The founding editor of New Renaissance gives his personal view of the U.S presidential election of 2008.

by Dada Vedaprajinananda 

The world is watching the U.S. presidential election with a lot of interest because the future course that the United States takes will affect the economic and political life of millions of people in many far-flung countries. 

In addition, with an African-American on the Democratic ticket and a woman on the Republican ticket this particular election looks even more interesting than usual, because regardless of which side wins, some cultural barriers will be broken. 

Despite the novelty of watching Obama run for president or Sarah Palin trying to become the first woman to be elected vice president, is there really anything else that is new in this election? Will the winning team chart a new course for America and the world once they take power on January 20, 2009? 

I seriously doubt that either of the political parties will make revolutionary changes following their election. Both parties are firmly committed to the capitalist economic system at home and abroad. Certainly the Democrats are more inclined to government intervention in social welfare issues and the Republicans place more reliance on the private sector in solving all problems.  But even a victorious Democratic administration will find it hard to make meaningful social welfare changes at home without running into insurmountable problems posed by the nation’s dogmatic adherence to laissez faire capitalism. The failure of Hillary Clinton’s proposal for national health insurance in the 1990s is a case in point. 

What about in the arena of foreign policy?  The U.S. says, and most of its politicians sincerely believe, that it is working to “make the world safe for democracy.” In practice this means that it is working to make the world safe for free-market capitalism and for America’s worldwide economic interests. 

Once again, there could be different approaches taken by either a Republican or a Democratic president.  The Democrats might favor a more multi-lateral approach or try to work under the mantel of the UN while the Republicans are more likely to follow in Bush’s footsteps and adopt a go-it-alone interventionist foreign policy.  But whoever becomes president next year, he will not suddenly allow small countries to experiment with socialism or adopt regional answers to their problems nor will he work to curb the reach of multi-national corporations or start dismantling America’s overseas military forces. 

Although different names are given to the two main parties in the United States, their core values are essentially the same. On the surface it appears that the U.S. has a two party system, but in reality it is a one party system masquerading as a pluralistic system. During the days of the Cold War commentators in the U.S. scoffed at the elections in the Soviet Union because only members of the Communist Party were allowed to take part. In the United States of yesterday and today only card-carrying capitalists have any chance of being nominated by the major parties. 

Millions of dollars will be spent on this year’s electoral campaigns and journalists will write millions of words about it, but in the end it will not mean much. It reminds me of Macbeth’s remark about “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Dada Vedaprajinananda founded New Renaissance in 1990. Today he teaches yoga, is engaged in social work and writes and performs music. You can read more of his articles or listen to his music at his website