Activists threw tomatoes at banner bearing pictures of members of parliament and marked ‘You have failed’ [EPA; Al Jazeera]

Today, American citizens go to vote in their mid-term elections that will likely result in a different Congress. In a couple of days, Lebanese parliamentarians go to vote for themselves to extend their already illegal mandate.

In my more cynical moments, I ask myself whether the former is better than the latter. Is it better to engage in an illusion of democracy, where research has shown that the average American voter has essentially no impact of policy in this country, or is it better to simply not delude oneself in thinking that voting makes a difference within the context of a dysfunctional system (whether of the American or Lebanese variety) by simply not having that ability to vote (and until the system is fixed).

Is it better to derive satisfaction from casting a vote for an elephant or a donkey that both turn into lap dogs beholden to special interest groups once in power and whose positions are almost identical on most topics (minus details), or is it better to rip that veneer of respectability and that veil of deceit by publically giving the middle finger to your people and saying fuck it: you all knew this was a charade anyway, and now we’re making it official; no vote for you.

Unless the outcome of voting is a reflection of the will of the people (on policy issues), what’s the point in engaging in this meaningless exercise every 2 or 4 years? Perhaps the system needs to descend into levels of Lebanese dysfunctionality in order to have an honest conversation about fixing a Democracy with no clothes.