It’s a good time to be an anarchist. It is encouraging to hear that eighty-six percent of people think the government is broken, even if they are misguided about exactly how and why. You see, saying our system of government is broken is like saying the internal combustion engine is broken. Sure it produces all sorts of deleterious effects on its environment, but it does exactly what it was designed to do, and at the time it was created there just wasn’t anything better. So you can waste a lot of time and energy trying to make the engine more efficient, less polluting, or try to make it run on used vegetable oil, but in the end, you will find you are much better off simply scrapping the whole thing and starting over.
And starting over doesn’t mean merely changing the party affiliation of the occupant of the White House. Or voting out incumbents in Congress. I think we’ve tried that. Repeatedly. It doesn’t work. But the joyful news recently is that it seems the American people are finally starting to develop some long-term memory where these things are concerned. A poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC reveals “sixty-two percent of adults … feel the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since before the 2008 election.” Well, that didn’t take long — President Obama isn’t even half way through his term yet. But the most telling part of the data is here. Specifically, look at the party identification tab. I’m curious what the difference is between Independent and Other — they are the same thing to me — but if you combine those two categories, you find that at the beginning of this year, a full thirty percent of those polled identified themselves as neither a Democrat nor a Republican. We haven’t seen numbers like that since Ross Perot’s campaign, and this isn’t even a Presidential election year. Imagine how much farther those numbers could swing in the next two years.
So, to that thirty percent out there I say stay focused. Don’t let the shiny objects of the two-party system distract you. Whatever it was that caused you to feel disenfranchised, trust me, it’s not going away. You want change? Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can fix it by working within the system. It can’t be fixed by a simple tune-up or an alternative fuel blend. It’s time to take this old engine to the junkyard and start designing a new one.