Friday, December 19, 2008

A Friendly Rebuke of "A Lesson on American Politics"

When reading the informative article posted by Pratish Gandhi, I noticed some discrepencies that, given my experience as an American, needed a little bit of tweaking.

Article 1, when speaking of major parties..

The two party system in America is a farce. There is one party, and it is a two headed snake called the Business party, which masquerades as the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. When push comes to shove, the vast majorities of Democrats and Republicans side with big business. Our two party system is so undemocratic that when Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney (Independent ticket and Green party tickets respectively) attempt to run for President, they are forced to sue some states just to get on the ballot. American campaigns are fueled by money. Third party candidates are forced to spend the majority of the paltry sums of money they are able to collect, (due to the Media's snubbing of them, as well as the all out war that the Democrats and Republicans constantly wage against them), on lawsuits. The goal of the lawsuits is to simply be allowed to have one's name on a ballot, the Democrats and Republicans have made it extremely difficult legally to run on a ticket other than RNC or DNC. And so I must say that there is plenty of favoritism, autocracy and dynastic politics in America. With a special note on dynastic politics, I should say that the introduction of Caroline Kennedy for appointment to Senator Hillary Clinton's soon to be vacated seat is preposterous. Never in her life has she demonstrated an interest in politics, and in fact she has displayed a disdain for them, if she wants the seat she should campaign for it and earn it in 2010. I should also note that a recent poll of New Yorkers has shown that Andrew Coumo has popular support over Kennedy, it would be a gross affront to constituents if she was put there simply because of her father's and uncle's legacy (though the differences in the Kennedy's domination of American politics are markedly less then the Nehru-Gandhi domination of Indian politics).
Article 4, of debates..

The three level Presidential Debate system is a mediocrity. They ban all third party candidates from participating, (and I should add that Independence party candidate Ralph Nader was denied entrance even to watch the affair, in spite of the fact that he had an admission ticket, he was told by police that he would be arrested if he didn't vacate the premises), they are blocking off a whole segment of options to the American people. Third party candidates won't raise nearly enough money to compete in an election if they cannot even be seen with the more 'prominent' participants of an election whether they are Democrats or Republicans. There was no semblance of intelligence at most of the Presidential and especially the Vice Presidential debates this year. The candidates constantly lied, twisted facts, or dodged questions, most famously when Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin told Senator Biden, "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear". While some of the candidates are very well read and are good debators, Barack Obama initially during the primaries (he owes Hillary Clinton quite a bit of thanks for steeling him during the debates), Sarah Palin and John McCain throughout the campaigns seemed very unlearned (since they were constantly dodging questions, or the answers they gave had nothing to do with the questions). And there is a significant chance of the wrong guy becoming President. Even after all that Bush has wrought upon the world and America, a huge segment of the population still supported John McCain who throughout the campaign differed very little from Bush. Lastly, I would add that the majority of Americans, in a recent poll, support participation of third party candidates in the Presidential Debates, but since the Debate Commission (which controls all of the large debates in America) is literally owned by the Democrats and Republicans and is a private institution, Democratic and Republican politicians go against the will of their constituents (as they so often do) and bar third party candidates from participation (and in the case of Ralph Nader as I previously mentioned, they wouldn't even allow him to sit in the audience).

Article 5, of campaign contributions..
Not too much to say on this, I would just note that Sarah Palin spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on hair, makeup, and clothing (for her and her whole family), which to this day all of which has still not been returned to the RNC. She was told by an aide to spend 20,000 dollars on clothing, so none of the RNC or McCain campaign donors, and not even the entirety of the McCain staff for that matter, was aware of her spending spree, quite a good use of campaign funds don't you think?

Americans aren't stupid, they simply are lacking in the following: the option of electing a good candidate, the option of watching all participants in elections at debates, the will to change the system (as it would be a daunting endeavor), and the proper tool to remind elected officials (in years that they aren't worried about campaigns) who they work for.

-Please forgive the numerous grammatical errors and run on sentences.
*Please don't hesitate to comment or ask for sources, I will do my best to produce them for you.


  1. Superb article..Well, I ought to say that it is a wonderful thing that we are getting the viewpoint of an American on the this issue. When I, an Indian write about something which which I don't actually experience, my views will be slightly twisted and biased. They will be based on what I read in the papers or on the web. But when BaronVonAu writes about it, he knows exactly what problems Americans are facing and it gives a completely new dimension to the article. I did not know that Independents are banished from Presidential debates. At the same time, I still feel that American democracy is far more mature than the Indian set-up and we should learn a few things from their set-up.

  2. You are absolutely right. There are MANY oustanding qualifications to the American Democratic system, and dependent on the locale there is assuredly some piece of it that can be emulated.