John Whitehead’s „Stop Drinking The Kool-Aid, America: Political Fiction In An Age Of Televised Lies“ (1) reminds us of this year’s US-presidential election as a „pseudo-event“, „manufactured, contrived, confected and devoid of any intrinsic value save the value of being advertised. It is the end result of a culture that is moving away from substance toward sensationalism in an era of mass media.“
His break-in contrasts with statements like Michael Moore’s „5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win“ ( http://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin ) or the the hope- and disappointment/raging-articles related to Sanders’ „revolution“ and his recent hailing of Hillary Rodham Clinton: „She is the best candidate to address crises we face“.
Whitehead’s solution is:
„Stop playing the game. Stop supporting the system. Stop defending the insanity. Just stop.
Washington thrives on money, so stop giving them your money. Stop throwing your hard-earned dollars away on politicians and Super PACs who view you as nothing more than a means to an end. There are countless worthy grassroots organizations and nonprofits working in your community to address real needs like injustice, poverty, homelessness, etc. Support them and you’ll see change you really can believe in in your own backyard.
Politicians depend on votes, so stop giving them your vote unless they have a proven track record of listening to their constituents, abiding by their wishes and working hard to earn and keep their trust.
Stop buying into the lie that your vote matters. Your vote doesn’t elect a president. Despite the fact that there are 218 million eligible voters in this country (only half of whom actually vote), it is the electoral college, made up of 538 individuals handpicked by the candidates’ respective parties, that actually selects the next president.
The only thing you’re accomplishing by taking part in the “reassurance ritual” of voting is sustaining the illusion that we have a democratic republic. What we have is a dictatorship, or as political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page more accurately term it, we are suffering from an “economic élite domination.”
A healthy, representative government is hard work. It takes a citizenry that is informed about the issues, educated about how the government operates, and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to stay involved, whether that means forgoing Monday night football in order to attend a city council meeting or risking arrest by picketing in front of a politician’s office.
It takes a citizenry willing to do more than grouse and complain. We must act – and act responsibly – keeping in mind that the duties of citizenship extend beyond the act of voting.
Most of all, it takes a citizenry that cares enough to get mad and get active. As Howard Beale declares in the 1976 film Network:
“I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it.”
(1) John Whitehead: Stop Drinking The Kool-Aid, America: Political Fiction In An Age Of Televised Lies; The Rutherford Institute*, July 26, 2016 – URL:
* About The Rutherford Institute, see: https://www.rutherford.org/about