Opinion » Ted Rall

Death and Trivia

United States can't/won't address voters' issues

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Millions of Americans won't vote this November. We don't care about two-party electoral politics because two-party electoral politics don't care about us.

What are Americans most worried about this election season? The economy. Tens of millions are unemployed. People who still have jobs live in terror of layoffs. Real inflation is out of control but salaries are frozen or falling.

The Fed and the White House are colluding in their tradition of ginning up a pseudo-boomlet to support the incumbent. Thus, the latest Dow bubble and phony 8.3 percent unemployment rate, which counts people who have given up looking for work as employed.

Everyone knows the recovery is fiction. Who are you going to believe--the talking heads or your overdrawn, second-mortage line of credit? According to the latest Gallup poll, which asks people how they're doing in the actual world, 9.1 percent of Americans are unemployed and 19 percent are underemployed. When 28.1 percent of Americans are broke, that affects everyone.

People expect their representative democracy to represent their interests. No wonder we're so apathetic. Our "leaders" hardly talk about the economy.

Rick Santorum is more worried about how easy it is to get sex than how hard it is to find work. Mitt Romney thinks it's 1992 and that he's Ross Perot, the businessman who promised to run America like a corporation.

President Barack Obama imagines that we didn't notice that he only started asking Congress to work on the economy after Congress fell under the control of the other party.

Since they can't take on the real issues, the elites are reduced to the politics of distraction.

Federal regulators announced on Feb. 27 that all cars manufactured after 2014 must have rearview cameras. The National Highway Traffic Administration says that "95 to 112 deaths and as many as 8,374 injuries could be eliminated each year by eliminating the wide blind spot behind a vehicle," reported The New York Times.

But there's something screwy about a political culture that makes this trivial story a Congressional priority while the elephants in the room go unaddressed.

If you must obsess over cars, why aren't you pushing radical improvements in fuel efficiency? Cars are a major cause of pollution, which triggers asthma attacks, which kill at least 5,000 people a year in the United States.

The establishment is still wallowing in George W. Bush's hoary post-9/11 death cult.

The day after its scoop, the Times was back with another page-one heartstopper:

"The mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware disposed of body parts of some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by burning them and dumping the ashes in a landfill," began the story. The victims were killed on Flight 93.

Gross? No doubt. Inappropriate? Unquestionably. Important? Hell no. A more appropriate headline would ask: "Why Hasn't There Been an Independent Investigation?"

What if Flight 93 had landed safely? Some passengers would have been laid off. Some would have been foreclosed upon. And the government wouldn't have given a rat's ass.

Why don't people vote? A better question is: Why do people vote?

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