Friday, November 05, 2004

November 5, 2004

A Crazy Idea?
By Stephen Pizzo

About 58 million Americans voted for George W. Bush. The other 56 million voted against George W. Bush.

From his first term we already know that Bush and the fundamentalists around him have no intention of representing -- or even respecting -- the interests or beliefs of the 46% of Americans who oppose their rightwing, (some would say neo-fascist,) policies. On the contrary, he made it clear yesterday that he intends to do just the opposite.
“I earned political capital during the election,” Bush told reporters yesterday, “And now I am going to spend it.”
Since the election my email box has become a virtual psychiatrist’s couch as readers fret and wonder what the hell they are supposed to do for the next four years. When they turn to the Democrats for reassurance they are confronted by a pack of trembling little weasels whose only concern right now is trying to figure out how the Republicans won so they can ape their strategies.

We saw a good example of that last night as Rep. Harold Ford, Democrat of Tennessee, held forth on TV about how his party needs to get with this whole “values” trend. He proceeded by trotting out his personal church-goin’, bible thumpin’, praising the lord, credentials.

So, the “me-too” Dems are going to busy themselves between now and the 2006 mid-term elections learning bible verses they can quote on the stump, searching MapQuest to remind them how get to church on Sundays and brushing up on the latest evangelical “thinking” on social issues.

It won’t work. Not for them, and certainly not for the rest of us.

Okay, so then, how about a third party?

A competitive and electable third party would be a welcome addition to the dysfunctional two-party situation we are stuck with now. The trouble with third parties is they tend to be magnates for nuts; Larouche, Nader, Perot, Ventura. No sooner does a third party begin to get traction than the nuts start rolling. Once that process begins and the disaffected (but sane) voters desert and the nascent party dies in its crib.

I have no idea how you solve that problem and still keep a new party open and democratic.

So, back to my original query – where do we 46% of Americans go, and what do we do for the next four years? I have an idea. I admit it is not a fully formed idea, but maybe you can help me flesh it out.

Form a U.S. Government -- in exile.

Wait! Where are you going? Hang in a minute. If when done you conclude I have become one of the very nuts I just got down dissing, then fine. But let’s play with this idea for a second and see where it goes.

Imagine a virtual U.S. Government that exists only online. Representatives from all 50 states, chosen by the people of those states. A virtual House and Senate. A virtual Supreme Court made up of real judges/attorneys that argues and rules on actual cases before the Court. And, of course, a virtual Executive Branch and Cabinet.

Both traditional parties can and should participate. After all, there are plenty of completely sane Republicans who (rightly) feel that fundamentalist Bushites hijacked their party the same way the Taliban hijacked Islam.

The virtual U.S. Government in exile would operate in parallel with the real government in D.C. It would debate and vote on the same bills introduced in D.C. Two purposes would be served by this; first to show how a government that is not bought and paid for votes when their only interest is the national interest. Second to give a voice to the rest of us – the losers out here – a way to show what kind of policies and government we could have had.

Imagine, every morning being able to log onto your government in exile web site and communicate directly with the office holders, read their positions on the issues and compare their actions to those of the folks we are actually paying in D.C.

We have the technology. We have the know-how. We have 55 million Americans who are now effectively disenfranchised -- citizens without a government they understand or even trust. All while the Democrats, the party that is supposed to represent them as a loyal opposition, are instead studying Karl Rove’s playbook.

So, Mr. Soros, MoveOn… what do you say? We have 55 million voters in exile – America’s first Diaspora. Why not give them a voice? Who knows, a successfully executed virtual government in exile might provide a seedbed for a new generation of candidates -- from both parties -- or it might even itself mature into an electable third party.

Call me crazy. But only if you have a better idea.

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