Thursday, November 17, 2005
Telling It Like It Is
In The Paris Riots And American Politics: Which Is The Hotter Fire?, we posited that positive participation in society is what built and grew this nation, and that we are seeing less and less of that nowadays. We also said that it is clear that the needs of the individual have trumped the needs of the community. The community owes the individual- and the individual owes nothing back. In fact, in the topsy turvey world we live in, the individual is expected to demand from society, so that he or she might be recognized or fulfilled.We are letting ourselves be dominated by the partisan and political interests. Well, this is a democratic country, but that doesn't mean it has to be a foolish one. First we should take care of the general welfare, and then we can worry about taking care of specific needs.
Democratic voters don't want to end up in a situation in which we have to choose whether to educate our children or let Granny die. Republican voters don't want to end up in that situation either. If there is one screamingly obvious fact, it is that the mechanics of federal politics have not served the nation well in the last few decades. Politicians at the federal level have failed to grapple with the basics even while they have staged gripping melodramas centered around less important issues.
We are like a family squabbling about whether the heat in the car should be turned up or down, even while the car is careening off the highway and straight toward the cliff.
No reasonable person who understands what is happening is happy with our current political setup. Carl isn't. Howard is in a state of snarling wrath with both parties. The Anchoress is correctly pointing out that the press is a major factor in the problem. Pedro dislikes the ridiculous attempt to spin every event and refuse to examine any individual issue, and he is whacks away at both sides. Minh-Duc is worried about our fiscal irresponsibility and calls for classic liberalism internationally. Our politicians with character are unhappy as well. If you will read the USA Today article about fiscal concerns, you will see that politicians from both sides of the fence are extremely concerned and trying to address matters.
I have deliberately left those on the left off the list above because those on the right can easily see their dissatisfaction as arising from being out of power. But there is plenty to be concerned about in our national life no matter where on the political spectrum you stand. We are not acting responsibly. We need to concentrate on politicians who will act responsibly, and let them know that if they don't they are gone.
At this point, I can't quite fathom people who aren't independent voters.
Bellum civile 1 (Civil War in Paris) :
Bellum civile 2 (Civil War in France) :
Le temps des kaïra (Time of the "Kaira":
Notre société a généré un monstre (The monster inside) :
Bellum civile 3 (Martial Law in France) :
You're correct that I'm unhappy. But I've not become an "independent" voter, if I understand how you use the term.
1) I'm not saying I vote the straight-party ticket every time; I still evaluate candidates individually. But the "which Democrat could I support" debate long-ago morphed into little more than a parlor game, extinguished for now upon the death of Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
2) I'm not saying I support everything favored by the Republican Party or the Bush Administration--and I'm still miffed that opposing Harriet Miers branded me disloyal or ungrateful to some. But I still agree with more Republican platform planks than I oppose. Sure I wish the party was more principled at times--but the Dems are unprincipled nearly always. See, e.g., "Roberts and Alito aren't appropriate because they're male/won't invent non-existent text/might not reach conclusions I would." See also "I supported the war before I was against it." But Hugh Hewitt is right that politics necessitates coalitions and compromise.
3. I don't seek elimination of Democrats. I favor consensus. But lately it's the Ds, way more than the Rs, who see the apocalypse and denounce compromise. See, e.g., "Fixing Social Security." Compare "Bush = Hitler" with "Clinton abused the power of the Presidency."
4. America's first-past-the-post Senatorial and Congressional elections (and, to a lesser extent, the Electoral College) effectively rule out third parties. One can P&M forever, but that won't change the process or the outcome. And remember that Ken Arrow won a Nobel for proving that no single system of voting would necessarily be "more fair" under all circumstances.
5. Like you, I believe people are genuine and well intentioned. I make no claim to be better able to make their decisions. Thus, so long as we preserve the First Amendment and periodic elections, I'm optimistic.
Links to this post: