“In the US, there is basically one party — the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to these policies. As is most of the population.” ― Noam Chomsky
It would be no shocking revelation to any citizen of the United States to hear that our political system is dysfunctional. Year after year, we participate in the spectator sport of politics, hoping beyond hope that our elected officials will manage to implement the solutions we need to maintain the quality of life that America has come to embody, only to see them continually stymied by gridlock, bureaucracy, and partisan stubbornness.
As Katherine Gehl and Michael E. Porter explain in The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy, “What should be a problem-solving, outcomes-driven cycle of elections and legislative leadership is instead an industrial-strength perversion that fosters unhealthy competition and blocks the innovation and progress for which American democracy is known. Politics has become the preeminent barrier to addressing the very problem it exists to solve.”
Many of us have come to accept it as normal. Even though it may not be perfect, even though it might even be downright corrupt and not working in our best interests nor those of future generations, we are pacified by the belief that America is still the best country in the world, and we continue to merely put up with the stark ineffectiveness of our government. We shrug our shoulders, accept that changing it is impossible, and get back to chasing the elusive American Dream.
We may get angry about it, but we feel helpless about what we can actually do about it. Since they’ve been in power for the entirety of our lifetimes, we begrudgingly accept the Democratic and Republican Parties as eternal entities that will always be in power. And we submerge ourselves in pessimism over whether it will ever change.
“All of us have a vested interest in pessimism,” writes Gar Alperovitz in What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About The Next American Revolution. “We don’t have to do anything if nothing can be done!”