Friday, October 24, 2008

Quadrennial Political Rant


In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.  -- Peter Ustinov

Thus begins my quadrennial political plea to my friends far and near. In this election, for the first time, I will be able to reach each of you directly via this blog. Also in the past four to eight years I have substantially increased my acquaintances on the right side of the political coin. So my old and true liberal friends will be not be less offended than in past years but at least they will not be alone in shaking their manes at my now thirty-two years of clear political naiveté. Yes, my friends, it has been now nine presidential elections since I first began making the same point I once again put forward to you today.

The two party system in the United States is broken; has been broken and will remain broken until reasonable, thoughtful voters like you take it upon yourself to stop swallowing the patently absurd notion that what Party A offers you is substantively different than what Party B offers.

The litany remains the same:

They both raise your taxes, increase the national debt and spend/waste more of your money. There is no “tax and spend” party. There is no “party of the people”. A belief in such epitaphs is not voter involvement; it is simple being complicit in your own brainwashing.

The Federal Budget never goes down, even adjusted for inflation. Therefore, both parties believe in big government. The very nature of being in power is to maintain power. The appropriation process with its earmarks, pork and special orders is structured to keep legislators in office. The budget process is big government, its use and perversion is the life blood of all federal elected offices including those in congress, who are charged with its oversight. The system is perverted beyond saving.

They both believe in welfare. One believes in it for big corporations, the other for disadvantaged citizens and big corporations. Your only decision is not whether you are for or against handouts, but which handouts you are for.

They both are in the pocket of multi-national businesses and these days they are bought via the campaign contribution laws and loopholes by these same businesses. Every purchase you make in this economy has a tax added to pay for lobbyists in Washington. Lobbyists who may be advocating for programs and policies you say you are against.

Neither has done anything about energy, health care or education. We had gas lines over twenty years ago, yet overall fuel mileage on American made vehicles is less than it was after the first “oil shortage”. Health care costs have gone up 150% faster than the rest of the economy in those same twenty years and insurance coverage has gone down as a percentage of the total health care bill. I have no children and therefore assume most or all of you are better able to draw conclusions on the educational system.

They both wage war. And they both continue to wage wars started by the other party. Since JFK handed Vietnam to Johnson and he passed it on to Nixon, there has been this insane policy of making decisions about war and death based on some unwritten rule that you can’t just reverse the insane warmongering of a previous administration because what would that mean for future presidents powers to maim foreign nationals. Like making them believe they might be held responsible for killing thousands and destroying entire cultures would be a bad thing.

Now you are perfectly right in your righteous indignation about the “other” party. Only I have noticed that just like every other election that 40% of the voters when they listen to the debate do not hear the words or issues but hear instead what will support their guy and condemn the other guy. Another 40% do exactly the same thing on the other side. These are not the actions of a thoughtful electorate but of sheep. By the way the book, A Nation of Sheep by William Lederer, was published in 1967, he also wrote The Ugly American.

People do not vote “for” a candidate, they vote “against” the other guy. After the final debate both Fox and CNN ran a long segment of voicemail responses to the candidate’s performance. I counted 18 callers, all of whom said something negative about the other guy. No one, not one, had a positive thing to say about their candidate. Is this really the result of negative campaigning? Or are the voters so stuck in the two party paradigm that they honestly believe the dichotomy of the two party prison.

So once again let me say. The only reasoned, rational solution is to vote for a third party. Only when tweedle-dumb or tweedle-dumber is elected with less than 40% of the popular vote will who cares & don’t care get the message that the voters actually are upset with same old, same old, same old crap. Haven’t you had enough of this yet?

Now, let me speak to each side separately. To my liberal friends. Yes, I know this guy really excites you, just like Slick Willy did. So I know you are not going to listen—again. But in four years when you are making up excuses for why with a “friendly” congress, nothing still has been done. Perhaps then? You really think that big business will allow congress to shift tax supports from big oil to wind or solar? Well maybe in 2012 you will give my position a fair hearing. I don’t really expect you to not vote for Barack this time, I mean there is a war on right? Need I point out, we had a war too. You do remember Vietnam? Or for my younger liberal friends—Lebanon, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq.

For my new conservative friends and most of my immediate family. Eight years ago it was you making the “we can’t have four more years of this” argument. Gore was just another Clinton to you. We needed change right? Well guess what. Not only have you had eight years of the White House but the guy is a functional moron. Come on does W. not embarrass you more than Bill’s blowjob? Quite frankly the third party candidates on your side of the ocean are by and large better equipped to actually hold power. Take a look; there have been some very reasonable third party challenges from the right. Well guess what, your guy this time around is quite frankly a vicious, vindictive bastard. His political allies in the Senate have told everyone this but, as usual; no one listens because it’s either him or the other guy. But lo and behold! There actually are alternatives.

You actually do have a choice. A vote for a third party candidate is not throwing away your vote. Furthermore, if you would spend as much time talking to others about the third party option, spend as much time as you do convincing yourself that the choice you are being offered doesn’t actually turn your stomach, well then something might actually get done. Stand up to whichever party does not represent you; the one that takes you for granted; the one you vote for because they call the other guy names. Do you really want to be associated with the unmitigated lies when your guy “approves of this ad”?

Finally, I remind you of the line you have all heard from me at one time or another. ‘When you chose the lesser of two evils, you still get evil.’ I remind you that a rational, reasoning person like you will at some point admit to yourself that they truly do offer you only the choice between two immoral, incompetent evils. Change the system; change the future, vote for a third party candidate. There are more than two roads to the future and many of the alternatives have not been bought and paid for by people you detest.

Postscript: For those who have not received my Presidential Observations in previous election years. Let me assure you that the “tone” of my words do not indicate that I am “in a bad place” or “more cynical than you remember”. My political position has been firmly outside of the myopic two party system since 1968. My presentation has not varied because the system has not changed. Do rest assured that “they” are not more evil now, W. is not worse than Nixon and Barack only appears slightly better than Dukakis, Mondale or Hubert Horatio Humphrey. I wish you all a pleasant and peaceful fall. See you right here in four years, stuck in the same muck, tilting at the same windmills.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope we don't have to put a bucket on over your head and put you on a donkey.
:-) matt

Ref:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douche_and_Turd


Relative post on '04 elections:
http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/kaercher/kaercher1.html

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Tim, I honestly believe the USA
election system has sucked for a long long time as does the washington system of elected and
bureactic pocket stuffers, so I
vote to trow the bums out, no matter whom might be in power.
The sheep listen to the media
as if they really knew what they
are talking about, which of course
THEY DON'T!!!... love to see
all elected officals have to go
thru the English and Dutch system
of "PRIME MINISTER QUESTION PERIOD
every 2 weeks, But with questions
coming from the masses, with rebuttal from the world! Term
limits are a MUST! Jim
Fri Oct 24, 12:12:00 PM PDT

WhoIsJohnGault said...

O.K., I'm with you, though i enjoy being as inconsistant as possible, and keeping any press away from pointing this fact out pubicaly (or they'd put me in tha punintentiary).
I'm all about the third party, helped the greens get in to the then new MMP system in New Zeland when I lived there. But...I've given a bunch of your money in the forms of my student loans to Obamanation, even though I will probably vote third party.
So this arguement is "imperfect means, transitions to a better ends". Now obviously I can use this to justify a lot of sh*t and a lot of waiting/hoping/wishing hard with no gauranteed results towards a better system. Bottom line, I think I share many of your ideals, however I have different tactics. Gotta love diversity as a fundament to good politicaly and civil health, right pokerface ?
I do think I hear a note of that older generation cynicism in your voice. Ye, who not have faith in Obama!
I should mention there is a secondary gain for me supporting Obama, which is that there is some generational mommentum behind him, the whole hope thing which the older generation scofff at, disillusioned of such fairytail notions. While, my people, the twenty and thirty-somethings are passing this stuff around and it is pretty good to take a toke off, gets you pretty stoned. Don't be such a downer man! Come hang with us Tim, take a drink of the hope potion.
The point here is that it may at times lead to greater personal psychology happiness and health to be politically naive and disregard ones expirience if it comes at the cost of ones innocent expirience of life and people.

On the conservative/ liberal issue, I have a point about how I consider myselfmiddle of the road in a particular way. I feel like I am strongly liberal on some points, strongluy conservative on others, and the categories don't seem to apply on some issues. This is different that the typical notion of moderate = anemic, and trying to make everyone happy. I think the categories are outdated.
Give me a world court, with an enforcing body, give me population control, a moral and inteligence test to qualify for voting privilages, toss the electoral college, draft a revised constitution over the next ten years in mind with the modern issues of expanded culture, and above all this, do it slowly so as not to drive people crazy. Use checks and ballances more closely to keep the comander & chief in check, and dimminish that office back to its original size. Avoid the interlocking directorate of people serving on corporate and advising boards also being connected to public office. Give free public press and TV airtime to all candiates that get a certain degree of support, so that having huge finnancial backing isn't needed to get into office, a really bad sittuation! Make ellection dayss public holidays. Revise the finnancial system so that it isn't constructed around an exponetial growth curve, which is impposible to maintain as a system linked to the physical world in almost any way. OK, enough ranting. I am sure at least some of these ideas are hairbrained, muddleheaded, or feable minded.
Fun blog, thanks Tim.
Hope to see you sometime soon. Had a great dinner with Matt and Tina the other night.

Warmly

-Lev

P.S.
I love ol' Wavey Gravey on this one:
http://www.nobodyforpresident.org/

WhoIsJohnGault said...

O.K., I'm with you, though i enjoy being as inconsistant as possible, and keeping any press away from pointing this fact out pubicaly (or they'd put me in tha punintentiary).
I'm for the philosophy of a third party as a means of checking the other two dominant ones, as it usually turns out.
I'm all about the third party, helped the greens get in to the then new MMP system in New Zeland when I lived there. But...I've given a bunch of your money in the forms of my student loans to Obamanation, even though I will probably vote third party.
So this arguement is "imperfect means, transitions to a better ends". Now obviously I can use this to justify a lot of sh*t and a lot of waiting/hoping/wishing hard with no gauranteed results towards a better system. Bottom line, I think I share many of your ideals, however I have different tactics. Gotta love diversity as a fundament to good politicaly and civil health, right pokerface ?
I do think I hear a note of that older generation cynicism in your voice. Ye, who not have faith in Obama!
I should mention there is a secondary gain for me supporting Obama, which is that there is some generational mommentum behind him, the whole hope thing which the older generation scofff at, disillusioned of such fairytail notions. While, my people, the twenty and thirty-somethings are passing this stuff around and it is pretty good to take a toke off, gets you pretty stoned. Don't be such a downer man! Come hang with us Tim, take a drink of the hope potion.
The point here is that it may at times lead to greater personal psychology happiness and health to be politically naive and disregard ones expirience if it comes at the cost of ones innocent expirience of life and people. Relating to our fellow man through intelect and ideals seems to create much alienation, so the political force of relating by building good will and ethos can be a tool for good as well as demogogy. Obama has that one in the bag, I'd say, and even if he doesn't share my ideals, its a big wave he's riding.

On the conservative/ liberal issue, I have a point about how I consider myselfmiddle of the road in a particular way. I feel like I am strongly liberal on some points, strongluy conservative on others, and the categories don't seem to apply on some issues. This is different that the typical notion of moderate = anemic, and trying to make everyone happy. I think the categories are outdated.
Give me a world court, with an enforcing body, give me population control, a moral and inteligence test to qualify for voting privilages, toss the electoral college, draft a revised constitution over the next ten years in mind with the modern issues of expanded culture, and above all this, do it slowly so as not to drive people crazy. Use checks and ballances more closely to keep the comander & chief in check, and dimminish that office back to its original size. Avoid the interlocking directorate of people serving on corporate and advising boards also being connected to public office. Give free public press and TV airtime to all candiates that get a certain degree of support, so that having huge finnancial backing isn't needed to get into office, a really bad sittuation! Make ellection dayss public holidays. Revise the finnancial system so that it isn't constructed around an exponetial growth curve, which is impposible to maintain as a system linked to the physical world in almost any way. OK, enough ranting. I am sure at least some of these ideas are hairbrained, muddleheaded, or feable minded.
Fun blog, thanks Tim.
Hope to see you sometime soon. Had a great dinner with Matt and Tina the other night.

Warmly

-Lev

P.S.
I love ol' Wavey Gravey on this one:
http://www.nobodyforpresident.org/

Birrell Walsh said...

Ah, Salvation by Third Party...

Hi, Tim, Birrell here.

I presume you are thinking something like a third party that will become the new second party, while one of the present two fades away. As happened when the Republicans came into existence and then power in the 1850's. I suppose that might work, though of course the New Second will simply take over the perks of the Old Second.

I presume you mean this because you are way to smart to want a multiparty system. That always ends up as a sort of defacto parliamentary system. And those multiparty parliamentary systems give us lunatic coalitions. In order to get the last few votes for a majority, they bring in the Season Only With Oregano Front. The SOWOF's price for playing is that their favorite bill gets passed. That is how secular Israel gets Sabbath laws - from coalitions that need just a few more votes, and pander to some religious party. I shudder to think what that could mean here in the Land of Colorful Religions.

So assuming you just mean, change who gets the grift, I would say go for it. But true multiparti-tude, no thanks.

And there is a difference between parties, of course - which special interest gets attended to. That is a difference that makes a difference indeed, methinks.

Birrell

unaha-closp said...

Sh*t me, the grass truly is greener on the other side of the fence. I am a New Zealander and we do have third parties of substantial influence. The Greens whoisJG refers to will more than likely hold the balance of power in the next week (our election is 3 days after yours) and they have a list of stuff to ban and a list of stuff to subsidise and whole lot of new tax to pay for it. The Greens will get 6% of the vote, the big tent parties 40 - 48% and the Greens will decide who wins.

The only reason your 3rd party alternatives have not been bought and paid for is they will not be the road to the future. However our Greens which started as a bunch of committed enviromentalists were, they are now a party operated by a union lobby and with transplanted career politicians and nary an enviromentalist in sight.

What America does have is a pretty good system. The American primary process actually gives you Americans a whole lot more influence than anywhereelse in the world to select a Presidential candidate. To make a difference quit bellyaching and get involved in either or of the political parties. What you need is to find a guy you can trust, a guy who you feel represents you as best as possible and then accept that this guy will attract money in the course of being elected (because that will happen no matter what).

WhoIsJohnGault said...

OK, here comes the back and forth.
Oh the joys of political and religious discussions.
I am going to have to respectfully and firmly disagree about the particular state of a very small Island that both Unaha-closp and I are citizens of, New Zealand/Aotearoa - Cheers mate, glad you're out there. However, regarding your post, six or more of the Greens are personal acquaintances and Jeannette is a family friend and neighbor in Coromandel, and a hell of a good person. I can say with an informed confidence about your statements that the Greens are "now a party operated by a union lobby and with transplanted career politicians and nary an environmentalist in sight." NOT! (said in nasal Borat voice) Hahaha.
Sounds to me like you are a bit bitter bro.Oh well, my, your, his opinions are like kittens, everyone trying to give em away:-)
Not sure why you say third parties have failed in the U.S. because they are not the road to the future ? Missing the logic behind this ? Sounds a bit circular. Please explain ?
My personal take is that we need third parties, and that he founding fathers of America were against parties entirely (several being against religion covertly as well). Many of them seemed to feel that when parties formed, vested interests formed and inevitably corrupted and that was also the beginning of regulating contributions to fund elections, and the relations between party finance and the candidates.
I a also a citizen of the US, and not having too many years under my belt, I still feel inclined to take issue with the point that Americans have a pretty good system, that individuals can make more of a difference here in regards to who gets into office. Well, if we look at the electoral college, and the events of the past two elections, one begins to wonder if even the popular vote counts. I see a system in need of an overhaul. It isn't unworkable, but my earlier post outlines some of the areas that are highly dysfunctional, the college being one of them. Then there is the military industrial complex, which is really a corporate entity....well, I take your point that grass looks greener from wherever we're at, New Zealand looking pretty green (pun intended).
And for no good reason, here is a funny video on voting for Obama (from a Jewish perspective :-).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgHHX9R4Qtk

- Lev