As I have watched the unfolding events in Greece over the last several weeks, I've had a strong sense of deja vu. Consider the trajectory of Syriza: in a country where the majority of citizens are oppressed by the current ruling regime, and where the majority of citizens are sick of the current regime, a party of "outsiders" and "mavericks" comes to national attention. What brings them to national attention is their very outspoken criticism of the current ruling regime, combined with boasts of how they will change things to relieve the oppressed masses.
Once they reach a critical mass of popularity, however, these "outsiders" and "mavericks" begin to become more "nuanced" in their confrontation of the existing regime and the systems created and managed by the existing regime. The fight for ostensible political power between the outsiders and the entrenched regime becomes quite colorful and emotional, yet a day comes when the dust settles and the "outsiders" find themselves in power. This event is heralded with great celebrations of "hope" for "change," and many self-styled spokespersons for the oppressed masses write letters or blog posts addressed to the new regime, outlining their desires to see their hopes fulfilled. However, during the fight and afterward, the "outsiders"-turned-rulers become so nuanced that eventually they become indistinguishable from the entrenched regime they replaced.
Sound familiar? The political career of the current President of the United States has followed just such a trajectory, as foreseen in a long-winded post I wrote a while back. But this phenomenon is not limited to Obama. The entire Democratic Party is guilty, as we have seen with Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri, with Hillary Rodham Clinton, and with John Kerry, who ran against George W. Bush in 2004 on a platform of vacuous and vague promises of "change" that was remarkably similar to the platform on which Barack Obama ran for the Presidency in 2008.
I'd like to suggest that Syriza's capitulation shows that not just in the United States, but throughout the West, participation in the official political process has become a complete waste of time for ordinary people. How could it be otherwise, when the wealth of the world is concentrated in the hands of such a small number of people? The political process is no longer of any value precisely because, once wealth concentration exceeds a certain percentage of the total wealth available to a society, it is economic power that trumps all other forms of power. How can ordinary Americans - no matter how numerous - influence the trajectory of government when most of the wealth in America is held in the hands of a few? And how can the ordinary citizens of any country in the West take charge of the governance of their own countries when most of those countries are beholden to the world's richest banks? (By the way, according to the list of banks I linked, if the size or assets of a bank are computed according to "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" as is done in the United States, then JP Morgan and Bank of America are the #1 and #2 banks in the world. Citigroup is #5. These are all American banks. The list of top investment banks is even more interesting.)
We therefore find ourselves - most of us - in a situation where we no longer have any real control over where we are headed as a nation or as a world. It's like being sucked beneath the event horizon of a black hole; once you go under, there's only one direction left to go. Therefore, in 2016, why look for a supposed "outsider" or "maverick" to vote for? If they're famous enough to be voted for, they're already bought and paid for. Why not rather look for non-political avenues for carving out a meaningful life for yourself? If you must vote, vote for one of your pets - at least they won't lie to you. Кошка за президент!