The video above isn't the most compelling piece of cinema exactly, but clearly shows the complete and utter farce the political process in the United States has become.
Outside the venue for tonight's debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the presidential and vice presidential candidates from the Green Party, Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala were arrested... for obstructing traffic, after being prevented from entering by a cohort of policemen, equally blocking traffic.
Here's the Green Party's account of events:
Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala will appear on 85% of ballots on Election Day, and recently polled 2-3% in four consecutive national polls. The Federal Government recognizes Jill Stein as a qualified presidential candidate, by giving more than $100,000 dollars in matching funds to the Green Party. Yet the two women were arrested by local police when they tried to enter the grounds of Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York, where the debate is scheduled to take place. They are currently still in police custody.
Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala walked with supporters toward the Hofstra campus at 2:00pm EST today. There they were met by three ranks of police officers in uniform and plainclothes. At this point, the Green Party candidates held an impromptu press conference in which Dr. Stein called the CPD debate a "mockumentary," saying that, "We are here to bring the courage of those excluded from our politics to this mock debate, this mockery of democracy."
Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala then turned and began walking onto the debate grounds, at which point the rank of police officers physically stopped them and pushed them back. The two women sat down and the police arrested them, saying that Stein and Honkala would be charged with "obstructing traffic," a charge Jill Stein for President staffer and lawyer Alex Howard called "bogus" in that there was no through-traffic visible at any time during the incident.
The simple fact that blocking traffic is an arrest-able offense blows my mind.
As is the fact, as Democracy Now! has recently reported,that the presidential debates aren't really debates at all, rather a stage managed bit of political theatre designed explicitly to prevent the discussion from expanding outside of very narrow, predefined boundaries of thought and policy, excluding truly left-wing views, as well as the genuinely libertarian views of that party's candidate Gary Johnson (not the faux-libertarian corporatist oligarchy espoused by the Tea Party wing of the Republican party), not to mention the views of the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson.
Bringing this back to the environmental: This narrowly constructed reality is one of the root issues of our present socio-ecological-economic catastrophe. Both the Democrats and Republicans are essentially bought by corporations whose profits are directly tied with continued despoiling of the planet, and suppressing the views of anyone who dissents. Both parties have a militaristic foreign policy exacerbating the very problems they claim to want to solve. Both parties represent a status quo that means death for the planet, an exploitative economic system based on the delusion that a finite planet can support unending economic growth based on depletion of natural resources. There are differences between Obama and Romney for sure—on some social issues for sure, as in the size and role of government—but the differences on many crucial issues are far less than either party proclaims.
Whether you are left of the Democrats, right of the Republicans, somewhere in the middle but dissatisfied of both, that non-corporate centrist views are continually and purposely excluded from US political life—something perpetuated by mainstream, horserace-style political coverage—ought to get you fighting mad. And if it doesn't, I dare say, to use an old expression, you're not paying attention.