How to Get Elected in America

W.J. Astore

Don’t talk about the poor or peace

The key to getting elected in America is to raise lots of money. And you can’t do that by talking about poor people or the prospects for peace in the world.

Poor people have no powerful lobby or armies of lobbyists. With no access to the political game, they can be easily ignored. Those who advocate for peace also lack armies of lobbyists; they lack money as well compared to Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and similar giant weapons contractors. They can also be easily ignored.

When you look at Democrats and Republicans, both parties serve the privileged elites. Neither party is on the side of Aurora, a woman working two part-time jobs cleaning motel rooms while also cleaning houses on the side for affluent clients. She has no health care (she can’t afford it, and it doesn’t come with her part-time jobs) and she barely makes $30K a year despite working 70+ hours a week while trying to raise two kids.

Which political party is fighting (truly fighting, not just paying lip service) for higher pay for her? Which is fighting for single-payer health care for her that’s truly affordable? Child-care benefits? Anything at all? The answer is neither.

To America’s political establishment, Aurora doesn’t exist. She doesn’t count. She doesn’t matter.

This point was reinforced as I read an article by Chris Hedges on Father Michael Doyle. In Doyle’s words:

“There is a meanness that has raised its ugly head in the soul of America. Bobby Kennedy, even Lyndon Johnson, spoke about the poor. Now you can’t say the word poor and get elected. Let the poor suffer. They’re not important. Let the train roll over them.”

Bobby Kennedy reached out to everyone

This is the crux. America, we’re told, is incredibly rich and noble and good. Yet we export wars and weapons and treat the most vulnerable among us like trash.

Speaking of wars and weapons, the Biden administration is asking for nearly $38 billion more in aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia. If approved, this will bring U.S. aid to Ukraine, mainly in the form of weapons, ammunition, and the like, to almost $100 billion in less than a year. People tell me this is because America cares about the Ukrainian people. But the U.S. government doesn’t care about Americans living on the streets: do you really think it cares about Ukrainians?

Aid to Ukraine gets approved with alacrity by Congress because most of the money goes to weapons contractors like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. To those and similar corporations, war is profitable, peace isn’t. Talk of a new cold war with Russia and China drives war-based profits higher still. Few in Congress have the temerity to suggest that peace is ultimately better for Americans (and indeed Ukrainians, Russians, and all other life on earth) than incessant wars and preparations for the same.

Imagine what $100 billion could do for the homeless in America. Imagine the shelters that could be built, the aid that could be provided, the hope that could be instilled. I’m not saying government aid is the solution to homelessness, but it sure would help.

Perhaps we need to declare war on homelessness while creating an army of well-heeled lobbyists to attack Congress with the magic bullet that always gets attention: campaign contributions. Money. At the same time, let’s eliminate the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and replace them with a Department of Peace with an equivalent budgetary authority of roughly a trillion dollars a year.

Barring that, the poor will continue to suffer and wars and weapons will continue to find a way.

18 thoughts on “How to Get Elected in America

  1. Lunch with the Pope’s Ambassador
    In 1985 I was extended the rare honour and recognition of being invited to lunch with the Pope’s Apostolic Nuncio to Canada.
    Passing through the main Dining Hall with it’s seven foot fireplace and table seating at least fifty, The Nuncio, Charge D’Affairs, Secretary and I entered a beautifully decorated, intimate Dining room with a table for twelve.
    The dinnerware had a gold band around the edge with the Papal tiara crown in gold at the top. It was a formal setting. with the whitest linen tablecloth and flowers.
    […] The Nuncio asked, “What’s on the mind of youth?”
    I said, “Sex, drugs, music, peace, love, friendship, money, security and work, not necessarily in that order of priority.”
    “Oh! It’s just like Sodom and Gomorrah” was the reply.
    I answered, “Surely Your Excellency knows the Prophet Ezekiel said what the sin of Sodom was in Chapter 16:48.[6]
    It was pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters and she was haughty. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. It had nothing to do with sexual activity.”

    About

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  2. Commenters in the Seattle Times, who overwhelming voted for Patty Murray (D), the Senator for Boeing, say that US$100-billion is only 0.052% of the Federal Budget…. pffft….. So who cares eh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s compare it to federal discretionary spending, which for FY22 was roughly $1.522 trillion. If we use the rough sum of $100 billion for aid to Ukraine, that’s roughly 5-6% of spending.

      $100 billion is roughly what the Federal Governments spends on education. We could double the education budget with the money we’ve sent to fund Ukraine in its war.

      But we don’t need no education …

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The only way that a “War Against Homelessness” ~ or against Poverty, Hunger, Disease, Illiteracy and Ignorance, Inequity, Injustice, or Ecocide ~ can ever be effectively waged and actually Won is if there is a successful and ultimately truly revolutionary WAR AGAINST WAR.

    Not an Anti-War or Pro-Peace “movement” against this or that War. But an actual, Real world confrontation, conflict, and successful combat with and against those for whom WAR is not merely a Way of Life and making a Living, but the best possible way to seek, gain, hold, expand, and perpetrate and perpetuate perpetual political Power, and the currency of The Realm, Wealth, so as to get more Power and thus more Wealth, and thus more Power, and thus etc.

    So the Question becomes: What exactly is a “WAR AGAINST WAR”? And how is it to be successfully waged and ultimately won?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One problem is the American people don’t know what war is anymore. We’re kept isolated from it. We used to have a Dept of War. Now it’s a Dept of “Defense.” And who can be against “defending” ourselves? Don’t you want to be “secure”?

      Words are so important. We have an imperial department of war and we need to replace it with a democratic department of peace. How to effect that change is the question. People who’ve proposed changes have often been smeared, jailed, even killed. They become pariahs for suggesting, as MLK did, that the U.S. is the world’s greatest purveyor of violence.

      Time to get to work, MSG. Don your flak vest and Kevlar helmet and head down to the barricades. 🙂

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      1. The focal questions about war

        In dealing from both theoretical and practical points of view about war, at least six fundamental questions arise: 1) What is war?; 2) What types of war exist?; 3) Why do wars occur?; 4) What is the connection between war and justice?; 5) The question of war crimes?; and 6) Is it possible to replace war with the so-called “perpetual peace”?

        Probably, up to today, the most used and reliable understanding of war is its short but powerful definition by Carl von Clausewitz:

        “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” [On War, 1832].

        It can be considered the terrifying consequences if in the practice Clausewitz’s word “merely” from a simple phrase about the war would be applied in the post-WWII nuclear era and the Cold War (for instance, the Cuban missile crisis in 1962).

        Nevertheless, he became one of the most important influencers on Realism in international relations (IR). To remind ourselves, Realism in political science is a theory of IR that accepts war as a very normal and natural part of the relationships between states (and after WWII of other political actors as well) in global politics. Realists are keen to stress that wars and all other kinds of military conflicts are not just natural (meaning normal) but even inevitable. Therefore, all theories which do not accept the inevitability of war and military conflicts (for instance, Feminism) are, in fact, unrealistic.
        The art of war as an extension of politics

        A Prussian general and military theorist Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (1780−1831), the son of a Lutheran Pastor, entered the Prussian military service when he was only 12, and achieved the rank of Major-General in his 38. He was studying the philosophy of I. Kant and was involved in the successful reform of the Prussian army. Clausewitz was of the opinion that war is a political instrument similar to, for instance, diplomacy or foreign aid. For this reason, he is considered to be a traditional (old) realist. Clausewitz echoed the Greek Thucydides who had described in the 5th century B.C. in his famous The History of the Peloponnesian War the dreadful consequences of unlimited war in ancient Greece. Thucydides (ca. 460−406 B.C.) was a Greek historian but had a great interest in philosophy too.

        His great historiographical work The History of the Peloponnesian War (431−404 B.C.) recounts the struggle between Athens and Sparta for geopolitical, military, and economic control (hegemony) over the Hellenic world. The war culminated at the end with the destruction of Athens, the birthplace of both ancient democracy and imperialistic/hegemonic ambitions……………………………………………………

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/from-history-global-politics-international-relations-clausewitzian-viewpoint-war/5799459

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      2. Any WAR AGAINST WAR that requires flak vests and Kevlar helmets would not be a War AGAINST War, Bill; but just another War.

        Just like “The Great War” of the second decade of the 20th century was “the War TO END All Wars.” And all that it did was to plant the seeds for the carnage that was to follow for the rest of the century, and continues to this day.

        Gandhi and King waged their Wars without vests and helmets ~ let alone weapons. And that is the only way that a true WAR AGAINST WAR can and will be fought or won.

        And the primary reason Americans don’t know what War is anymore is because ~ with the end of the Draft and the birth of the “All Volunteer Force” ~ the only people who are fighting all of America’s Wars are those who are there of their own free will. That and the fact that since 9/11, America’s Wars have not cost the American taxpayer a dime, with the tab going on Uncle Sam’s credit card thru the magic of Deficit Spending.

        Thus, In terms of both Blood and Treasure, America’s Wars since 9/11 have been virtually totally cost-free to Americans. Things could start to get ugly, tho, when all the bills start coming due.

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        1. I wonder, Jeff, if non-violent protest can succeed in a country as violent as America, and with a justice system as rigged as it is for the status quo.

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          1. i wonder the exact same thing, Bill. And i am not very optimistic about what i am concluding.

            But, again: What were the odds that Gandhi and King would succeed in achieving and accomplishing what they set out to do? Not that they achieved everything they wanted; but they certainly got at least significant parts of it.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Wars Tend to Bury Facts: The Polish Missile Narrative

    Wars tend to bury facts. What comes out of them is often a furiously untidy mix of accounts that, when considered later, constitute wisps of fantasy and presumption. Rarely accepted in the heat of battle is the concept of mistake: that a weapon was wrongly discharged or errantly hit an unintended target; a deployment that went awry; or that the general was drunk when an order was given. Wars invite ludicrous tall tales and lies with sprinting legs.

    In the Ukraine War, where accurate information has almost ceased to be relevant (unless you believe the sludge from any one side), the latest shock and shudder came in the form of a missile that fell on Polish territory. As a result, two farmers lost their lives in the village of Przewodów.

    The farmers, as the pencilled in victims of a broader power play, almost ceased to be relevant. Discussions moved on to a potential violation of Polish territory and the prospect of NATO engagement. The missile had been “Russian-made”, which tickled those keen to push a widening of the conflict. Never mind that Ukraine has its own share of Russian and Soviet-era weapons systems…………………………………..

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/polish-missile-narrative/5799466

    Lets get real! Ukraine had about 250 S-300 systems at the beginning of the War in February. Obviously Russia did not resupply any missiles for those systems and they would have been used up long ago.

    Most likely it was a US missile that hit Poland and the US would be loath to admit that!

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