Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Glenn's Republic and the Stupidopoly

Salon's Glenn Greenwald - a columnist I highly recommend - explains the illness of the Democratic Party in a piece called, "Things I Learned Today About Democracy." His summation parallels my own feelings about that party.

Having just moved to New Mexico, I went looking for voter registration forms. The county clerk's office is in the courthouse, right across from the nice man who wants you to leave your weapons with him. The county clerk and her employees were all very encouraging and yet there is this empty feeling, like complying with some pointless obligation at the office.

It isn't quite pointless, but may I ask this question: If we must limit access to power to two political parties only (a necessity that has never been explained to me), why these two?


Pam said...

This is precisely why I consider myself an Independant.

And, I firmly believe in the old axiom: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I'm not seeing what I want in either candidate this election. I'm not seeing McCain on the right side of some issues of great concern to me.

As for Obama, I'm not looking for a smooth-talking rock star to bring about the change that I see is needed. Who can fault many of his vague, inspiring promises? It's in the details where he's either absent or too pie-in-the-sky.

Sadly, I look at our current Congress and our prospects for President and I just shake my head.

It looks like a huge game of inside-the-Beltway musical chairs. It's insider trading between parties.

I wonder how much money could be tossed back into our coffers if we were able to simply eliminate government waste?

Yeah, well, that would involve looking outward into the hinterlands outside the Beltway... where the electorate lives and struggles.

Negative attacks and/or pretty soundbites are just not reassuring in these rocky times leading up to Nov.

Algernon said...

The good and the bad news on McCain is, how can you tell? He's reversed himself on so many issues without admitting to it. This alone makes him an unknown quantity, except that we know him to be a professional politician with few non-exchangeable scruples. What makes him a hypocrite is the way he chitted Mitt Romney for being a "flip flopper."

Obama is no rock star. He's a professional politician, and a talented one. What I reject is the argument that he is vague to any greater degree than McCain or other politicians. Obama is a policy wonk with very specific proposals. Whether they are any good or not, or whether he can or will get them through Congress, is a different conversation.

Pam said...

OK, so I'll stick with the opinion that many of Obama's so-called solutions ARE pie-in-the-sky.

Many of them aren't realistic nor can he get them through Congress.

The issues I disagree with McCain on he hasn't flip-flopped on. Ex: he's not for mental health parity in the health care issue. THAT IS important to me!

Slightly off topic...Does anyone really think we can flip a switch and be done with the need for fossil fuels? For Oil? Does anyone think that, in the near future we can convert to any kind of alternative energy source?

Sure we need to look at and, probably, develop ALL the alternatives to oil. But, you have those who are against drilling, those who don't want clean coal, those who don't want wind turbines in their backyards, those against nucleur and those who, wrongly, think we can solve the issue by growing corn for ethenal.

We should be doing all of the above. Well...substitute sugar cane for the corn. And, we should be getting the oil we are STILL going to need for many, many years, as much as we can, in our own backyard!

Yada yada about the 10-year-won't-be ready. We'll still need oil in 20 years, no matter what we do about alternative fuel sources.

OK..this is off the topic. Or is it? Politics on both sides are wanting to appease the electorate.

I'm not hearing a lot of hard truths. I don't want or need to be appeased by either one of these men. I want something concrete done, not promised or talked to death.

And, yes, I realize that without something other than a gutless Congress the next President can propose and veto, that's about it.

Unfortunately, cleaning that house is also needed.

Algernon said...

Well... the common ground on Obama seems to be that you and I are not fans. I don't really follow your reasoning here, but the conclusion seems to be the same.

Pam said...

I'm not a McCain fan, either.

I.m just not a fan of what's going on in the Beltway, period. Not now, and not (and I hope I'm wrong)
in the immediate future.

I guess what I'm tired of is talk, talk, talk with no real action.

For example, Congress takes off for a month in a day or two and look what all is left undone.

When it comes to the issues, I can cherry-pick from both sides of the aisle the issues I agree with. That seems to be the way I see things in every election.

I don't think I've ever pulled the lever for a straight party ticket in my voting history.

If one of these guys can get elected and REALLY change the way things are done in Washington, if he can find a way to push or ram through real solutions to the problems facing us today, then I'll be thrilled.

Sadly, I'm not sure it really matters (in many ways) who sits in the Oval Office next. Congress is the body that needs radical cleansing or a cattle prod in the hiney to get on the stick and actually DO something!

Kelly said...

You know, you're never going to find a politician, oops..I mean "candidate" that you agree with on all the issues. Personally, I vote who's best for my pocketbook. Right now that's McCain.

Back to the original topic... it IS a shame that a third party stands no chance. Too bad we can't do away with the party system overall.

Algernon said...

What makes McCain the best choice for your pocketbook? My guess is you have in mind his promise to extend the tax cuts that, in a time when we are fighting two simultaneous wars, have caused devastating damage as badly needed work sits unfunded.

I'd rather have the bridges retrofitted than get a tax break, myself. It's not all about me and my bottom line.

Kelly said...

Well, yes... it is about taxes for the most part. Most Democrats (uh oh, here we go again with "parties") never met a tax they didn't like. I don't mind paying a little more in taxes if I can be assured where those tax dollars will end up. Unfortunately, there's an awful lot of "pork" out there and times when money doesn't end up where it was intended.

No, it's not ALL about me, but I do have to try and vote what I think is best for my family. And... there are other issues (besides money) that are important to me.

We can just agree to disagree. My sister and I certainly don't see eye to eye on all the issues. It's one of the things that makes the USA great. We can have different opinions, vocalize them and still all get along!

Algernon said...

As the author of this blog, I value friendly debate among citizens, not out of a desire to 'win an argument' but to understand one another better and clarify together our concerns and our ideas for moving forward.

This is the role of "talk, talk, talk" in a democracy and as long as our voting has been contained by the establishment to 2 parties, we can at least be more expansive in our conversation.

Zen teaching warns us about attaching to this or that opinion, clinging to a cherished opinion and defending it. Viewing dialogue from the perspective of a parent trying to figure out why the baby is crying, and discussing together why the baby might be crying, is a good analogy for the debate on this blog.

As a Zen student in somewhat of a democratic republic, correct citizenship brings us back to the realm of opinion but, we hope, with the right priorities in place. Serving our families AND our community, with meaningful work and upright speech, is the way of the citizen.

quid said...

I wonder, if there was a viable
3rd party, would I still find myself, every year, picking the lesser of 3 evils?