GUEST COLUMN: Useless presidential elections should be treated with disdain
The American presidential election is a farce.
Both parties’ candidates are controlled by the same interest: corporate money, not the people.
Of course, the Electoral College always has kept the choice of president out of the people’s hands. Then in 2010, the Supreme Court further diluted our political voice by opening the floodgates for corporate campaign contributions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
But now, with the voter ID laws Republicans are using to suppress votes across the country, the basic unfairness of the presidential race has become intolerable. These laws require a photo ID to vote and inevitably keep poor and minority voters out of the political process.
This is why I’m disgusted with the quadrennial embarrassment of our presidential election.
The saddest part is some people still think it really matters. In truth, the government is not being reconstituted so much as our people are releasing pent-up steam.
It is an excuse to get worked up over two very general issues (that most people, including myself, know almost nothing about): foreign policy and domestic policy.
The social issues within domestic policy — gay rights, stem cells, abortion, war on drugs, immigration — are not really affected by the presidential election. Real change for them happens much more often on a local level.
America is simply too large for blanket regulations on these issues, to the dismay of demagogues pushing one way or the other. Honestly, if it bothers you that much, move to a part of the country more tolerant to your own beliefs.
Foreign policy also is a non-issue in the presidential election. There is no real choice. Both candidates essentially would maintain the aggressive military posture of the United States by supporting Israel and maintaining troops — excuse me, “military advisors” — in Iraq and Afghanistan.
These positions are the result of hard-and-fast circumstances neither candidate has the political capital to overcome and were caused as much by economic factors as patriotic ones.
It seems as long as we loudly beat our chests and proclaim ourselves a capitalist country, we will be exporting war for profit.
So the presidential election is an annoyingly inconsequential brouhaha (which, like a true American faced with a public mess, I can’t look away from).
The media is as much to blame for this as our own flawed election institutions.
Instead of educating citizens on their disenfranchisement from the process, it revels in the constant stream of campaign stories that make for good “gotcha!” moments but not good debate.
Real ideas take a backseat to mudslinging and gaffes, and reality takes a backseat to both.
If you care about America, do your duty and treat the presidential election with the scorn it deserves.
Write to Oklahoma’s senators and representatives. Tell them how dissatisfied you were with how the election was carried out.
Tell them you want to get the money out of presidential politics and put the power back into the hands of the people.
Telling our legislators what we think is the simplest way to change our system for the better.
We must repeal voter ID laws and amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. We must end the Electoral College, and we must include more third parties on the ballot, as President David Boren encouraged the country to do by supporting Americans Elect.
Direct democracy should not be a scary word in the land of the free.
And despite the futility of it, you should probably just go out and vote for President Barack Obama.
He’s the slightly less evil hand puppet of the military-industrial complex, as far as the truth I’m subscribing to is concerned — which, in our post-modern, infotainment-drenched world is about the most I can say about that.
Besides, there are important state questions that get answered on Nov. 6. Among other things, there is a bond issue to improve Oklahoma’s water infrastructure, something that’s sorely needed considering the dangerous amounts of heavy metals in our aquifer.
Then, after election day, we can work to reform our currently corrupt presidential election. And I think that’s something everyone can drink to.
Justin Mai, letters junior