Mrs. Thatcher quipped that “There is no alternative” to her brand of unfettered capitalism. This explains much of the malaise in several electoral jurisdictions where people are leaving the mainstream parties in droves: they simply stand for nothing in particular, if not for more of the same. This doesn’t necessarily show up in the campaign rhetoric, but officials are to be judged not on what they promise, but on what they deliver. In the case of the recent U.S. midterm elections, it seems plausible that the victory of the Republicans has little to do with the merits of the people or the ideas, but a lot to do with the unfulfilled promises of the 2008 election. In effect, the voters were sold a bill of goods and got more of the same, though with a very well-spoken figurehead. In effect, there wasn’t really a true alternative. I see that Bernie Sanders is challenging his hordes to be ready to take on the entrenched structures of capital and no one of prominence has the credibility that Sanders has built over the years. It would be interesting to get inside peoples’ heads to see what they thought of Sanders as a potential president, and we all know that his chances of getting elected are somewhat south of the Vegas minimum, but Bernie represents an alternative that has been there all along, that of rule of the people, by the people and for the people. This has become increasingly difficult to conceive of, let alone implement, as the creeping influence of big money has captured the security establishment, both houses of the legislative branch and a good part of the court system. It has been the hidden alternative, never discussed in polite society and certainly not a figure in the press and entertainment venues that constitute the daily fare of most of us, it has not been a coherent alternative, and it would seem that neither party in the GOP/Dem dichotomy (not so much), as well as the Labour/Tory pairing in the UK and the UMP/Socialist duo in France, presents a framework for that voice.

A further thought about the possible outbreak of something like democracy. This morning’s radio had a feature on an imaginary food truck and the promotion thereof by the buying of glowing reviews and FB likes and Twitter followers. The suppliers of the lies do it for the money. Does this remind anyone else of our political process, except that, instead of a phony grilled cheese sandwich truck, we are paying for bogus legislation and legislators.