|Old People |
Hey, we beat the damn thing, so whatever. Even if the Republicans resurrect the bill, which they certainly will, Obama will veto.
We've got Obama to block this for two years anyway. After that, who knows.
Turnout this last election was 36.6%, and that is some shameful bullshit. Low turnout elections should be welcomed as opportunities for the Left, who are typically a serious minority (23% or so according to Gallup) but can make themselves heard if nobody else shows up.
If the Left voted in numbers -- if they actually gave a shit -- they could knock Republicans out of the House in two years, take back the states in four years, and dominate the Senate in six years. Three election cycles, that's all it would take from a dedicated Left.
And I don't buy the argument that the Democrats aren't worth voting for either. There are some shitty Democrats, there are some good Democrats, but not one of them is as bad as the best Republican. Knock the Republicans out of power and some of the Democrats who get elected instead will be pretty good, and for the ones who aren't, volunteer some of your time to primary better challengers. There are certain burdens that come with being the smartest, wisest demographic, and rolling out of bed on Election Day is one of them.
What America needs is a one-party system. That would fix everything.
It's worth pointing out, however, that the best Democrat is still worse than the worst third-party candidate.
The great thing about third party candidates is, since they have no plan at all to actually win, they can promise anything you want to hear and never be obligated to deliver. The Democrats, unfortunately, are burdened by contending with reality.
The Democrats are burdened with being the culturally progressive wing of the Capitalist Party. They try to hide the fact that they feed at the same trough as the Republicans by distracting people with inconsequential social issues that don't resonate with middle America, which is probably why they lost so many seats. Yes, it's dumb for working and middle-class whites to vote Republican, but it's just as dumb for them to vote Democrat. Neither party even bothers paying lip service to issues that matter to them anymore.
Yes yes, both parties are absolutely the same and interchangeable.
Meanwhile, you've got the Democrats pushing for a variety of worthwhile causes -- LGBT rights, women's rights, wages, jobs, making sure the wealthy pay a fair(er) portion of their taxes -- while I haven't seen the Republicans be on the right side of ANY issue in decades.
"I'm too hip to vote until the absolute most perfect candidate ever comes riding in on a unicorn. Until then my not voting will cause the system to crash & burn and come begging to me" is such a selfish juvenile attitude that it's the electoral equivalent of going Galt.
A representative's voting record is what holds him accountable. The voting record is what keeps a politician from making speeches in favor of a thing, then voting against it, and getting away with it. (Granted, plenty do get away with it, but that has more to do with a shitty electorate.)
An anonymous vote in the legislature might make it easier for Republicans to buck the party line, but it would also let them serve special interests even more blatantly than they do now with no chance of being caught.
The problem with third party candidates is that the corporate media establishment never gives their platforms any airtime, and these candidates will be locked up by bipartisan CPD goons if they dare to speak at any important televised political debates†. Another problem - not with them directly, but with people in general - is that there are plenty of folks out there who are all too willing to buy into the whole "but we need to vote for *bullshit candidate x whom we hate* because *real-politik concerns over slight differences that won't actually matter once x gets into office*" thing. Don't get even get me started on the utter futility of voting in the first place, and the various practical and moral problems inherent with placing civic faith in an act that will never have any impact, despite what our cherished cultural narratives would have us believe.
(† http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/hofstra-debate-jill-stein -arrested-green-party_n_1971960.html )
However, I do agree with you, Mr Bort, in so far as the need for government transparency and maintaining accountability through a visible voting-record - while it would be a good thing to let party dissidents vote their conscience without fear of being outed by their peers, I don't think such a change would be for the best. A politician's fear of the public is a much surer way of keeping him on the "right" path than removing his fear of his fellow party members, and forgive my cynicism, but I suspect that if Democrats and Republicans were allowed to vote secretly, they'd all vote nearly unanimously for whatever things benefit them and hurt the people. Secret voting would be an unmitigated disaster, and spell the end of whatever vestiges of legitimacy the democratic system still holds.
*My* proposal would be a compromise between transparency and secrecy: All members of the Legislative branch would be treated like a sort of jury, and for the duration of their term in office, they'd be sequestered inside their own isolated chambers (like a Papal conclave or something). No congressmen would be allowed contact with the outside world, save through periodic, tightly controlled missives, whose content would be immediately made available to the public. Their voting behavior would be completely OPEN for scrutiny from the outside world, but completely CLOSED to the scrutiny of any other congressmen currently dwelling within the congressional "bubble". Perhaps we could even outfit our congresspeople with always-on live-feed smartphone cameras, broadcasting their lives and dealings 24/7 out to their constituents, thereby allowing us to create a sort of highly situational Panopticon-in-reverse?
The State, more than any other industry, needs to be well regulated, and I think this would be a good step in the right direction.
I'd also like to see some radical campaign finance reforms - like, for example, require all government officials to swear an Oath of Poverty before taking office. This Oath would contractually oblige them to foreswear (almost) all personal wealth for the remainder of their lives. Upon leaving office, let's say, they'd henceforth be subject to a 95% personal income tax rate - a number which could be raised or lowered, depending upon upon how high up in the hierarchy of power the politician was. This would provide a huge disincentive towards political profiteering, and ensure that anyone who wants to assume the reigns of power could never do so for personal gain.
If someone wants to hold the power to coerce 300 million individuals, I think it's only reasonable to ask that they be ready to sacrifice every other dream in their lives.
"forgive my cynicism, but I suspect that if Democrats and Republicans were allowed to vote secretly, they'd all vote nearly unanimously for whatever things benefit them and hurt the people"
I think your cynicism is warranted for a lot of politicians, sure, but I also suspect there are plenty who simply believe that government can do good for the country if dedicated people are in office. They say everyone has a price, but I disagree; a million dollars can be pretty damn easy to resist if you're already financially secure and you'd have to do something you hate to get that million. Which actually becomes a reason why government work should pay a decent wage: so that, unless you come into office corrupt, you're unlikely to bend to corruption.
"Indirect jobs" seems like an easy buzz word that you can leverage to massively over-inflate any sort of minor positive that anything, anywhere has on the creation of any kind of job at all, regardless of how long it might last.
Do they take into account the number of potential beggers a street corner might create and list that as job creation? Probably...
It'll create plenty of indirect jobs when there's an oil spill, that's for sure.
Speaking as a Canadian, indeed, an Albertan, here:
Sorry, guys. We don't all support this bullshit. Really.
It's cool, baby. Canada is tha bomb.
The oil hasn't even been good for Canadians. It raised the value of our dollar so well that we lost a shit-ton of manufacturing jobs that aren't coming back any time soon.
I really detest the pro-Keystone rhetoric that talks about it making the U.S. more energy independent.
The oil is Canadian. It's being refined for the world market, which sets the price. The U.S. exports fucktons of gasoline. It makes us as energy independent as refining Saudi oil does.
What the KXL does is not merely bear the inevitable massive explosion/leakage/poisoning of the water table/etc., it's that it effectively bypasses any American consumption of the oil from Canada and pipes it directly to China and Asia. To be for the KXL is to be effectively 100% anti-protectionism. It has very little practical environmental concern involved.
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