Tuesday, February 2, 2016


My father, the son of a traveling insurance salesman from Boston, was born in Albia, Iowa in 1919. My grandmother, a liberated woman who traveled with my grandfather across the plains in an open touring car, was so impressed by the kindness of the local doctor who delivered her baby that she gave her new son the doctor's name. That is the extent of my personal association with Iowa. 

Iowa caucus voters have voted for Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz as the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates, respectively. Iowa holds 1% of the U.S. population. It is 87% non-Hispanic White. 72% of the population own their own homes. Median household income is around $50,000. Over 50% of Iowans describe themselves as religious, predominantly Christian. 

The fact that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton actually split the Democrat caucus vote down the middle deflates any victory claims by Hillary Clinton. Clinton, the dynastic darling of New York finance, has vastly greater resources at her disposal, yet she only managed 50% support in relatively conservative Iowa. Sanders should be encouraged by this result, despite corporate media's pro-Clinton propaganda. 

Our American electoral system is tragically broken. The 18-month campaign cycle belies the corruption of our politics by corporate media. Our elections are now reality-TV for the masses, whose actual knowledge of the mechanism of governance is declining rapidly. For example, few Americans realize that the U.S. has never been a democracy from its inception. It is a patriarchal republic, modeled on ancient Roman governments. This makes it less representative or innovative in many ways than multi-party parliamentary systems in Europe. 

The two-party system is a rigged game. It freezes the U.S. in a cycle of binary (unscientific) debate in a non-binary world. Religion remains embedded in our politics largely due to this binary system. Right vs Left in the U.S. is readily superimposed on Right vs Wrong. This explains the success of McCarthy-ism in the 1950's, for example. It also explains the merging of militarism with civil administration. When that civil administration becomes inflamed by religious fervor, we were 'blessed' with senile Ronald Reagan and airhead George W. Bush. Now we may be so 'blessed' by lunatic Ted Cruz.

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