There is this vending machine in the place I live. It is filled with all sorts of interesting items. Some of them don’t look so good to me; organic tofu, extra wheaty fiber cakes, and a wide assortment of nuts and fruitcakes. But other items look quite tasty, and I often long to purchase one of them.
But every time I make a selection, instead of getting the item I want, I get one of two items sitting near the top of the machine. They both look putrid to me. They have no wrappers; they are bland, stale, and displeasing to the eye. I can’t tell the difference between either one of them, but they both drop to the selection tray in the same way a cow pie falls from the heifer.
I don’t know how anybody can stomach either one of these two choices, but they are quite popular. Almost without exception, everybody who inserts coins into the machine ends up with one or the other of these items. Some people actually select these two items, but many try in vain to choose another option.
I’ve been visiting this vending machine for 16 years, and never once have received the selection of my choice.
Why do I keep using this machine? Why don’t I demand its repair?
The problem is that the folks who benefit from selling these two products are the ones who maintain the vending machine. Why would they want to fix a machine that forces me to select one of their products? It’s a great situation for them. And they don’t much care that I get the shaft every time I attempt to make a purchase.
I’m speaking metaphorically, of course, about our wonderful voting system here in America. For 16 years I’ve been voting for third parties. I think many of them have some excellent points; points that aren’t being heard. I think the two parties are old, stale, and need to be routed. But my vote doesn’t matter. It never matters. A third party could get 49 percent of the votes, but if 51 percent vote for one of the evil two, then all of those folks are denied a voice.
It’s time to put the ‘representative’ back into representative democracy.
How to do that?
I don’t know.