Guest Commentary: The Politics of Soda Pop Part Two
The Politics of Soda Pop, Part Two
By Tom Shaw
Independent Candidate for Iowa House District 8
“However (political parties) may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
(George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept. 17, 1796)
I recently wrote an article in which I described the Republican Party’s abandonment of its core social values contained in its party platform in order to attract moderate voters. In short, I likened it to the disastrous results when Coca-Cola changed its recipe to “New Coke” in order to attract Pepsi drinkers. But the “politics of soda pop” don’t stop there.
Years ago I watched an interview with an executive from RC Cola on a television news magazine. He described the power and leverage that was held by both Pepsi and Coke in the soft drink market. His assertion was that although the two soda giants were in fierce competition with each other, they colluded together to make sure that no other soft drink company could successfully expand its market share. A clear example of this was provided when he told about his company not being able to purchase vending machines in order to sell its product. According to him, when RC Cola would order vending machines from a manufacturer, Pepsi and Coke would buy up the machines at a higher price in order to keep them from being used by RC Cola.
George Washington was clearly, and justifiably, concerned about the inevitable corruption which would prevail if political parties misused their power. His ominous prediction has clearly come to pass in recent years. Both major parties, Democratic and Republican, have gained such a stranglehold of power, for the sole sake of power, that they will collude together to make sure no other voice is heard. They, like Pepsi and Coke, do not want any outside competition and therefore will link hands together in order to stifle any challengers to their dominion. The two parties have become very adept at conditioning voters that they are the only game in town. Want proof? Just tell someone that you are going to vote for a candidate that is not a “D” or an “R”. You will be labeled as a nut and be told that you are just wasting your vote, for everyone knows we have a “two-party system.”
But the electorate is waking up and openly defying the parties. The ranks of independent voters are swelling and the parties are experiencing a mass exodus. “We the People” are starting to demand not only more choices in candidates, but candidates that truly represent their values. Our election system was never meant to result in “I voted for the lesser of two evils”, but rather that voters should have a range of options so that they can say “I voted for good today”.
As an RC Cola candidate, I know the challenges that I face in overcoming the party system. The parties have mutually designed the “straight ticket” voting process to purposely inhibit candidates like myself. The “straight ticket” argument is also used as leverage to force or coerce candidates to run on a Democratic or Republican ticket. I say it is time for the voters to shed their party shackles and vote based on their principles. And I end this with a reminder from Samuel Adams, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote …. that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
Posted on October 27, 2009, in Guest Commentary, Politics and tagged Democrats, George Washington, Political Parties, Republicans, Samuel Adams, Tom Shaw, Two Party System. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.