Endless wars, rising debt, state controlled monetary policy, lockdowns and high incarceration rates. This is the state Republicans and Democrats have put America in. It is time to stand up against the two major parties which have had a hold on American politics for over 100 years.
First, I cannot support the establishment for the global imperialism it has represented for over a century. The U.S. has a long history of imperialism, starting with taking land from Native Americans to the Spanish-American war, to the territories of the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico etc, and military bases established all over the world following World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and endless conflicts in the middle east. Associate Professor of History, Daniel Immerwahr, lays this out thoroughly in his 2019 book How to Hide and Empire.
According to Immerwahr, “Since 1945, U.S. troops have been deployed abroad for conflicts or potential 211 times in 67 countries.”
Both parties have been equal participants in this. In 2002, when the US Senate authorized the war in Iraq, at the time Joe Biden was chair of the Senate foreign relations committee and he voted in favor of the war, which turned out to be a failure. Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes, researching for Harvard University, found the true cost of the Iraq war to be, by the most conservative estimate, one-trillion dollars. According to the Guardian over 4,500 U.S. soldiers died in the war, almost as many U.S. contractors died in the war and some estimates claim that 1 million Iraqi’s died.
While, unlike Clinton, Bush and Obama, President Trump has not started any new wars, he has also not ended any wars. The New York Times reported in October of 2019 that “there are now more troops in the middle east than when he took office.” According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, as of June 30th 2020, there was 1.36 million active duty personnel stationed outside of the United States.
Second, I cannot support continual deficit spending. I posted an article about this in early august called “Deficit Spending is Theft” so I will keep this portion short. Whether congress and the president is controlled by Democrats or Republicans, since 2002, the U.S. has run a budget deficit every year.
Third, I cannot support the Federal Reserve, a topic Republicans and Democrats seem to largely ignore. In my senior paper this year, I studied monetary policy from a theoretical and historical perspective. Through a look at theory and the historical accounts of the Roman empire, Byzantine empire and the United States I argue that monetary policy is best controlled on the free market and that state control of monetary policy leads to a devaluation of the money supply, growth of the military apparatus and a loss of freedom for citizens.
The federal reserve also directly ties in with points one and two. Through inflation and its other forms of economic intervention, it props up major banks, enables deficit spending and props up the war machine.
Fourth, both Republicans and Democrats have supported lockdowns that have stripped people of basic civil liberties, increased unemployment, and led to increased mental health issues.
It’s no question that the COVID-19 lockdowns led Americans to give up many of their precious civil liberties, to varying degrees across the country. Chief among these were the rights to freedom of religion and assembly, with churches being told they could not meet together to worship and fellowship or caps being put on the number of people who could gather together for a church service. Others included the rights of individuals to participate in voluntary exchanges, including forcible shut downs of gyms, bars, restaurants and movie theaters.
The forcible shutdowns and stay at home orders caused tremendous harm to both small-businesses and individuals. According to the Foundation For Economic Education, In New York, stay-at-home orders have forced the permanent closure of more than 100,000 small businesses. According to researchers from the University of Texas, the University of California and Chicago Booth lockdowns slashed income and wealth for about half of all Americans. In addition, these researchers found that 44 percent of the population experienced a decline in earnings and 54 percent experienced a decline in savings.
One of the chief issues of lockdowns is an increase in mental health problems caused primarily by isolation and economic hardship. The Wall Street Journal reported a rise in people taking drugs for anxiety and insomnia in March 2020. In May, Doctors at john Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek California said they had seen more deaths from suicide during the quarantine period than from COVID-19.
“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” Dr. Mike deBoisblanc told ABC news. “I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.”
Fifth, I stand against the two party system for the mass-incarceration that it has overseen. This is due to a number of factors, and I have argued in the past that the war on drugs is a huge part of this issue. However, whatever the causes are of the issue, it has grown over the past four decades. According to the National Academies Press, the U.S. has the largest Penal population in the world at about 2.2 million.
“In 2012, close to 25 percent of the world’s prisoners were held in American prisons, although the United States accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population,” the National Academies Press reports, “The U.S. rate of incarceration, with nearly 1 of every 100 adults in prison or jail, is 5 to 10 times higher than rates in Western Europe and other democracies.”
Their conclusion is that this growth in incarceration rates is both unprecedented and internationally unique.
The two major parties in the United States have both participated in these major problems over decades. Ending the stranglehold of the Republicans and Democrats over our democracy won’t happen overnight, but if we continue to educate people and vote for the best candidate, regardless of party we can continue to move in the right direction. Plus— maybe one day we will finally get Ranked Choice Voting nationwide.