of the decade and a nation of people who “ask not what [their] country can do for [them], but what [they] can do for [their] country.” The bullets in Dallas were the first coffin nails to be driven into the casket of American political optimism. While following in his older brother’s footsteps, presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy was killed in a hail of gunfire after leaving a rally in Los Angeles. Like his brother, Bobby was an optimist who believed in a just nation with equal rights for all. An assassin in Memphis killed dreamer and activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; an angry man with a gun, too, felled John Lennon. Dreams are not good things to have in this America. They make us targets for those that don’t want things to change. In the 70s, there was the now- famous Watergate break-in, which would eventually force President Richard Nixon to resign in shame. Nixon was, by no stretch of this writer’s imagination, a paranoid individual. He was worried about election results, so he hired some goons to break into the national democratic headquarters. This is the first instance where the American political process was subverted through the use of what Sen. Barack Obama calls “dirty politics.” The difference between Nixon and our infamous commander-in-chief is that Nixon had the dignity and the overall common sense to know what he was doing was wrong and step down when he was caught. Nixon spent the rest of his life begging for the American people to forgive him, even refusing a presidential funeral. There are many who still believe that Bush stole the election in the year 2000; that his brother Jeb Bush, who still resides in the mansion of the Floridian governor, promised the electoral votes from “his” state to the future “commander-in-thief”. How possible is it that when it appeared that the people were going to vote the other way, measures were taken to disenfranchise voters in Miami-Dade and other Floridian districts, which were believed to be heavily democratic? Those who can read the signs of the times know that this is just the tip of a ship-sinking iceberg. The 2000 election was the first election the millennial generation witnessed and was old enough to comprehend. It was a rigged contest in which voters were deprived of their rights and the American public was openly deceived. The rest of the world looks to the U.S. as the model of democracy. The Carter Center is a non-profit organization that was founded by former president Jimmy Carter and whose mission it is to ensure that elections in countries around the world are legitimate expressions of the will of the people who participate in them. If we can’t hold a legitimate election in this country, how can we expect anyone else to do so? George W. Bush has done nothing but lie to and deceive the American people for the past eight years. He’s turned the Clinton surplus into a Bush deficit. He’s involved our troops in a hostile imperialist conflict that shows no signs of ending any time soon. He’s lied to us about weapons of mass destruction during the State of the Union Address, and declared war on another nation without the approval of congress or the American public. His administration has exposed the identity of one of our CIA operatives (See Valerie Plame Affair) and he’s allowed U.S. companies to outsource to other countries leaving blue-collar workers with no way to feed their children. This is a president who doesn’t read the paper, and doesn’t demonstrably care about the public or their opinion. This is a president who, by his own admission, spends more time on his ranch “clearing brush” than he does in Washington. Has everyone forgotten about how Vice President Dick Cheney shot one of his friends in the face while hunting turkeys? The man apologized to Cheney (probably out of fear). I feel I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll get to the point. In the face of all this, what can we, the American public, do to make this nation the great and respected global super-power we once were? It’s awfully tempting to give up in the face of all this. Let’s not forget that Bill Clinton was impeached and almost removed from office for receiving oral sex. In the light of the crimes against America perpetrated by this corrupt Bush administration, Clinton’s impeachment seems like something from the pages of Mad Magazine. What is wrong with America? Is everybody taking crazy pills? Whoever is the next president will have their work cut out for them. But we can’t give up. We can’t quit caring. If we do then all we’ve done is thrown Baby Democracy out with the filthy bathwater of lies and corruption.