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Author: Subject: I'm a fan of American democracy

Ultimate Peach





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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 09:50 AM
I've been reeading the WP and staying the heck away from it for a long time, after sometimes getting into it here a couple yrs back. But I have to post something in appreciation of American democracy since so many people like to beeyatch and moan about how bad both candidates are and what a crappy system we have. First off, tell that to people in China or Cuba who want democracy, or in North Korea or Iran, or any poor working stiff on the African continent who see their rights trampled and their wealth plundered year in and year out by "leaders." Go whine about American democracy to someone in Russia today for that matter and see what you hear in response.

Seems like we all get so caught up in our party affiliations or our other beliefs, that we sometimes forget to appreciate what we have in this country. Over the last several years (and I would go back to the Clinton era some for sure), democracy has been trampled on and abused. And the Bush administration has signaled a pretty low moment for our democracy -- one thing most people agree on by now. It's never been even close to perfect in this country even at its best, but it is a great experiment and I don't think many places on earth have what we do at the end of the day.

Let me put it this way: I'm a Mets fan, but I'm also, more importantly, a lover of the game of baseball. Likewise, I am politically "progressive" in most respects, but more than anything I'm a believer in democracy and in America's promise, and I want to feel good about our the health of our political life. That's been hard to do for the last 10, 12 years or so. I happen to think this election -- from the very interesting primary season to the stark contrasts and extraordinary nature of these two candidates -- has been really good for the country. My father in law is a dyed in the wool Republican and we agree on little. But he too has said this election has been great because both candidates are formidable people with genuine things to offer.

I don't think either of these men is an empty suit at all. They are strikingly different -- different generations, different political philosophies, and different experiences. That difference is GOOD for the country. And each has done much in their lives to earn respect, and each brings a distinct and real intelligence to the table (though the restrictive nature of presidential campaigns makes it hard for that to always come through).

I think it's a shame that people just revert to their camps here and not take a minute to appreciate American Democracy. It's a lot better than most countries political systems and this year to me proves that it can rise from the dead.
My 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 09:58 AM
quote:
I think it's a shame that people just revert to their camps here and not take a minute to appreciate American Democracy. It's a lot better than most countries political systems and this year to me proves that it can rise from the dead.
Thanks, Pete! Thank God we've got choices in our lives! And nobody should feel beaten upon or berated for differences in beliefs on something like politics.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 10:02 AM
Democracy is the greatest system in the world (my opinion), but that doesnt mean it cant be improved upon.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 10:04 AM
quote:
Democracy is the greatest system in the world (my opinion), but that doesnt mean it cant be improved upon.


Liburul commie bastid...

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 10:04 AM
Pete is right. We should always keep in mind how lucky we really truly are.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 10:10 AM
quote:
quote:
Pete is right. We should always keep in mind how lucky we really truly are.


Unless you're a Mets fan, in which case you're **** out of luck.


Dude, I'm a Chiefs and Royals fan...

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 10:19 AM
quote:
Democracy is the greatest system in the world (my opinion), but that doesnt mean it cant be improved upon.


Like more than a two corporate owned party system or perhaps
term limits on some of these oily f***'s

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 11:40 AM
That's always been my attitude and approach. God Bless America!

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 11:40 AM
In the spirit of sharing opinions, I'll question the premise just a little bit. Please note that I am not arguing against democracy in general, or our version of it specifically. But I think there are reasonable questions about the state to which ours has fallen.

Do we really still have a democracy when we are restricted to two alternatives who have so rigged the system that for a third choice to emerge is almost unthinkable? That's where we seem to be these days.

Some may think there is a wide chasm between D and R, but is there really? Both spend in an out-of-control manner, both see only government as the path to future solutions, both have perverted the constitution when it serves their aims, both refuse to take on the really important issues of the day because they would be politically "difficult", both use the power of their position to grant special-interest favors, both use those favors and other privledges to remain in power, and both seek to make the citizens ever-more dependent upon government so that their power is forever ensured. And more.... both serve the interests of the financial elites and the military/industrial complex first and foremost - citizens be damned. All the while, the endless bickering between the two teams fills the news cycles and diverts the public's attention from the fact that a) special interests control the agenda, and b) nearly nothing important or sane ever gets accomplished anymore.

In almost every way, the two parties have limited voter choice. Getting on the ballot becomes ever-harder for third-party candidates. Gaining access to debates is almost impossible. The hurdles for public funding must be almost unthinkable.

The D's and R's are like two trains going down parallel tracks in the same direction with the same final destination. They occassionally part ways for a bit when a hill comes between the tracks, but the lines come together again soon enough and onward they go. They've monopolized the service so that no one can compete, and everyone must follow their rules.

While its true that we still get to vote, which I guess by defination makes us a democracy (democratic republic to be precise), I'm not sure we have a "functional" democracy anymore given the two-party conditions. But in the end, we deserve what our choices bring us.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 11:52 AM
quote:
In the spirit of sharing opinions, I'll question the premise just a little bit. Please note that I am not arguing against democracy in general, or our version of it specifically. But I think there are reasonable questions about the state to which ours has fallen.

Do we really still have a democracy when we are restricted to two alternatives who have so rigged the system that for a third choice to emerge is almost unthinkable? That's where we seem to be these days.

Some may think there is a wide chasm between D and R, but is there really? Both spend in an out-of-control manner, both see only government as the path to future solutions, both have perverted the constitution when it serves their aims, both refuse to take on the really important issues of the day because they would be politically "difficult", both use the power of their position to grant special-interest favors, both use those favors and other privledges to remain in power, and both seek to make the citizens ever-more dependent upon government so that their power is forever ensured. And more.... both serve the interests of the financial elites and the military/industrial complex first and foremost - citizens be damned. All the while, the endless bickering between the two teams fills the news cycles and diverts the public's attention from the fact that a) special interests control the agenda, and b) nearly nothing important or sane ever gets accomplished anymore.

In almost every way, the two parties have limited voter choice. Getting on the ballot becomes ever-harder for third-party candidates. Gaining access to debates is almost impossible. The hurdles for public funding must be almost unthinkable.

The D's and R's are like two trains going down parallel tracks in the same direction with the same final destination. They occassionally part ways for a bit when a hill comes between the tracks, but the lines come together again soon enough and onward they go. They've monopolized the service so that no one can compete, and everyone must follow their rules.

While its true that we still get to vote, which I guess by defination makes us a democracy (democratic republic to be precise), I'm not sure we have a "functional" democracy anymore given the two-party conditions. But in the end, we deserve what our choices bring us.




Exactly right, Rich. It's hard to get jazzed up when there is no candidate representing what you really believe in. I still favor this type of alignment:

1- Conservative party
2- Republican party
3- Democratic party

Dream on, right?

Actually, 2 & 3 could probably be merged into one...Call it the Traditional party.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 12:08 PM
If someone ran as a Whig, I'd vote for him just because...

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 12:56 PM
I agree a great deal with FR. Both are ignoring the real fiscal issues of the deficit and debt and growing entitlement programs.

It kills me that on issues the parties are in general agreement on, we have huge pissing contests over the 10% they don't agree on. Example - Iraq. Both want the troops home ASAP, some measure of payment from the Iraquis etc. Instead, we argue about who wants a timetable and who doesn't. Who was for the surge, who wasn't. Who voted for, who would have voted against. Are those issues really salient in determining who would be best at ending the war?

Then add in the "litmus test" issues that certain groups vote exclusively on, abortion, gun control etc. So we ignore the other 90% of a candidates position to focus on these.

Don't get me started on either's tax plan...they'd both be good material for Lewis Black.

I'm seriously leaning protest vote since Obama will carry my state with me or without me.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 01:17 PM
quote:
I've been reeading the WP and staying the heck away from it for a long time, after sometimes getting into it here a couple yrs back. But I have to post something in appreciation of American democracy since so many people like to beeyatch and moan about how bad both candidates are and what a crappy system we have. First off, tell that to people in China or Cuba who want democracy, or in North Korea or Iran, or any poor working stiff on the African continent who see their rights trampled and their wealth plundered year in and year out by "leaders." Go whine about American democracy to someone in Russia today for that matter and see what you hear in response.


Isn't that what is happening here?

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 01:41 PM
quote:
quote:
I've been reeading the WP and staying the heck away from it for a long time, after sometimes getting into it here a couple yrs back. But I have to post something in appreciation of American democracy since so many people like to beeyatch and moan about how bad both candidates are and what a crappy system we have. First off, tell that to people in China or Cuba who want democracy, or in North Korea or Iran, or any poor working stiff on the African continent who see their rights trampled and their wealth plundered year in and year out by "leaders." Go whine about American democracy to someone in Russia today for that matter and see what you hear in response.


Isn't that what is happening here?


Yes and no. I believe that in the 1990s there really was very little difference between the parties. When the Democratic Party did nothing but react to the Republicans and play defense, the centrist/conservative Democratic Leadership Council came to dominate the party and Bil Clinton with his triangualtion strategies was a part of that.

Now, IMO, there are some clear differences. The main differences have to do with how far the Republican coalition of the last 30 years has gone in two areas: 1) Deregulation/privatization of all the agencies and functions that were designed to referee the market (starving government down to where it can be killed a la Grover Norquist); and 2) Appointing radical judges who have sought to impose a strict 18th-century vision of the Constitution and undo judicial interpretations that made our Constitution an living breathing ad progressive document (as I believe it was intended to be).

I left the 2-party sytem during the Clinton years and never voted for him. I voted third-party in 92 and 96, registered Independent and worked for Nader in 2000.

What has brought me back to the Democratic Party is not some belief that it's particularly effective or good on its own. What brougt me back was a belief that my ideal version of America was going to have to wait, and that there is enough of a difference between the parties to make it worthwhile. Specifically, agencies like the SEC, FDA, EPA and FEMA have had foxes at the hen house for too long and we see what's happened. Democrats have a different approach to those agencies, and while there have been excesses and inefficiencies in the past, I believe this is a safer and healthier and more economically rational nation when those agencies are better funded and alowed to do their intended jobs instead of turned over to the very people they are supposed to regulate.

Second I think that the federal courts are a mess because of the fundamentalist approach that Republican appointees have brought to the interpretation of the Constitution. Again, there are cases where liberal judges also overstepped. But we now have a very activist conservative judiciary that would selectively super-impose the worldvieew of the 18th century on the much more diverse and complicated world of today.

In both cases -- regulation and the judiciary -- I think the effect of Republican control has been to repeal the New Deal and much of the ideas of the 20th century. While I don't disagree with some in the center that liberals were inefficient, corrupt and misguided sometimes when they had power from 1932 to 1980, I think that the backlash has gone easily too far in the opposite direction and that it's time for a corective. I think the Democratic Party, purged of Bill Clinton and the DLC in the leadership position, actually has a good chance to offer an alternative to Republicanism.

I also believe that politics is the art of the possible and holding out for the perfect version of one's abstract ideals is the product of an immature worldview. We do what we can, while we're here, to make the world better as we see it, and leave it in better shape for our kids. Personall, I don't beieve that voting for Naer in 2008 accomplishes that. But that is just my opinion. I do believe we need more parties, a healthier public discourse, and more participation. I agree that the Dems and Repubs reflect merely a sliver of the spectrum politically and I have thoughts that palamentiary style democracy might have a lot of advantages. But I still reiterate:

There are differences between the parties, and democracy is a noble ideal to continually participate in and try and overcome cynicism.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 01:47 PM
American Democracy is about more than elections. It is about freedom and we have enormous freedoms here.

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 02:59 PM
quote:
Democracy is the greatest system in the world (my opinion), but that doesnt mean it cant be improved upon.


However abandoning democracy for a socialist nanny-state is NOT an improvement however BarryO and many democrats would have you believe that it is.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 03:38 PM
"From bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance,
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency,
from complacency to apathy,
from apathy to dependency,
from dependence back into bondage."

Where is America now?



[Edited on 10/8/2008 by TanDan]

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 03:41 PM
Sounds like its time for some music!
I remember the song the first time. Ha!

MONSTER ( just in time for Halloween!!!!)
Words and music by John Kay, Jerry Edmonton, Nick St. Nicholas and Larry Byrom

Once the religious, the hunted and weary
Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new vision
Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope
Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And 'til the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end
While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and grey they stomped it
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it's share of injustice
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But it's protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it's a monster and will not obey

(Suicide)
The spirit was freedom and justice
And it's keepers seem generous and kind
It's leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won't pay it no mind
'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
And now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it's all just an echo of what they've been told
Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watchin'

Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner
We can't pay the cost
'Cause there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching

(America)
America where are you now?
Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
Don't you know we need you now
We can't fight alone against the monster


[Edited on 10/8/2008 by TanDan]

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 05:40 PM
That song stand as true today as it did 40 years ago... indeed

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 05:53 PM
quote:
quote:
Democracy is the greatest system in the world (my opinion), but that doesnt mean it cant be improved upon.


However abandoning democracy for a socialist nanny-state is NOT an improvement however BarryO and many democrats would have you believe that it is.


nationalized risk/privatized profit is also not the answer...
nor is theocracy/aristocracy an improvement




 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 06:52 PM
quote:
American Democracy is about more than elections. It is about freedom and we have enormous freedoms here.

Not as many as we used to have. And the trajectory is not in the positive direction.

As Gerald Ford said; "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." (Presidential address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974))

As more and more citizens ask for government to take care of their needs big and small, they - we - grant more and more excuses for government to limit our freedoms.

Social Security was greeted as a great benefit. Now a huge portion of the population is dependent upopn it, fearful of loosing it, or both. It's so ingrained that it's become a battle cry for big-government cadidates running for office. It's financially unsustainable, and can easily be proven to being fiscally inferior to private investment, but we're so hooked we can't see the truth. Government will have to set harsh limits and/or raise taxes much higher in the future. A strong citzenry would never permit government to control them thusly.

Ditto with Medicare - except it's running out financially far faster than SS, and is a 5x bigger problem.

Welfare via the Great Society ignored human nature in lieu of just throwing money at the problem (the American answer to everything). The result was dependency, higher crime, lower educational achievement, and shattered familes. Again, a strong citizenry would never agree to this.

The mortgage mess looks like it might morph into government direction of reconfigured loans to individual citizens. If done, no private lender will want to participate unless forced to by government, and then probably only because of the promise of taxpayer-induced profits.

The current candidates forthe big chair are talking about more and more benefits that government can bestow on the governed, like healthcare, living wages, college education, preschool education, and on


The point is that every time we permit the establishment of these programs, even those that start out benignly, we set up a future of limited free-market choices, bureaucratic control that gives us few options, results that are usually the lowest common denoninator instead of the highest, higher taxes on our labor, ever-greater fraud and mismanagement, and a long list of unintended consequences that are nearly impossible to untangle. All of this equals loss of freedom and liberties.

We already expect government to help us retire and provide healthcare during that period. Our public schools are nothing more than government institutions. We're talking about natinalizing all of healthcare. We're on the path to nationalizing housing. All we need to do is have the government buy McDonald's, Wendy's, and a few other restaurant chains and the cycle can be complete.

Yup: born in government hospitals, educated in government schools, work to pay a huge tax debt, live in government owned housing, have your ills treated in government-run hospitals, and retire on government-provided benefits.

Doesn't seem like a scenario that will permit much individual liberty to me. How about you?




[Edited on 10/8/2008 by Fujirich]

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 06:58 PM
you guys keep this stuff up you might end up living on a resevation like us NDN's then we will see who believes us then we been saying the goverment speaks with forked tounge for hundreds of years welcome to the party...

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 07:11 PM
In all honesty, I don't have blinders on when it comes to elections, or how government works. And a lot of it comes from knowing how the Native Americans were and are treated. Politicans speak with forked tongues and will say anything to get elected. I used to have no illusions that whoever gets into the white house would be able to do much anyway, until Bush, He's set some seriously dangerous precedents and people have no idea how many of our liberties have been sacrificed on the alter of fear. That being the case, I want to cast my vote for the candidate I feel less likely to continue the policies of Bush. If there can't be real change, perhaps we can slow down the present course this country is on.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 07:13 PM
quote:
He's set some seriously dangerous precedents and people have no idea how many of our liberties have been sacrificed on the alter of fear.


Which ones? And which ones have affected you?? Please be specific.

 

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  posted on 10/8/2008 at 07:17 PM
I don't think so....I'm not your trained seal.

 

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