As someone that has been on both sides of the political spectrum, it is funny to me how both sides make the same claims about each other and use the same tactics to try and disprove each other’s points. We are more concerned with being tribalistic instead of being honest or we are stuck judging morals in an immoral arena like politics. Once you have put your political ideological ally or political party on a pedestal, you have officially lost the battle and you will be blind to any particular improprieties from those that you deem as worthy. This has been our flaw for decades because we are too focused on the win for the team rather than being critical of those we place into power decade after decade.
The average voter is too busy judging politicians in power the same way as they would their next door neighbor, like whether they seem like a nice person, if you would grab a beer with them or if they make you feel good inside (whatever that means). The political elite are the political elite for a reason and they know how to manipulate people into supporting them even if they don’t have their best interests in mind. They know that we are naively superficial, so they will make sure to dress sharply, appear presentable, smile at the camera and wave because they know that this is just enough to get you to trust them. They know that the average American is too busy to dig deeper into what they are doing and that you will vote for them like how you select your next pair of shoes, based off of name recognition.
The public’s approach in choosing leadership in all levels of government has been the greatest vulnerability to allow for the malignant growth of what is commonly referred to as “The Establishment”. They are the establishment because they are aligned in similar thought regardless of party and their motives are based around retaining power. They are the status quo of corruption, lobbyists and militarization. These are the people that have been in government for decades yet yield no real results that helps the average American. These people typically don’t get voted out of power because they already have too much power. Challenge them and they will make sure that their political apparatus crushes you in the process. Their tentacles are far reaching because they know the game inside and out, leaving potential newcomers a slim chance of success. For example, when newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) beat 10-Term Congressman Joe Crowley, it sent shockwaves through the political establishment causing a glitch in the matrix.
To make it very clear, both political parties are complicit in establishment politics because unchallenged power does not care what letter you have next to your name. Corruption doesn’t care what sex you are or what race you are. When you hold a great amount of power, you are easily corruptible and the establishment tip toes the line of legality on a daily basis. For example in 2011, the television program “60 Minutes” ran a piece talking about how it was essentially legal for members of congress to buy or sell stocks based off of information that they gained from being in their positions of government (Link to 60 Minutes Segment titled “Insiders: the road to the STOCK Act”). We would call that insider trading, the establishment would call it a typical Wednesday. It wasn’t until after this was made public that they passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act which finally prohibited this behavior. Think about that. It took a light being shined on our public officials to get them to finally stop profiting off their government positions.
The establishment has no problem starting wars in other countries so they can give their contractor friends indiscriminate amounts of tax dollars on the backs of dead American soldiers. When the American public sees a crisis in another country, we want to donate to help those that are in need but the establishment sees a financial opportunity in the making. They will be sure to pump money into lobbyist driven non-profits and contractors who want a piece of the pie.
When the establishment is finally tired of working within the bounds of government in pursuit of a real cash grab, they will be sure to get hired by the same people they were either regulating or taking “campaign contributions” from.
The political establishment is able to get away with what they are doing because they are not held accountable by the media or journalists alike. The media works in conjunction with the political establishment because they are all part of the same ecosystem that feeds off of each other. Who do you think those “sources” tend to be when they are reporting on a situation involving the government? They are staffers of elected officials or even elected officials themselves. In some cases, the CIA uses the media to drive a particular narrative that allows for the establishment to avoid criticism by the American public. The government will gladly give bad intelligence in pursuit of the establishments ultimate goal at a particular moment. Remember “Weapons of Mass Destruction”? The media repeated over and over this same narrative until we ultimately discovered there were none. Doesn’t matter at that point because the establishment got ultimately what it wanted: the removal of Saddam Hussein, control over Iraq’s resources, the ability to restructure Iraq’s governmental interest and non-stop tax dollars for our military’s occupation.
I am likely not saying something that you haven’t heard before or thought about before. I find that Americans have a healthy amount of skepticism when it comes to the government which is a good thing but we are becoming more tribalistic and so our skepticism goes only as far as the opposing political party. I hear people cry about needing a true third party but if we keep repeating the same behavior, we will have the same outcome as we did with two parties.
I have chosen independence of political affiliation until I see real changes coming from either of the political parties. While I am ideologically conservative and find more kinship within the Republican party, I will not endorse their willingness to war monger or stay quiet to obvious corruption. I am not alone with seeing their willingness to stay quiet when they should be challenging the establishment. When Trump wanted to remove our military from countries across the world, the focus was put on Democrats blocking him but the Republicans didn’t agree with it either.
In order for us to have a healthy republic, we must be willing to criticize our leaders and hold them accountable. If you like Donald Trump, you must also criticize him when he does something wrong or unfavorable as this is the only way to make sure our leaders don’t step out of line. If you like Joe Biden, you must also hold him accountable for what he has done within the government for decades because he has been the embodiment of the political establishment. We must also recognize that the media apparatus that we once blindly trusted is becoming more and more partisan by injecting opinions into stories that only call for factual details or misframing stories to suit their personal biases.
As far as I am concerned, the establishment has blood on its hands for the thousands of American soldiers that have died unjustly and innocent civilians who were caught in the cross fire of our political establishments greed. The establishments hunger for power has eaten away at our American values and we simply turn a blind eye because we are afraid to criticize. Twitter has turned into real life where all we care about is dunking on our opponents for a short lived gratifying win, meanwhile the establishment keeps chugging on. A true win is for the long term success of our country and not for short term gratification.
With these actions, the political elite will continue to grow even more powerful and with a media landscape that cares more about clicks than truths, the average American will be increasingly left out of the picture, turning us into a nation of defeatists instead of victors. The reality is that we are partly responsible for the establishments existence due to our political laziness, so now we need to hold ourselves just as accountable for allowing these wolves into the henhouse. Will we accept the challenge of accountability or will we continue to be passive? Only time will tell.