The nasty, nightmarish, reality show of the presidential elections finally ends on November 8th. This election presented the stark reality of the choices this system has to offer us. Around 60 percent of potential Democratic and Republican voters had unfavorable reactions to both candidates – small wonder! Two years of endless media coverage and billions of dollars wasted on campaigns of personal insults left us with the so-called “choice” of selecting the lesser evil. Trump’s campaign attacked, insulted and divided people with the pretense that a billionaire could represent the interests of working people. Clinton’s campaign was a continuation of the policies of the one percent at the expense of the majority.
At the local level we were confronted with multiple measures to vote on, almost all of which would end up having us pay more taxes for necessary services the government should already be providing. But it doesn’t because our tax dollars are channeled into subsidies to big business and developers for their money-making schemes.
Nowhere was there a real effort during the campaigns to look at the catastrophe this system has created – the multiple wars, the global poverty and global warming that threatens the very future of humanity. Why? Both parties protect big business – the weapons manufacturers, giant agribusiness, the oil and automobile companies and others.
These campaigns didn’t even begin to propose solutions to the real problems we face. The fact that many of us are working too many hours in understaffed jobs, while others work multiple part time jobs and still others have no jobs at all was ignored. They didn’t address the problem of the lack of affordable housing which is forcing so many of us to commute long hours from home to work or pushing others to live on the streets. They didn’t address the lack of adequate and affordable public transportation. They didn’t address the degradation of health care for healthcare workers and patients while the insurance companies raise rates and limit access to needed services.
These campaigns didn’t address the insecure future facing young people with cut backs in education, teacher lay offs and school closings, while for-profit charter schools expand. They didn’t address the problem of rising tuition and the huge increase of student debt. And what of the young people who aren’t in school, who live in the streets, or are in prison?
These campaigns did not address the continued racism and police violence against poor and working people, especially African Americans. They didn’t address the rampant violence against women. Or the conditions of life for people forced out of their countries because of poverty or violence and now live here in fear of deportation?
Why would we imagine any of these problems would be addressed by these campaigns? These campaigns are run by those whose sole goal is to guarantee the profits of the one percent, which translates to exploitation and oppression for the rest of us. Their elections will never be a vehicle for us to change our situation. Their system can never provide what we want, need and deserve. It is the source of the problems we face.
To change our situation will require us to organize and fight for what we want in our workplaces, our schools, and our neighborhoods. That is the only way people have won anything in the past. Working people produce all the wealth. We run all the services. And why couldn’t we run it in our own interests – in the interest of the majority?
Impossible? No! Difficult? Yes. But what is more difficult is watching our lives degrade each year and wondering what possibilities will exist for future generations. We can take the first steps by having confidence in ourselves and in others. From that point on the possibilities are limitless. As the old saying goes, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”