There was an 8-track comedy tape in the 1970s (of course the 1970s; that was the abbreviated time of 8-track tapes) called “A Truck Stop Is the Best Place to Eat.” Most of the material on the tape was offensive, but one item was expressive of a truth. One joke on the redneck (questionable) humor-filled tape involved “Big Moe” who was a visitor in a town and was on a quest for sexual gratification. He said to and asked a bartender: “I’m Big Moe. Where can Big Moe get f****d?” (There were no asterisks on the tape.) The bartender replies: “Go across the street to the second floor of the hotel. Knock on the door of room 203.” Big Moe walks across the street, bangs on the door, and announces: “This is Big Moe. Big Moe wants to get f*****d.” A voice from behind the door replies: “Slide a twenty-dollar-bill under the door.” Big Moe does so.
The results of the mid-term elections this past Tuesday gave Republicans the chance to crow about “mandates.”
A “mandate” is “1. a commission given to one nation (the mandatary) by an associated group of nations (such as the League of Nations) to administer the government and affairs of a people in a backward territory. 2. A mandated territory. 3. Pol. the instruction as to policy given or supposed to be given by the electors to a legislative body or to one or more of its members. 4. a command from a superior court or official to an inferior one. 5. a command; order. 6. an order issued by the pope...” The American College Dictionary, 1962 ed., p. 739.
Nowhere in the definition is mention made of the implied intentions of voters in an election in which the winning side obtained an overwhelming majority. This distinction is important, particularly in our system of government. First, in the time of the Framers of the Constitution, members of legislative assemblies were given instructions by their voters how to vote on specific measures. Second, no mention is made of a “mandate” in the context of the implied intentions of roughly 13 percent of the eligible voters who bothered to show up and vote. The word “mandate” is derived from the Latin mandatum, the meaning of which is “commit, enjoin, command.”
This country has been ham-strung since January 20, 1981. The political system the Framers wanted—one without “factions,” what they called the things later to become political parties—seems, finally, to have arrived.
I understand people who are upset by the results of the election this past Tuesday. There were a lot of forces at work in the result. One must consider the massive Republican Party effort to suppress the vote. No one can seriously counter the reality of that aspect. One cannot seriously question the ways in which the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United has enabled corporations to have their way with the system. Also the media—owned as they are by billionaires most of whom are very right-wing—have had an effect of numbing people and filling the wrestling-reality show-addled brains of the populace with false equivalencies and apathy.
An important aspect of the entire mess, though, is the way in which the Left has been marginalized. There are few members of the Democratic Party who had the balls—a gender-based term but the only one to describe adequately the trait in question—who wish to buck the right wing. In the background of each party are the same forces of wealth and corporate power.
The are no American corporations. A corporation might be formed under the laws of a specific State (Delaware always is popular), but once shares are traded, anyone can own them. China has a lot of capital. Its citizens legally can purchase shares in any corporation here. United States citizens only can purchase shares in Chinese corporations if such corporations are high-risk start-ups or if the number of shares purchased account to less than a majority.
I have written before of my disappointment with President Obama’s policies. The Affordable Care Act did not go far enough. We should have single-payer. His foreign policies are largely the same as those of his predecessor. Drones have been greatly expanded.
The greatest threat to our national security is our own military. When we kill with drones that leave, at a minimum, 80 percent casualties that are “collateral damage”—a chilling way for a country such as ours, that supposedly seeks to advance our positive values of freedom and democracy, to describe dead innocent people—there is little wonder that the people of those nations com to hate us. Yet I heard no one mention that one way we significantly can cut the budget—and build our infrastructure—is to chop the budget for the military. No one mentioned this item. Hell, we have spent about a trillion dollars on a stealth fighter that is obsolete before mass production and the plans for its already have been hacked and stolen by other countries.
Oh yeah—about that joke. Big Moe has slid the twenty-dollar bill under the door. He waits. Nothing happens. He bangs on the door and announces: “This is Big Moe. Big Moe wants to get f****d.” The voice behind the door replies: “What—again?”
That is what happened to the voters this past Tuesday—ALL of the voters, except those in the so-called one percent..
On Today’s Show we shall discuss the election of past Tuesday. Guest panelists include Charlie White. Join us from 11 am to 1 pm.