Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Word from the Silent Majority.

A T-Shirt I WISH I'd thought of. I may have to get one anyway...

Stop Flinging Poop
some of us are trying to walk.

I've been a "negative partisan" for some time now. I'm much less invested in what I'm "for" because there's so much to be against that must be done away with before a positive process can occur. Nonetheless, it bears thinking about, and what "better" would look like. While I have particular political preferences, I have seen that the political process works best when NO particular political agenda dominates.

Some of the best and most interesting and workable social policies tend to work out when there's dynamic tension between, say, outright socialists and free-market conservatives - because both philosophies concentrate on things the other philosophy has difficulty noticing. So, while being ideological opposites, they actually complement one another and manage rather well in forestalling or fixing the excesses of the other. That's simply one example, and I find that the more viewpoints that exist, well stated and well argued by reasonable people, the better the result.

Now, I would prefer a common sense approach, where everyone simply looks at the facts and the situation and picks the approach that's going to give the best result for the least cost - but that would be reasonable and rational and I've long since resigned myself to the fact that politics and rational behavior have little common ground.

Nonetheless, allowing partisanship to degenerate into a purely visceral process, as we have done, where support has nothing to do with the actual effectiveness or rationality of a party's policies is clearly ... well, it's stupid. And we have been suffering from a fever of stupidity since 1997, or perhaps even 1981.

Now, I'm not actually blaming Republicans for anything other than realizing that appeals to emotion, and in particular, negative emotion would be successful in an electoral sense.

But at some point you have to ask yourself; "what price victory?" If you degrade, demoralize and bankrupt a nation in order to seize and retain power, you probably won't have the power to do more than ride the rotting carcass downhill.

That, arguably, is what is happening, and it has nothing whatsoever with either liberal or conservative values, or indeed the foundational values of Democrats or Republicans. Rather, it is the disease of expediency and corruption, when getting and staying elected is more important than being a responsible and effective representative of the people's interests.

Politics in the United States has become a race to the bottom, and it is no surprise that it is dominated by bottom-feeding scumbags. These days, the polled trust and respect level for a politician is lower than that of personal-injury lawyers, on the level of used car salesmen and carnival barkers. Clearly, it's not unreasonable viewpoint.

However, it's quite possible to have a polite, courteous and effective political process with much more citizen involvement that our current crop of "representatives" are comfortable with; your dear grey neighbors to the North manage quite well. Not only that, they manage to make politics rather entertaining; a fit subject for the evening news and dinner-table discussion. Politicians are expected to answer the hard questions and the opposition party exists to have - and is expected to intelligently present - coherent, useful and understandable criticism. Not "bashing" or "swift-boating;" ultimately, that's a cheap and easy substitute for real, hardball politics.

Take a moment and see the sort of representation you deserve - and have the right to demand. By the by, these happen to be Liberals, that was simply the first result to come up. In my experience, Canadian Conservatives are of equal quality. But then, they have to be, to not get laughted out of Parlement.

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