Monday, December 31, 2018
Book Review: 'Political Cocaine: How America Got Hooked On the Two Party System and How to Intervene' by Art Rude
‘If we can learn to see past labels, maybe we can see more of ourselves in others.’
North Dakota author Art Rude taught school and coached and is now is the Safety Manager for Stellar Field Service where he teaches and coaches safety. He has had a state-level job as the Public Relations and Fund-Raising Director for the North Dakota Democratic Party
The thoughts presented in this fascinating and challenging book are best stated by Art in his initial chapter – ‘If the United States were invaded by any foreign entity, the world would discover the real power of the Second Amendment today. Americans would literally be up in arms, and the world would see the most powerful and best-armed guerrilla warfare ever! Unfortunately, America has been invaded and conquered. Because it was internal, devious, and subtle, the population has accepted it. America has been conquered by politicians. The American system of government was designed to be run by citizens who gave of their time to do public service and return to their regular lives. But elected officials became politicians and organized themselves into clubs – parties – to build power and influence for themselves. They gradually became professionals, exploiting some intentional omissions in the Constitution of 1787. Nothing in the Constitution created political parties, and there was also nothing making them illegal. Does anybody seriously think the collection of presidential candidates of 2016 (or any of today’s political leaders, for that matter) could have initiated a government for the United States anywhere near the quality of what the Founding Fathers put together? Me neither. It was a different time. The Age of Enlightenment was a most wonderful period in many ways. People valued learning. In fact, as a former teacher of physical science – introductory chemistry and physics, as is commonly taught to ninth graders – I can attest that many of the basic principles taught in these sciences came from that age, not from scientists, as we would assume today. The wealthy of that day felt an obligation to contribute to the larger good of society, having the time, resources, and a remarkable fascination with this new thing called science. As a result, many of the basics were discovered by “enlightened” wealthy seeking answers and desiring truth about how the world really worked, apart from religious precepts and ancient assumptions. The Founding Fathers were a product of this “enlightened” mentality. Those Americans now referred to as Founding Fathers thought about making a country that was the summation of the best ideas from history of how to govern equitably with the maximum of personal freedom. James Madison was the one who did his homework preparing for the Constitutional Convention. Discussions Madison had with Thomas Jefferson were key to development of the American Constitution of 1787. As Jefferson was serving as the ambassador of our young nation to France, the responsibility to take the plan to the convention was Madison’s. What he presented is known as the Virginia Plan….‘
And from that informed history is an examination of how the political parties have essentially negated ‘government by the people’ and replaced it in government by the privileged/moneyed/powerful ‘elected’ representatives. Or as he so adeptly dates, ‘What chance does America, the land of the free, have if freedom of speech is reduced to everything but the discussion of our own governance? People are afraid to talk politics! It’s never a discussion unless you’re with people of like persuasion. So let’s discuss, with boundaries. No traditional polar arguments allowed; limit discussion to how to make political party power go away, as intended by the Constitution. I would love it if political parties could be eliminated, but in the safety game, if you can’t eliminate, mitigate! People who bring the level of the discussion down to the level of partisan politics arguments should be asked to leave. Try again, next time, if you can be civil. Let’s discuss multiparty systems, choice in the marketplace, and go for some real choice in America! You can change America for the better if you choose to. It won’t be done through the Republican or Democratic parties, they are the problem.’
Read and think – especially right now at this moment in our history.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.