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Ex-professional wrestler and ex-governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, appeared on the Larry King Live show on CNN last week. He appeared just yesterday with Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room, also on CNN. Ventura is not one to mince his words when it comes to the current state of American politics. His opinions will certainly not find favor between the ears of any well behaved establishmentarian.

To put it mildly, let’s just say that the man who used to go by the nickname “the body” offered a scathing indictment of the entire body of American politics. I have to admit that most of what he said was like sweet music to my ears. He slammed the “two party dictatorship ” of the Democrats and the Republicans. He actually said that he would like to see political parties disappear altogether, as a matter of fact! And all I can say to that one is AMEN! I love his description of the two major parties:

“You know, as I would get in trouble with before, I used to call them the Democrips and the Rebloodlicans. They’re the same as the street gangs, only these guys wear Brooks Brothers suits.”

Ventura even mentioned the enormous debt that’s been racked up by our government since Nixon dealt the final blow to the gold standard! Oh no! Not the gold standard! Could it be? Is Ventura one of those crazed “Ron Paulians?”

He might just be. Turning to the topic of the Iraq War, and specifically ending it, Ventura says:

“Look it, OK, 2006 — the voters clearly sent a mandate to the spineless Democrats. They sent a mandate to them saying get us out of Iraq.
Have they done it? No. Are they even close to doing it? No. All we’re getting is cheap talk from them.”

So how does Ventura think the war should be ended:

“I agree with Ron Paul, we marched in there, we can march out.”

I don’t even know Jesse Ventura that well. I certainly have not followed his political career. And I am not saying that if he ran for president, I would vote for him. BUT, it is so refreshing to hear anyone lambaste the entire American political system on national television when most politicians and commentators are only too willing to glorify it.

Ventura even suggested that voters should have a “none of the above” option when they go to their polling places on election day. Yikes! Talk about heresy! How can he even suggest something so preposterous? Doesn’t this guy know the rules? Trash one party or the other. But never speak ill of the sacrosanct institution that is American democratic elections. Even if all of the candidates are awful, every voter must fulfill their obligation to select the “lesser of the evils.”

I even heard one CNN pundit refer to a vote for “none of the above” as a “populist copout.” Strange, but the “copout,” if you ask me, is in voting for a candidate you don’t like, just because you have been told that you must vote for someone.

Thank you, Jesse Ventura, not only for not worshiping the State but, for your unflinching denouncement of its corrupt elections.

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Who wants to dwell on politics? Isn’t it so much more convenient and so much less irritating to just ignore all of that unsavory political nonsense? And isn’t it easier to just wander into a voting booth every couple of years and vote the way you were raised to vote? And isn’t it easier to base every political argument you may have on the words of some talk radio blowhard? After all, those people do this stuff for a living, you know! They are the experts! They told us so! Perhaps the slogan for election season in America ought to be: “Don’t Think, Just Vote!

A few days ago I received a message on myspace from a friend in which he pays me and this blog the following compliment:

“I read some of your blog, pretty good stuff. I wish more people put as much thought into their opinions as you, I think we’d be better off as a nation.”

Now, I should point out that I am not including this compliment as a way of “blowing my own horn.” However, the writer of this compliment, my friend since 1994, identifies himself as a “lefty” when it comes to politics. I know we disagree on many issues, but I very much appreciate the fact that he took the time to read my blog. Also, notice that he doesn’t say he shares my opinions but, he does appreciate that I have at least tried to present a cogent argument in support of those opinions.

I think an analogy is in order at this juncture. It seems to me that most people are attached to their political parties in the same way they are connected to their favorite sports teams. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if you don’t like your party’s candidate in any given election. What’s vital, however, is to remain loyal to the party. The ultimate goal is victory. That is, the party must be victorious. All of the various arguments between party members on issues like health care, foreign policy, the economy, social security, and the environment are to be forgotten. It’s time to win! And winning requires a united team effort! Similarly, in the sports world you may not like all of the members of your favorite team. But, when it’s time to play the game, you put aside any ill feelings you may have toward certain players and cheer them all on to what will hopefully be a glorious victory.

The difference between the political side of the analogy and the sporting side involves the ramifications of the end result. If your team wins the game, then it’s time to celebrate. If your team loses, it’s time to commiserate with friends and talk about what you would have done in that 4th and goal situation. Ultimately, however, your life does not change. The result of the political “game,” on the other hand, does affect your life. Your “team,” in this case your political party, may win. However, if you did not vote on principle but, simply to prevent the other party from winning, you may find that is a hollow victory. Since it’s that time of year I will use the Presidential election as an example.

Will the winner of the election start a war? Do you have loved ones in the military who could be called into battle? What if there’s a draft? Would you go?

And what about taxes? Will you be paying more or less? Will the inflation tax continue to diminish the value of your money?

Will your civil liberties be protected under the new administration? Will you be investigated by the government because you publish anti-government posts on your blog?

There are many more concerns, of course, but you see what I mean. The results of the Presidential election will have an affect on your life. To sacrifice principle for party loyalty is to make a great mistake.

This is why I believe that if any political progress is to be made in this country, voters must relinquish their unconditional support of political parties. Many of us are being led like lemmings to that quickly approaching cliff. For all too many people, acquiring a knowledge of politics amounts to nothing more than reading and reciting the slogans printed on bumper stickers.

The internet has made information gathering ridiculously easy. We need to take advantage of this situation to learn everything we can about what really goes on in our government. We should always ask why a law is being passed. We should think critically and wonder who benefits from the new law. We should be concerned that the law may violate our right to privacy. Whether the President is a Democrat or Republican makes no difference. Many Republicans love the fact that the President now enjoys nearly unchecked power. How shortsighted they truly are! For what happens when a Democrat becomes President. All of that power, once cherished by the Republicans, will now be seen as a great threat. And isn’t it strange that since taking control of Congress in 2006 the Democrats have done practically nothing to roll back the legislation that has resulted in so much Executive power. Of course, they haven’t. They know there’s an awfully good chance that they will win this year’s election. Beginning in January 2009, the Democrat President would then have his or her hands on those precious levers of power.

It is folly to assume that your party always has your best interests in mind. Never assume that they will remain true to their principles. Watch them like hawks. Don’t just go along for the ride. You might not like where they’re taking you.

All of us out here in the land of the sheep have been hearing for months about this great agent of political change named Barack Obama. Especially on matters of war and peace, Obama has been portrayed as the “real” anti-war candidate of the “real” anti-war party. Sure we know he is opposed to the war in Iraq, but let’s remember that he is, after all, a Democrat. The war being waged in Iraq is a Republican war. And we must not forget about loyalty to “the Party.” I mean, war and peace are important, but Party unity trumps all other concerns when it comes to politics. Think back to the 1990’s and Clinton’s incursion into Kosovo. Which party was critical of war then? Remember, it was war making controlled by Democrats so naturally the Republicans opposed it. In Washington D.C. there is hardly any opposition to war that is rooted in true anti-war principles. Instead we have politicians being anti-war when it’s convenient. If they believe taking up a pro-war position will help to secure votes and advance their dreams of increased political power and stature, then, by all means, they will adopt a suitably pro-war position. Likewise, if the political winds are indicating that a politician who espouses an anti-war position will see his or her level of political clout rise more expeditiously than that of the pro-war politician, then strike up the band and start singing “give peace a chance.”

Unfortunately, the two candidates in this year’s presidential contest who maintain a principled aversion to war, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, are relegated to the sidelines while the poseurs duke it out on center stage.

Alright, so we know about Obama’s position on Iraq. But, what’s his approach to Pakistan? In this excellent you tube clip we see and hear that Obama is not quite the anti-war candidate he’s cracked up to be. He more or less states that our troops are just in the wrong place. According to him they don’t necessarily need to come home. They just need to be shifted to other places in the Middle East, like Pakistan. And when Obama speaks about terrorists plotting to strike America again, we are subjected to a level of fearmongering that’s worthy of the most bellicose neocons.

In short, the anointed prince of change does not really oppose the war on terror. He just doesn’t approve of the way the Bush administration is fighting it. He, on the other hand, is going to do whatever it takes. He’ll get tough with those towel heads in the right places!

And if he receives his party’s nomination, and goes on to become president, I can’t wait to see all of the anti-Iraq war Democrats stop on a dime and support whatever military adventure Mr. Obama has up his sleeve. After all, we must remember that loyalty to “the Party” is priority number one.

According to this poll conducted by the Associated Press, many Americans believe that the best way to fix the country’s economic problems is to simply get out of Iraq. Amen, brothers and sisters, on that one! Let’s face it. This war can do nothing more than kill scads of Americans and Iraqis, destabilize the Middle East even more, serve as the best recruitment tool Al Qaeda could have ever imagined, and absolutely bankrupt the United States. But why stop in Iraq? Let’s come home from everywhere! I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think it’s my responsibility to help fund the defense of Japan, Korea, Europe, or anywhere else outside the United States, for that matter.

So yes, it seems like Americans ARE getting rather restless with the Iraq debacle. BUT, they still want the welfare state AND a warfare state. Many respondents in this poll believe the money spent on the Iraq war would be better put to use by ensuring health care for everyone. Now as much as I oppose socialized medicine, I have to admit that it’s preferable to war. Of course, Hillary and Obama are championing universal health care. Surely most of the poll respondents who favor universal health care are supporters of one of these liberal senators. But where is the money going to come from? Neither one of these candidates seems to be in a major rush to pull troops out of Iraq. Furthermore, neither one of them has mentioned ANYTHING about dismantling our global empire. So where does that money for universal health care come from? Well, taxes could be raised directly, but that’s political suicide. So naturally the only other course of action is to go to our good old inflationary friends at the Fed and have them print more bills of credit out of thin air. Peoples’ wealth goes down, prices go up, INCLUDING the price of medicine, and hey presto, we’ve defeated our grand purpose of providing affordable health care for all. One would think that if the Democrats were so intent on pushing for “affordable” health care for the masses, they would advocate the elimination of the largest burden on the U.S. economy; our global empire and foreign policy of intervention. Alas, they don’t. As Gomer Pyle would say, “sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!”

Also troubling to me is that over half of the respondents in this poll said they have confidence in the Fed to remedy the economic troubles we are now facing. At this point I have to resist the urge to beat my cranium off the wall. Am I actually reading this stuff correctly?!?! People are so conditioned to believe that our central bank is actually in the business of helping us, that they can’t smell the excrement under their collective noses! The Fed CREATES the troubles we are experiencing by printing more money, cutting interest rates to ridiculously low levels, and encouraging consumption when people SHOULD be told that the path to TRUE wealth is through SAVINGS, NOT SPENDING.

Okay, deep breaths now, I’ll calm down here in just a second… There we go… That’s better.

Well, at least the Iraq bit is a good sign.