Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why We Are Who We Are

Also, since I'm finding the Democrats and, to a lesser extent, Republicans to be even more sickening and offensive than usual, I want to try to keep an open mind here, since I know there's plenty of people who think these dumb parties are our salvation.

PLEASE, explain it to me, because I TRULY do not understand.

Why are you a <>?

What does it mean to you to be a <>?

What do you get out of being a <>?

Would you ever change your political affiliation and, if so, under what circumstances?

What are 5 things about being a <> that you believe make it substantially different from other political affiliations?

How often do you disagree with the leadership of your political affilation, if ever? What do you do if/when you disagree?

I wrote an article in a similar vein for the New Paltz Times a while back, although I think even that requires some revision at this point.

Health Care, SRSLY?!?

Who are we thanking, and for what??? The Obama logo suggests we are, in fact, thanking the golden boy himself, but... HUH?!?!?!

So I'm getting really aggravated at the stupid viral Facebook status message about health care. If you haven't seen it, I'll paste it below for the sake of recordkeeping, but UNDERSTAND THAT I AM NOT ENDORSING IT!

"No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and nobody should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day."
Sigh. How can we be so misguided? It breaks my heart. So, of course, I put up a status message expressing my disdain ("believes in it, supports it, wants it to happen, but recognizes that the approach being taken is counter-productive and essentially sabotage. no number of dedicated facebook statuses will change that.") and all sorts of crankiness ensues.

One friend, a fellow Green, used the status as a basis for opening conversation with some friends who are not as engaged in the issue. OK. I guess I can deal with this, even though I don't really see the point. If you're in need of an introductory health care conversation via facebook this late in the game... um... yeah. Plus, I've never known a conversation that accuses the opposition of essentially being murderers to lead to a lot of enlightened soul searching, but who knows.
Another, this one a Democrat, hasn't participated in the homogeneous status posting but felt resentful and attacked based on my obvious disgust with all things big D. This one is kinda complicated. Instead of being offended by my hatred of this sham of a party, shouldn't she be offended by what her party has done? I'm hugely offended, and I'm not even a member!

Does she really believe in these issues or does she believe i
n the collective solidarity of standing for absolutely nothing? If it's the latter, well, whatevs, but if it's the former, she should be outraged and, more importantly, she should be doing something about it. Why not work to change the structure and absence of any values exhibited by this party for decades? Why not refuse to donate to, volunteer with or vote for another one of these lying imbeciles until "hope" and "change" actually become meaningful? Better yet, why not just walk away?
The majority of people endorsed and elected by the Democrats are manipulating and defacing whatever ideological remnants still guide the party, assuming there are any at all. Registered Democrats would be much better served by coming to terms with the fact their party's promises are hollow. They need to start supporting the issues and candidates who are actually worth something instead of clinging to a party that doesn't seem to espouse much of anything.

Another friend, this one from my hometown, embraced the "t
o hell with them all" mentality and suggested I let her know once I have that up-and-running. Which is exactly right. Because the "third parties" aren't doing much of a bang-up job, either.

Then, as if the status updates weren't enough, a Democratic
elected official from my former county of residence posts a link to a petition, begging Obama to please support a single-payer option. The first line actually reads, "We worked so hard for real change." And the whole thing appears to be sponsored by the Obama campaign itself (or else someone is seriously engaging in trademark violations). WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
So, let me get this straight.

1. Barack Obama campaigns on a platform that includes a public option for health care, available to all Americans.
2. People "work so hard for real change" and Barack Obama is elected President.
3. Barack Obama and the other Democratic hacks take the public option "off the table."
4. We beg the people we elected less than a year ago to do what they said and keep the promises that they made during their campaigns....

Is that about right?
When they refuse to "listen" (aka do what they said they were going to do in the first place), was it because we didn't have enough people at the rallies? Was it because corporate dollars somehow controlled the debate, and our elected officials can't be expected to allow their promises to stand up against the pressure? Was it because we didn't get enough facebook statuses or signatures on the petition supporting it? Or is it because we've elected a bunch of liars and can't admit that all that "hope" and "change" was BS?

We obviously can't rely on the two major parties, and third parties are sidelined due to a combination of systemic ineffectiveness, disorganization and general fluffiness. And that's assuming that we even have real third parties, rather than just branches of the existing two, which I'm really beginning to question (but that conversation is for another time).
Now what?

This entire mess just reaffirms the fact that it isn't a problem with partisanship or corporate interests or lobbyists or apathy or any of the other junk excuses that we come up with. The disaster that we know as the American political system is completely upside down, backwards, inside out and knotted up. It's a super unfunny joke and we should scrap it and start again. Yeah, that seems really complicated and challenging, but at least it's proactive rather than waiting for the inevitable catastrophe guaranteed by the existing system.

We have so much diversity, so many different views, such high stakes that we simply cannot count on a two-party-majority-but-only-by-a-little-electoral-W-T-F-is-the-point-college-but-it's-how-we-were-founded tradition. THIS IS NO WAY TO GOVERN, PEOPLE! Maybe it made sense when the population of the country was 3 million people, but so did slavery and property laws and a bunch of other really dumb ideas that obviously sucked. Why we invoke tradition so fervently to protect a system that is blatant in its disservice to absolutely everyone is beyond me.

Wayyyy back in the day, when we had our first kinda-sorta-real elections in the US, there were two parties: the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Well, guess what. We still have the Democratic-Republicans, but they've split into two wings of the same party. Aside from a few issues and a few approaches, there really aren't tremendous differences between the two (you get a prize if you can come up with one that is actually, truly, really, really, really meaningful). To top it all off, Democratic-Republicans used the terms interchangably, calling themselves Democrats, Republicans, Democratic-Republicans, and, yes, even Federalists and Federalist-Republicans! Ok, so we let a bunch of really confused people set up a really confused system.

Instead of continuing to try to create differences where, really, few exist, maybe we can try letting everyone have a say and work with the differences that are actually there? Maybe, instead of basking in the glory of shutting out thousands and, even, millions of American citizens from leadership opportunities in our governments we could try letting everyone have some representation, mixing things up a bit and see where that gets us. Maybe we should just consider the merits of a system based in proportional representation, where the proportion of votes cast for parties and candidates determines who governs. It seems to make sense and it's gotta be a helluva lot more productive, transparent and honest than the gig we've got going now.

Dontcha think?