I am trying very hard to participate in democracy, but I am a Floridian, and it’s not so easy down here. In the first 8 years I was able to vote, I was registered as a Republican, as my family was. Then I started thinking a little more freely, relinquished my allegiance to the Grand Old Party, and spent a decade or so as a political independent.
For the last few years, I have registered as a Democrat so that I could vote in the primary. Unfortunately, the Florida Democratic Party has taken that right away from me this year and demanded that I vote for Joe Biden. The problem is the I’ve wanted to vote for Marianne Williamson to be president since I read her book Healing the Soul of America twenty years ago, and although she was the first person to throw her hat into this particular ring, I do not have the freedom in the state of Florida.
In 2016, I preferred Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, and I got stuck with the last person I would ever want. In 2020, of the more than 20 candidates in the Democratic primary, Joe Biden was the very last person I wanted, but Marianne Williamson was the person I wanted the most, and I was glad to at least have the opportunity to vote for her in the primary. This year, without any input from its members, the Florida Democratic Party has unilaterally decided that although most Floridians (as well as most Americans) want neither a rematch of the 2020 debacle nor another Biden term, Joe Biden is the only presidential candidate Floridian Democrats are allowed to vote for.
Democratic party candidates Cenk Uyger, Dean Phillips, and Marianne Williamson (who was the very first person to announce her candidacy in March of 2023) all reached out to the Florida Democratic Party in order to be included on the ballot. Unfortunately, the organization failed in communicating with them and only included Joe Biden as a candidate, thereby canceling the primary and stripping Floridian Democrats of their right to vote. I find it hard to imagine a more blatant example of corruption. The Florida Democratic Party has displayed to the rest of America that democracy is indeed withering and may in fact be dead if Americans do not claim their right to it and nourish it properly. Florida residents who consider themselves Democrats should appeal to the Florida Democratic Party to restore the right to participate in democracy, but because so many have been so well trained to be subservient to the corporation, I don’t expect that it will happen.
Perhaps 100 years ago, when Americans were considered citizens, they would have risen up and challenged this assault upon personal freedom. However, as the consumers we have become, swallowing whatever they give us gives us one less bubble to fill in, and it seems that Americans would prefer to not get all that involved in how their lives are run, more content to have them run for them. Because our electoral system only allows for two choices in our melting pot community, we must either swallow the gushing torrent of bile from one side of our manufactured aisle or swallow our dignity and pride by supporting the other.
But make no mistake, in order to participate in the US electoral system, you’re going to have to swallow.
If only we could imagine what true democracy would look like. If only we could start to envision a sort of collaborative, democratic system that could bypass the ingrained corruption that has rotted the heart of our union. If only we could recognize that democracy is still a work in progress and that it is dependent upon our participation.
Unfortunately, it is corruption like that which has been so perfectly displayed by the Florida Democratic Party that keeps so many people from voting and keeps democracy as little more than a fevered dream. May we someday wake up to the possibilities.
I still believe that democracy has a chance and that we can use the technology unavailable to us when our current antiquated system was established to move toward something that works better. But I also believe that in order for democracy to thrive, it can’t be operated by two corporations owned by the billionaire class.And I’m not sure it will happen because democracy rises or in order for democracy to rise, but I have a dream that in my lifetime, we will see the dissolution of the Democratic and Republican parties and an end to the manufactured idiocy that is the two party system.
I may not be able to vote for who I want to, but I can still dream.