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Strangled in the Bath

     The two political parties that own our country are strange things that should be stripped of their dishonest legal protections: particularly, exemption from taxes and antitrust laws.
     The Democratic and Republican parties are not institutions in the public interest. They are not nonprofits. They are profit-seeking institutions, against the public interest.
     Contributions to them should be taxed — against the parties — to recoup a few pennies from the billions of dollars they’ve given their campaign contributors.
     Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa called Mexico’s PRI “the perfect dictatorship,” because its stranglehold on Mexico allowed it to create bogus organizations that pretend to protest the PRI, though they are owned by, and were created by, the PRI.
     The only difference between Mexico’s system and ours is that we pretend to have two political parties. And that they are not murdering political opponents in the streets. Yet.
     We leave that to the police.
     Aside from that, our political system and Mexico’s are pretty much the same.
     That’s one reason why this year’s presidential campaigns have been so weird.
     Because The People — poor shlubs that both parties have led around for a century — know this now, because of the Republican and Democratic parties’ negligent inattention to detail — their failure to actually represent the people they claim to be representing.
     Political parties can fulfill their function only in a functioning state. If the state ceases to function, all that’s left is the party. That’s called fascism.
     Words that once had meaning — liberal, conservative, fascist, truth — are tossed around like darts today, with no consideration for the words actually mean — so long as the words can hurt someone.
     The political party is a modern invention. The parties of 5th century B.C. Athens, and 1st century B.C. Rome were not political parties as we know them. They were people who supported one group of extended families against another.
     OK, so I guess ours are not that different.
     The political party as we know it — the putative representative of a social class — began in England, as our own revolution was brewing.
     A lot of Englishmen back then were on our side. So when we won our revolution, did we defeat England? Or just one of its parties?
     When Fascism won its first electoral victory with Mussolini in 1922, his party ate the state.
     Think about that.
     Most Americans today believe, incorrectly, that our two-party system is “enshrined” in our Constitution.
     That’s nonsense. What the parties have done is to squeeze everyone else out of the political process, unless they have millions of dollars, and hand it over.
     Our phony, constricted two-party system presupposes, illegitimately, that we all must choose allegiance to one of two parties, whose representatives will fight for our interests.
     Need I say: Oh, please. That’s an institutional lie as blatant as the institutional lie of my own trade, U.S. journalism, which pretends that there are two sides — and only two — to any question.
     For 36 years, since the election of Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party has fought, in the word of its leading light Grover Norquist, to reduce the federal government to such incompetence that Republicans can “drown it in a bathtub.”
     Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been doing that all year, by refusing to allow a hearing on President Obama’s nomination of a justice to the Supreme Court.
     What if seven of the remaining Supreme Court justices were to die tomorrow of food poisoning, and the only one left was John Roberts? Would McConnell let Roberts dictate the law in the United States?
     What if the only justice who survived the Attack of the Tuna Salad were Justice Sonia Sotomayor?
     You can bet that McConnell would call for hearings pretty damn quick.
     Why, I bet that McConnell would say we had to hold those hearings, to prevent Justice Sotomayor from strangling our freedom in a bathtub.

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