Is there any point in voting (in America) this year?

LobsterMobster wrote:
Seth wrote:

On the flip side -- I was watching Mad Men the other day, and was struck by the conversation Bert was having with his friend concerning how "the passage of Medicare would be the next step of many to the path of socialism" and its similarities to conversations we're having nowadays.

You do realize that Mad Men is written by contemporary writers with a conscious desire to relate to a contemporary audience, right? Not a time window?

I think it is a real skill how you are able to put snark in every one of your posts.

I personally think that the "no difference" argument is a tired one. Come live in the South and tell me there are no differences.

Yes, corporations and lobbyist have undue influence and in some cases out right control of our political process, and it would be swell if (from a liberal perspective) the Democrats would grow a pair and enact sweeping changes, Wall Street/NRA/Fox be damned. But we live in a Fox world, where idiot bloggers can get a woman fired within 48 hours by purposefully misrepresenting her words, and politicians do have to think about being reelected in that world.

Maybe Civil Rights, same sex marriage, abortion and global warming on are not high on your own political agenda, but these are all areas where real difference exist between the two parties.

While part of me fears the Idiocracy scenario, I personally think that the current demographic trends of this country (and the short sighted, gnashing of teeth against said trends by those on the right) will limit some of the damage that the dumbing down segment can do.

Don't get me wrong, I would love for there to be viable third and fourth party options, but choosing not to participate in the process does not bring us any closer to that reality.

SallyNasty wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
Seth wrote:

On the flip side -- I was watching Mad Men the other day, and was struck by the conversation Bert was having with his friend concerning how "the passage of Medicare would be the next step of many to the path of socialism" and its similarities to conversations we're having nowadays.

You do realize that Mad Men is written by contemporary writers with a conscious desire to relate to a contemporary audience, right? Not a time window?

I think it is a real skill how you are able to put snark in every one of your posts.

I do respect Seth's insights, I just don't think that a contemporary show about the past and written for entertainment is necessarily historically accurate. When you watch a WWII movie you'll occasionally see a little anachronistic comment. That doesn't mean the men in the war really knew what was going to happen.

Badferret wrote:

Maybe Civil Rights, same sex marriage, abortion and global warming on are not high on your own political agenda, but these are all areas where real difference exist between the two parties.

While I agree that there are some real differences between the two parties, by voting for one of them, you are supporting their other policies as well.

It is certainly impossible to vote for someone that you can support 100% of the time. However, I refuse to vote for someone I support 10% of the time. Even if the 90% I don't support is the "given" party line. It's especially true when you have people like George W. Bush talking about a "mandate from the people", assuming that every vote for them is a vote for any decision they could possibly make.

Show me a candidate that I agree with more or at least respect their intellectual rigor and commitment to doing what's they think is right rather than what's popular (or, more aptly, financially prudent), and you'll have a candidate I'd be willing to vote for.

All of this pro-voting sentiment is really good citizenship and generally a good way of thinking in a society with a true representative government.

As it stands capitalism murdered democracy long, long ago.

People are equating voting with choice, but voting is not choice. The current system of governance is in place to give the illusion of choice to the populace to keep them kowtowed. In reality all democratic and republican candidates for any sort of position that has actual power are guaranteed to be compromised or else they wouldnt be a candidate. In order to attain and maintain political office you *must* compromise yourself in some way.

Are there notable exceptions? Yes. Where are they? Why don't you ask senator Paul Wellstone. Oh wait, you can't, he's dead. Tragic plane crash accident there.

I refuse to play this pretend game and be supplicated by the true power brokers. The people who wield true power do so with money and influence and are not anchored down by some silly social contract. They don't have to answer to constituents nor do they have to be liked by the public at large.

The EPA along with just about every other "positive" change has been enacted as a response to quell public outcry. Instead of actual changes or real ideologic growth they slap a new program together, give it an alphabet acronym, show it off to the public as a sign of how much they care, then go right back to doing whatever it is they were doing beforehand. Probably swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.

American's do not have a choice in how this country is run. All we can do is bitch and whine like a little kid who wants M*Ms in the grocery checkout. Like a mom the govmt will sigh, act all dramatic, buy us skittles instead, then tell us if we complain that they just won't buy us anything next time if we're going to act ungrateful.

The government is NOT here for us. It is not for us and it is certainly not by us. The global economy is our government and has been for a long, long time.

I reject it in its entirety. I am powerless to stop it but that doesn't mean I'm going to play along with the joke.

A millage, a new law. Those maybe I'll vote for because they effect small changes on a local level. I am never again going to vote on a person because, on the whole, people are f*cked up and little more than puppets.

LobsterMobster wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
Seth wrote:

On the flip side -- I was watching Mad Men the other day, and was struck by the conversation Bert was having with his friend concerning how "the passage of Medicare would be the next step of many to the path of socialism" and its similarities to conversations we're having nowadays.

You do realize that Mad Men is written by contemporary writers with a conscious desire to relate to a contemporary audience, right? Not a time window?

I think it is a real skill how you are able to put snark in every one of your posts.

I do respect Seth's insights, I just don't think that a contemporary show about the past and written for entertainment is necessarily historically accurate. When you watch a WWII movie you'll occasionally see a little anachronistic comment. That doesn't mean the men in the war really knew what was going to happen.

I didn't take your response as snark -- I do think that Weiner's show should be given some lattitude, however, due to the creator's painstaking attention to historical detail. I think it's perfectly reasonable that a wealthy ad man in the 60s would cry "communism" over medicare, similar to how a wealthy entrepeneur in 2010 would cry "socialism" over national health care.

Either way, I don't really have a lot invested in that particular anecdote, so I'll withdraw it from conversation.

So where is the power-broking for things like gay marriage/civil unions, or abortion laws, or gun control, or civil rights? Yes, when it comes to economic issues we live in a corporatocracy, and that sucks. But on social issues where there is no real economic component? Votes matter. Votes change outcomes.

BTW, when did capitalism murder democracy? 1900? 1920? 1950? 1980? 2000? I can't think of a single era when business interests didn't have a major role in elections.

Seth wrote:

I think it's perfectly reasonable that a wealthy ad man in the 60s would cry "communism" over medicare, similar to how a wealthy entrepeneur in 2010 would cry "socialism" over national health care.

Or a wealthy actor:

TheArtOfScience wrote:

American's do not have a choice in how this country is run.

We are granted limited choice that's for sure.

But through the voting booth we do have the ability to slow the bleeding. Think of how much better this country would be today if Al Gore had won in 2000, or how much worse it would be if McCain had won in 2008.

Funkenpants wrote:

So where is the power-broking for things like gay marriage/civil unions, or abortion laws, or gun control, or civil rights? Yes, when it comes to economic issues we live in a corporatocracy, and that sucks. But on social issues where there is no real economic component? Votes matter. Votes change outcomes.

BTW, when did capitalism "murder" democracy? 1900? 1920? 1950? 1980? 2000?

These "social issues" are meant to keep stability in society.

History shows us that totalitarian governments often fall to their own unwillingness to change.

How can you be in control and not have the populace get angry at you and overthrow you? You let the populace preten that it has control and you dole out concessions to keep them placated.

Much of what is done in the social realm by our government is done to placate us.

Social issues are only addressed when they reach a critical level of public awareness and sentiment. They are addressed because the powers that be want a stable, productive society of happily soporific people who will not rise up or question, and will instead produce or consume.

The coporatocracy is only concerned with the average person producing something for them, consuming the things out there that are produced, and maintaining a certain level of ignorance or lack of curiosity. People produce, consume, and are satiated when they live in relative social stability. People do not change social policy. Voices do not matter. Social policy is changed as a response to societal pressures that cannot be allowed to build up lest it cause rebellion.

Let's say I am making my favorite dessert. It's a mud pie. I love mud pie. It's my intention to eat this pie all to myself but I need a plate and fork. What do I do?

I invite over my hungry friends and tell them that if they bring a plate and fork they can have dessert with me. When they come over I let them choose between a cookie and a stale cake then, when they aren't looking, I gobble my pie alone in the pantry.

The pie is a sh*tload of money. The friends are the voters and sadly the political parties are the cookies and cake.

The friends(voters) leave my house happy and thinking I'm a swell guy for giving them stale cookies and cake because they were hungry. I'm happy because I got to eat my pie without having to share it and I look like a great guy in doing so. The donut and cake were only there to distract my friends and I can always buy more cookies or cake at the store.

In America we are eating the stale cake or the cookies. The pie is invisible and is being gobbled up out of our presence. Hell, the actual existence of the pie is rumor at best anyway.

We're bringing the forks, the plates, the ingredients. We're mixing them together and setting the timer. Yet when its time to eat we get stale cookies and told that that's the result of our labor while someone else eats the delicious pie that we made.

Wow...has this metaphor gone on long enough? I'm hungry for pie now.

As for when capitalism killed democracy...uh...I'm going to say in the womb. Democracy in the way it was adopted here was sure to fail. Guaranteed. Capitalism at its heart is a big pyramid scheme that only works reasonably well for a set period of time before it devolves into neo-feudalism. The end result of capitalism is one person having all the money in the world.

I wonder how close we'll get to that before something happens.

ChrisLTD wrote:
TheArtOfScience wrote:

American's do not have a choice in how this country is run.

We are granted limited choice that's for sure.

But through the voting booth we do have the ability to slow the bleeding. Think of how much better this country would be today if Al Gore had won in 2000, or how much worse it would be if McCain had won in 2008.

I used to think that and I volunteered for Gore's campaign. I was crushed when he lost.

Now....well...now I think Al Gore would probably just eat the pie in the pantry too. They really aren't much different.

Can you imagine two people more different than Obama and Bush? Hard, isn't it? But just how differently are things being run?

Not much.

TheArtOfScience wrote:
ChrisLTD wrote:
TheArtOfScience wrote:

American's do not have a choice in how this country is run.

We are granted limited choice that's for sure.

But through the voting booth we do have the ability to slow the bleeding. Think of how much better this country would be today if Al Gore had won in 2000, or how much worse it would be if McCain had won in 2008.

I used to think that and I volunteered for Gore's campaign. I was crushed when he lost.

Now....well...now I think Al Gore would probably just eat the pie in the pantry too. They really aren't much different.

Can you imagine two people more different than Obama and Bush? Hard, isn't it? But just how differently are things being run?

Not much.

I think that is an overly cynical reading of Obama and Bush. I think Obama is trying to change things.

TheArtOfScience wrote:

The friends(voters) leave my house happy and thinking I'm a swell guy for giving them stale cookies and cake because they were hungry. I'm happy because I got to eat my pie without having to share it and I look like a great guy in doing so. The donut and cake were only there to distract my friends and I can always buy more cookies or cake at the store.

Would this single reference to a donut represent a government coverup?

Also:

Would it be safe to say then, that. . .

*puts on sunglasses*

the cake is a lie?

YEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHH

TheArtOfScience wrote:

Can you imagine two people more different than Obama and Bush? Hard, isn't it? But just how differently are things being run?

Not much.

On foreign policy I agree. On civil liberties Obama may even be worse than Bush.

However, on general domestic policy he's been leagues ahead of his Republican counterparts. He actually managed to pass health reform that is supposed to cut the deficit and cover more people. The stimulus plan kept the economy from crashing even harder than it has. During the oil spill crisis he actually took a hard line with BP and put a moratorium on drilling. Could you imagine Bush doing that?

Other than that, there's lots of little things are moving in a better direction for the average American and not just big businesses. I won't pretend I'm not disappointed, "Change" hasn't been as fast or as sweeping as I'd like, but the alternatives are worse.

TheArtOfScience wrote:
ChrisLTD wrote:
TheArtOfScience wrote:

American's do not have a choice in how this country is run.

We are granted limited choice that's for sure.

But through the voting booth we do have the ability to slow the bleeding. Think of how much better this country would be today if Al Gore had won in 2000, or how much worse it would be if McCain had won in 2008.

I used to think that and I volunteered for Gore's campaign. I was crushed when he lost.

Now....well...now I think Al Gore would probably just eat the pie in the pantry too. They really aren't much different.

Really? I think it is safe to say that a little ol war in Iraq most likely wouldn't have happened had Gore's victory been recognized.

As far as Bush v Obama; I look to healthcare, banking reform and student loan reform as pretty big differences and wonder what else you would have him do given the current economy, and that he would like to have a second term?

I don't have anything else to add, other than to note the coincidence that Capitalism: A Love Story was recently added to Netflix streaming.

I've always been intrigued by the notion of a "None of the Above" movement or legislation. Meaning, if you don't like any of the candidates, "none of the above" should be a viable ticket choice. If that category wins then a new, expedited election with new candidates is held.

I haven't given into full blown cynicism yet, but I'm edging perilously close. I fear that unchecked campaign contributions (including lifting restrictions on corporate donations), and to a lesser extent a lack of term limits, will be break democracy once and for all.

I think that change does happen, but the complexity of governing such a diverse nation makes it happen very slowly. We can summarize decades of history into its pivotal moments, but living through that history makes it feel as if little is being accomplished.

Ballotechnic wrote:

I think that change does happen, but the complexity of governing such a diverse nation makes it happen very slowly. We can summarize decades of history into its pivotal moments, but living through that history makes it feel as if little is being accomplished.

This. Also, when I take a step back, the direction that change is going has me alarmed. That being said....

Yes, our country's government is a lie. And TAOS's pie analogy is very appropriate. And it's been that way since the dawn of society. Our system, in its current state, is slightly less evil than its predecessors, because occasionally a stale-cake-eater manages to sneak their way into the pie-eating group. That happens much more now than it used to, that's for sure. So, let me ask this: Who among us would NOT jump into the pie-eating group if they had the chance?

Well, I don't know, I'm an average American from a regular blue collar nuclear family and I climbed up into the top 10% before I was 30. There's plenty of wealth to be distributed, it's just not handed out with silver platters and forks. I do think our current electorial is less-functional then the past, but that could just be my better understanding of the system through experience instead of an idolized view of it.

People still vote candidates into office. Maybe you need to focus on getting the people around the right candidate - like campaigning or something. Didn't the big corporate world dislike Obama because most of his funding came from individuals and not the lobbists? Is he still somehow dirty and corrupt?

Also, States (while they still have power) vary greatly in their political members and how they run themselves. I can see how you could be cynical coming from one of the most corrupt cities in the country - maybe its time for a change in local sceenery then an attempt at orchestrating in a different venue.

SallyNasty wrote:

I think that is an overly cynical reading of Obama and Bush. I think Obama is trying to change things.

I LOL'ed at that. If by change you mean almost everything is exactly the same or worse then I would agree.

One follow up to my last post:

Since it's so damn easy to vote, you should.

Vote for the man or woman you think might make life better for you and the rest of the planet. You don't have to be 100% enthusiastic about it. Meanwhile, if you care enough, work for or start a political movement you do believe in.

DSGamer wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

I think that is an overly cynical reading of Obama and Bush. I think Obama is trying to change things.

I LOL'ed at that. If by change you mean almost everything is exactly the same or worse then I would agree.

I am curious, what specifically would you have had him do differently than he has?

DSGamer wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

I think that is an overly cynical reading of Obama and Bush. I think Obama is trying to change things.

I LOL'ed at that. If by change you mean almost everything is exactly the same or worse then I would agree.

I dunno, I have been seeing small movements in the right direction. I get that you are (understandably) bitter about the job situation - but I don't agree that everything is the same or worse.

That said - there is still a lot that needs to be done, no argument there.

Badferret wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

I think that is an overly cynical reading of Obama and Bush. I think Obama is trying to change things.

I LOL'ed at that. If by change you mean almost everything is exactly the same or worse then I would agree.

I am curious, what specifically would you have had him do differently than he has?

To start with I would have liked it if he hadn't have started all negotiations with the Republicans by conceding defeat. The trainwreck of Healthcare Reform could easily have been boiled down to single payer as the opening bid and then walked down to a strong public option or the option to buy into Medicare. Instead we largely still have the same system in place. A few changes to the rules of who can be discriminated against and mandatory buy-in to private health insurance isn't "Change I can believe in".

Transparency is a joke. He promised transparency and a rejection of lobbyists in the administration. Lobbyists have never had it better. They largely wrote the health care bill and the financial reform bill.

Again on transparency, he talked about ending illegal wiretapping of civilians and hasn't. He talked about closing Guantanamo Bay and ending illegal and unconstitutional detaining of individuals. He hasn't closed Guantanamo and he's opened "enemy combatant" prisons in other nations.

He's doubled down on Afganistan, including Predator drone attacks that have killed large numbers of civilians in Pakistan.

I could go on, but there is too much to recount. He's been a terrible disappointment and that's just him. Nevermind Congress and how they've performed.

SallyNasty wrote:
TheArtOfScience wrote:

Can you imagine two people more different than Obama and Bush? Hard, isn't it? But just how differently are things being run?

Not much.

I think that is an overly cynical reading of Obama and Bush. I think Obama is trying to change things.

Yeah, and Bush was trying to reach across the aisle and restore dignity to the White House.

Farscry wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:
TheArtOfScience wrote:

Can you imagine two people more different than Obama and Bush? Hard, isn't it? But just how differently are things being run?

Not much.

I think that is an overly cynical reading of Obama and Bush. I think Obama is trying to change things.

Yeah, and Bush was trying to reach across the aisle and restore dignity to the White House.

Well, that one was obviously bullsh*t:)

That's my point. DSG is pointing out that while on the surface, Obama and Bush (and Gore and McCain and whoever else) may give off different "vibes", in the end we've now had two leaders who are consistently working to consolidate power under the executive branch, sweep government abuses of power under the Lincoln bed, undermine citizen rights and protections, and essentially render the American people obsolete in the political theater.

As long as we keep swallowing the Republican/Democrat hooey, we're just going to spin our wheels while the moneyed interests run the nation without any real fight being put up by us.

In democratic America, the hooey swallows you.

Dirt wrote:

In democratic America, the hooey swallows you.

What is funny about this - in Russian hooey means dick.

Funkenpants wrote:

So where is the power-broking for things like gay marriage/civil unions, or abortion laws, or gun control, or civil rights? Yes, when it comes to economic issues we live in a corporatocracy, and that sucks. But on social issues where there is no real economic component? Votes matter. Votes change outcomes.

BTW, when did capitalism murder democracy? 1900? 1920? 1950? 1980? 2000? I can't think of a single era when business interests didn't have a major role in elections.

One possible answer. Link

Short of it: As the proceedings of congress became more open to the public (common sense: more transparency = better government), only the lobbyists took advantage of it. Common citizens have lives to live, and can't keep up with the daily goings on of hundreds of representatives, but lobbyists can. That is their livelihood.

Conclusion: you need something better than common sense to dissuade corruption.

SallyNasty wrote:
Dirt wrote:

In democratic America, the hooey swallows you.

What is funny about this - in Russian hooey means dick.

Wait, seriously? Ewww, that lends some disturbing images to my previous post.