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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 498)...

    With the up and coming 2000 presidential election upon us, I was wondering how you feel about the whole thing. Personally I figured you'd be a man to vote for the voice of reason in this whole thing, Nader. It has clearly been shown by the continuously falling numbers in voters, which means the Democrats and Republicans alike are not doing their job. Most of us feel we're not important to this country anymore and that our vote does not matter. Either way I understand that you do not condone this current system we have because eventually it will, and it will, collapse in a giant heap of rubble. But, where do you stand?

    ...and the response:

    My observations as a "cultural critic" (as I've recently been called) are that we have a system that (1) puts individuals into office with an incentive to achieve short-term results exclusively and (2) through built-in checks and balances, moderates all results to the point of nullity as far as possible (that is, maintains the status quo regardless of who is in office). This is why we can't expect any president to become a great, heroic, "world-saving" figure. Thus I see it as my task to make people aware that, if the world is saved, it will not be because we've voted for the right individual, it will be because the six billion of us finally wake up to the fact that saving the world is up to us and not to our governments, which must be left behind to do their endless, self-serving maintenance chores while we get on with it. (I don't, by the way, believe that this current system will necessarily "collapse in a giant heap of rubble," any more than the Roman Catholic Church did during the Reformation, when the people of Europe conceived the idea that they could take their personal salvation into their own hands. Our governments perform some useful functions; they're just not going to perform the function of saving the world.)

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