May 1, 2013 | By Mark E. Smith
Ever wonder what it would be like if we had the same sort of winner-take-all system in music as we do in elections?
You’d be able to select the music you wanted, but the only music you’d be allowed to listen to would be whichever music the big corporations had spent the most money promoting.
Instead of being able to listen to your favorite musicians, you’d have to settle for whichever of the most heavily promoted musicians was the less obnoxious to your ears, unless, of course, most people happened to choose the more obnoxious one, in which case that’s what you’d have to listen to.
In fact, before the advent of indie labels and indie marketing, we came very close to exactly that. The music industry spent fortunes ensuring that radio stations only played the musicians the industry was promoting.
But people were still permitted to buy the music of their personal choice. That’s not what happens in elections. We get the elected officials we’re allowed, not the candidates we might prefer, and when the only allowable candidates happen to be evil scum, voters have to hold their noses and hope that the lesser evil scum might win and might continue to be less evil than the other evil scum once in office.
Sure, they can vote for the candidates they want, but they can’t get them elected because only those with major party nominations and big corporate donors have any chance of being promoted by the major media.
There are a few miniscule exceptions. A few tiny towns have managed to elect decent local governments, but of course they have no options when it comes to state and federal elections.
I can’t imagine people accepting our electoral system in any other aspect of their lives. Would people go to restaurants where they could order anything on the menu, but would only be served what the majority of other diners ordered? Would people be happy if they could select whatever clothing they wanted to wear, but could only take home whatever clothes the majority of other customers had selected?
I almost wish I had a small restaurant, so I could try something like this. When people came in, I’d have them seated, give them menus, and then ask if they were voters or not. Those who weren’t voters would be able to order and eat anything on the menu. But voters, no matter which dishes they selected, would be given only what the majority of other people had ordered. And they wouldn’t be allowed to send it back or refuse to pay for it. They’d have to accept the will of the majority and hope that what they were served wasn’t something they were allergic to or found distasteful.
I think if the principles of our “democratic” elections system were applied to any other area of their lives, people would revolt and refuse to accept it. They want to choose for themselves what to eat, what to wear, and what music to listen to. But when it comes to deciding who will make the big decisions about wars, taxes, jobs, and the economy, they’ll settle for whatever the winner-take-all system imposes on them, even when the only choices are a greater evil and a lesser evil, and there is absolutely no possibility of anyone who isn’t evil getting elected.
If the majority can decide who will control your government, why shouldn’t the majority be able to decide who you can be friends with, who you can date, and who you can marry? Don’t people trust the will of the majority? Wouldn’t that be the “democratic” way to do things?
Why is it that people who can exercise common sense in most other things, become total idiots when it comes to elections?