Enter The Box by Matthew Villata

Imagine, the American electoral system of representative democracy. A fine system, democracy, yet there is a complication within the American version. Democracy is a pathway to a multitude of possibilities constrained only by the action and imagination of the electorate. The American version, is covered by a box, in order to restrain action and imagination. The electorate simply cannot think outside the box, even though they do have the ability. This is because the box has been insidiously designed to appear inescapable, to appear immutable and to appear institutional. The box is first past the post voting. The box is gerrymandering and other forms of voter suppression. The box is a media complex designed to stoke fear and apathy. As a result, the democratic process inside the box resembles less a healthy electorate and more a game of football where two teams work to score points against the other in a constant contest. This does not have to be so; all sides of the box can be challenged.

Challenging the box is no simple or easy task. First, in the past the post voting systems have long been ingrained in U.S politics as are various tactics of voter suppression. Still, there are both alternatives and long-standing opposition to these factors. There is hope, as ranked-choice voting spreads across the country and the state with the help of organizations like Fair Vote. Ranked Choice voting transforms elections from winner take all contents into referendums on the reception of the candidates. The change is simple and actionable. The change is already occurring and there is hope for vast systematic change with simple agitation and reform, longtime tools of Americans and all Democratic societies.

Ranked Choice voting is a needed electoral reform and will have a transformative effect on any area where it is adopted. Still, it is not a cure all. Standing against media and internet misinformation and a corrupt media establishment are goals that seem to lack a definitive end point. Twenty First Century mass communication has impacted the electorate in ways that are still being understood and undergone. One thing is certain, voters are demoralized. Voters are being told their opponents want to destroy them, with varying degrees of accuracy. Voters believe they cannot challenge a political class that has secured their power with billions of dollars and corrupt institutions. Indeed, the prognosis can feel bleak.

The bleakness is merely an illusion of the box. Outside of the box exists the possibility to engage in vibrant political action, to in-vision a dream and actualize it in reality with the help of others. Outside of the box are options that now merely conceptualizations. The possibilities outside of the box are endless. The box must merely be identified for what it is, an artificial construct that can be thrown in the garbage.

Posted in Newsletter, Uncategorized.