For the first time in 48 years I violated my self-imposed moratorium on voting, voting in federal, state or local elections. In retrospect, “Shame on me” for violating my oath – I participated in a flawed and rigged electoral process that is fatally un-democratic – mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
The second time around – I last voted in 1968 – I registered on line using the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website. I was notified by mail that my polling place was at 2 East 90th Street which just happens to be the address of the Church of Heavenly Rest, a noted place for Christian worship. The neighborhood is replete with public spaces, museums and private and public schools. My voting venue was not an auspicious location for a supposedly secular act in selecting a secular leader for a religiously neutral state, notwithstanding our “In God We Trust” motto. It went from bad to worse.
To minimize my sin against righteousness and probity I filled only one oval shaped space on the electronic ballot. I noted my choice for President and Vice President as Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine and blackened the corresponding oval space next to their names. Please note that I did not vote for – I just noted my preference, a choice of the lesser of two evils. I left all the other choices empty with their oval shaped spaces blank, my sin of commission hopefully made small. I reluctantly scanned the ballot as my public auto-da-fé and left the nave of the church and its religious baggage behind.
I won’t bore you yet again by berating a system that allows two political parties to control the country’s destiny depriving other parties and candidates’ participation; that ignores the popular vote and adheres to an absurd Electoral College method of selection; that delegates voting requirements to corrupt gerrymandering state politicians and allows for votes and influence to be sold to the highest bidder.
As I write Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States elect. He campaigned on a promise of change and, for that matter, on a lot of other promises – none of which come to pass. You will not see a big beautiful wall on our southern border, one that Mexico will pay for. You will not see 11 million undocumented aliens deported from the United States and immigration police running rampant. You will not see a cheaper “fantastic” replacement for the Affordable Care Act-Obamacare. You will not see more support for our wounded veterans or a more robust military presence. You will not see a repatriation of jobs or untaxed profits to the United States. You will not see America great again. It will be what it will be.
We have been brought to this point by the arrogance of power. Fifty years ago, Senator William Fulbright spoke of the “arrogance of power … [and] the tendency … to equate power with virtue …” He was speaking of America and the role that it was playing in the world but those words are equally applicable to this election.
Start with the powers that control the Republican Party. The conventional wisdom was that Jeb Bush, the heir apparent, was destined to be the party’s standard bearer with a $145 million dollar war chest. He was derailed by the financial power exerted by competing interests who fielded the likes of Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson. The establishment squabbled letting the buffoon Donald Trump slide to the nomination aided and abetted by the media who feasted on ratings and advertising dollars until it was too late.
The checks and balances that the media ought to bring to bear were absent this time around. The media featured Kellyanne Conway and Rudi Giuliani and their ilk without restraint or rebuttal. The media news did not field independent reporters. It was a stage for reality television starring dueling surrogates given equal time and equal exposure no matter what false and outlandish be their barkers’ pitch.
Arrogance of power of the Washington establishment played into the FBI’s Jim Comey’s trump October surprise card without as much as a whimper of protest by those in a position of control. I do not recall Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General, voicing disapproval of this breach of protocol.
The powers that control the Democratic Party were equally complicit. Wall Street and special interests decided early on that their horse in the race was Hillary Clinton, warts, pulled hamstrings and all. They put their money where their mouths were ignoring the demands of the rank and file for change. The National Party Chairs Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Dona Brazile conspired to derail and sabotage Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton matched their arrogance by being privately funded by Goldman Sachs speaking fees and insisting that her private server and emails were hers alone to control and edit. She was listening to the acolytes to power and not to the voters.
So where do we go from here? Perhaps a silver lining to this fiasco is that the American voter may finally realize that business as usual under the present Democrat/Republican regime of entrenched political and business interests do not serve them and the country. Many have been left behind by a system that favors the few and discards the many. The solution is not in the false promises of charlatans and snake oil salesmen like Donald Trump but in a total reboot of the system with radical changes.
Until then, and until further notice, I will not participate in future elections.
Deyan Ranko Brashich is a contributor writing from New York. He is the author of Letters from America, Contrary Views and Dispatches. His contact and blog “Contrary Views” is at www.deyanbrashich.com