Elections in the USA – Justice and Perversion and the Perversion of Justice
By James Petras
Oct 11, 2006, 11:05
In a month in which the US Congress voted to legalize torture, discard the US Constitution by abolishing habeas corpus and increase the military budget to prolong the daily slaughter of hundreds of Iraqis and Afghanis, the big controversy among the mass media and elected officials is the sexual overtures of a Republican Congressman to adolescent boys employed by Congress.
Millions of fundamentalist Christians, who blindly supported the Republican Congress’ deadly ‘War on Terror’ are in revolt against their Party because of its tolerance toward a single pervert – overlooking the torture at Abu Ghraib, Israel’s massive bombing of Lebanon and the Bush Administration’s criminal abandonment of the hundreds of thousands of poor (mostly black) citizens in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Why do US Congress members and the mass media go into a political feeding frenzy over personal sexual transgressions like Congressman Foley’s nasty e-mail flirtations with teenage boys or former President Clinton’s office adventures in extramarital sex with a White House intern and not over issues of great consequence for peace or war, democracy or authoritarianism, torture or human rights?
Superficial commentators trot out our Anglo-American ‘Puritan heritage’: a pseudo-explanation, which overlooks the US democratic-constitutional heritage, our recent history of opposing the Vietnam War, and our signing of the United Nation Charter on Human Rights. Since there are numerous historical pasts, there is no single ‘heritage’ that dominates others, especially when the so-called ‘Puritan’ past is overlain with a highly sexualized mass culture over the last 50 years.
We should leave aside dubious psycho-cultural explanations because they fail to explain political behavior. Specifically, even if ‘Puritan morality’ were such a dominant aspect of US political life, it cannot explain why one should focus only on sexual misdeeds of individual politicians and not the immorality of the widespread, systematic use of sexual torture practiced by US interrogators in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the Guantanamo prison camp and specifically approved by the Bush Administration.
To understand the perversity of US politics, where great crimes are approved by Congress and the President and minor sexual misdemeanors become an obsession, one has to turn away from the amorphous notion of the ‘US public’ and examine what the mass media and opinion leaders find acceptable as the basis for electoral competition.
Read the rest here.
P.S. Here is the editorial comment that accompanies Petras’ article:
Editorial Comment: Among the strongest responses to positions taken by Axis of Logic over the years has been reader-reaction to our call for a boycott of U.S. national elections. While many respond with approbation, joining the boycott, many others – both left and right – have argued against our position. James Petras’ article … provides the most concise argument I have seen to date – for a citizen’s refusal to participate in (and thus to invalidate) the corrupt and deceptive U.S. electoral process. Particularly after the failed economic policies, assault on civil liberties, global terror and human misery executed by the Bush regime, it is tempting to believe that a Democrat Party victory in November will make things better. We say that the killing did not begin with George W. Bush and his Republican-led congress. It began and has been continued by both political parties throughout U.S. history. As we approach the November mid-term elections we again call upon qualified voters to –
Refuse to Vote – Refuse to participate
Your non-vote is the strongest vote available to you as a U.S. citizen – a vote against the system. Read James Petras’ article and please write to us with your thoughts. – Les Blough, Editor