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breeden
ursulav

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Well. Enough moping, back to work. Art waits for no angst.

So, my final statement. Since most of us are sick of politics, go ahead and skip it. It's harsh and not at all conciliatory, and keeps the partisan rift nicely bloody. You've been warned.

If you voted for Bush, I'm holding you personally responsible for every single lousy, stupid, unethical thing his administration does. The first time, sure--that came out of left field. Coulda been blindsided. No hard feelings. But you all know exactly who he is now, and you voted for him anyway. That makes you entirely morally culpable. It's your fault from here on out.

He pushes for anti-abortion laws? Your fault. He pushes for an anti-gay amendment? Your fault. He wrecks the environment by pandering to industry? Guess who's fault! He fucks up the war in Iraq even more? You get half credit for that, we need to save some for insurgencies, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of blood for everbody's hands to get a nice speckling.

Somebody at this point will doubtless say "But I'm pro-choice, too!" or something like that. Tough shit. You voted for him. People should know by now that what you believe means nothing compared to what you've DONE. If I stole something, and then tried to claim that I knew stealing was wrong, so I shouldn't be held accountable, what kind of defense is that? It may even be worse! If you believed differently, you should have acted differently.* You made your choice. Beliefs are great, but actions are real.

Now, if you're a mature adult, I imagine this really shouldn't be a problem. You'll be willing to be held accountable for your actions. I certainly am. I'll be held responsible if the people I voted for get in office and do bad things. If the governor here tries to secede from the union or ban religion or something, I'll take my lumps. I voted for him. I share the blame. That's the way it works. I voted for Nader in 2000, and he turned out to be a crazy jackass, and I share a moral culpability for having supported him. I accept that. You want to go off about what an idiot Nader is, I'll sit here and take it. I deserve every word. Hell, I'll chime in during the slow bits. I know all kinds of synonyms for "barking moonbat" and I'm willing to use 'em.

We are responsible for the actions of administrations we support. If you don't want to be responsible, don't support them.

But there's a silver lining! If Bush does something really great, I'm happy to dispense credit to y'all too. Fair is fair. He cures cancer or negotiates a working Palestinian peace accord, it's all yours. I'm bitter and angry and petty, but if he turns out to be Rushmore material, accolades will be forthcoming for all who supported him, and I'll freely admit that I was wrong.

And come on. Surely you must believe that Bush will do great things rather than stupid or dangerous things. After all, if you thought he was an idiot who'd screw things up, you surely wouldn't have voted for him in the first place! So really, you shouldn't have anything to worry about at all. As long as Bush is good for this country, you have absolutely nothing to fear at all.

And that, gang, is my last word on the subject until Bush does something stupid. Tune in next time for nothing to do with politics whatsoever.



*Not neccessarily voting Kerry, mind you, there are lots of moral issues there that I can easily see people disagreeing with, but there's a handy write-in slot too. The options were limitless. What you chose binds you.


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As long as Bush is good for this country, you have absolutely nothing to fear at all.

The problem is that what you think is good for this country, and what I think is good for this country, is not what the people who voted for Bush think is good for this country. The things that you listed are topics on which the people who voted for him apparently agree with him, and therein lies the basic problem in America. I'm not sure I ever really believed that there were two Americas, previous to this last election, but I'm starting to think there are. There's the America you and I want to live in, and there's the America that Bush supporters want to live in, and they are just not the same place.

I mean, not that I'm disagreeing with you. I hold people who voted for Bush personally responsible for any of the stupid shit that happens in the next four years, too. But I just don't think they'll see it as stupid shit the way you and I do.

And so this is where I'm beginning to wonder. We manage to continue to function as a socity, despite this split right down the center of us, half for Liberal America and half for Conservative America. I would far rather live in a country where that split is allowed to exist than is not, but at the same time, I don't know. Maybe I'd be happier in a country that had more of the same beliefs I do--like nationalized health care, extensive social services, well-funded schools... I mean, I know I'm a socialist. I used to think that America was bound to move to a more socialist viewpoint. I'm not so sure of that anymore, and... I don't know. When forward motion in what I consider the right direction can be reversed so shockingly by changes in administration, I find that I have to start asking myself if this is where I really want to be.

I think I'm all worn out again now. Drat.

I know exactly what you mean about the polarized divide, which really sucks when you find yourself torn right in the middle of it. I consider myself a Moderate--not specifically Conservative, not specifically Liberal, but with a mix of views that tend to be featured by both sides. I'm pro-gay rights and gay marriage but anti-abortion. I'm for the privatizing of social security but against faith-based initiatives that get religion and state way too close together. I support removing "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegience, "In God We Trust" from currency, and the Ten Commandments from courtrooms (even though I myself am Christian), but also support the right to bar arms and oppose excessive gun control. Neither party--and thus, neither side of the Great Divide--represents me or the nation I want to live in. And it bloody sucks.

Everyone obviously knows who I voted for, but don't get me wrong--I still think Bush is bastard. I just thought Kerry was a bigger one is all. Either way, I wouldn't be supporting the kind of nation I wanted to live in--and that's the drawback of our deeply ingrained two-party system. It's either/or, and any other option effectively doesn't count. At least, it doesn't until enough people start voting that way, which may be what I'll do next time around. The attitude of "a vote for an independant candidate is a voted watsed" is what keeps the two-party system in power, and I have to shake *myself* free of that attitude. We're going to have to get some other parties in viable play or this country will likely tear itself right down the middle with the polarization. This kind of divide can't last peacefully for long. :-(

--Jennifer

I really am a liberal, to the point, as I said, of actually being a socialist. And I can live with people being anti-abortion, but only in so far as they practice that stance on themselves and not me. I don't know beans about you other than the two posts of yours I've just read on Ursula's journal, but you don't seem to me to be one of the people who is so far across the line on the other side that I couldn't *talk* to you without both of our heads spinning around in the whole Exorcism way.

Our system, for good or for ill, is set up as a two party system. I think it would take as much of a fundamental change in our way of thinking and acting to create a viable third (or fourth) party as it would to have everybody come over to my way of thinking, or to have everybody go over to Bush's way of thinking. I honestly and truly believed that this last election would be revolutionary. The fact that it has not proven to be so is...sort of revolutionary to me. It's...

...see, I don't believe the country is going to tear itself apart, because generally people who are fat and happy do not revolt. The fact that Bush won this election suggests to me that there are more people still fat and happy than not; I think had they not been, they'd have come out for Kerry. Because they didn't, the only thing I can deduce is that for more than a hundred million Americans, their lives are good enough to keep living the way they're doing. That is not the attitude of a people who are going to revolt. If a quarter of the potential U.S. voting population is all that feels strongly enough about the administration to cast a vote about it, that's just not the number needed to change the world, as it were.

On the other hand, revolutions are led by the few. They are not massive organizations. So I don't know. I don't know if the country can survive the divide, but I suspect that we've been surviving it for a little more than two centuries, at this point. I think my real question is, can *I* survive the divide, and if not, how am I going to choose to deal with that?

(On a completely different note, I love your icon.)

Actually, I think this country is ripe for a change in the two party system, and this election is case in point--virtually *no one* was happy with either of the two candidates, but they voted one or the other only because those were the only two viable options. If there had been Libertarian, Green, and other party canidates running alongside Bush and Kerry who actually had a real shot at winning, large numbers of people would have voted for one of them instead of Bush or Kerry. We might have a President now who was neither republican nor Democrat.

But the two party system forces people who are, in themselves, not so extreme to vote in an extreme direction, because there are only two ways to vote that will actually "count" for anything. The two party system doesn't really represent the people of this country anymore because the people of this country are much more diverse than in the past, and there are entire groups--probably the majority of the country--who fall somewhere smack dab in the middle of the party line. But they don't vote for independant candidates because the two party system has become so ingrained that we now assume that a vote not for the Republican or Democrat is wasted because everyone will vote for one of those two. But if enough people started voting for those other parties, those other parties would start to have a real chance in elections, and then the rest of the populace who had been reluctant to vote outside the two parties for fear of a wasted vote will start to join in once they think their vote might actually count. It's just a matter of getting enough people to break away from the two parties and take a chance voting on an independant, and that lies not in getting people to agree with those candidates--huge numbers already do--but in getting people to see those candidates as real options for the Presidency.

I dunno, maybe that kind of change in thought is a major revolution in itself and I'm just oversimplifying it. :-(

And thanks about the icon! :-D

--Jennifer

The problem with your thinking is that the country has been ripe for a change in the two party system for about 50 years, and maybe more. This is far from the first time that no one was really happy with either candidate but still didn't vote for anyone else out of fear of a wasted vote. The fact that more than half the population like neither party enough to say it speaks for them even enough to vote at all tells us that. Of nations that have genuine elections, we have consistently had some of the worst voter turn-out in the world. And the fact that "so many" people voted this time, and it was still less than half the population, says something all by itself.

The above point about revolutions not happening when the people are fat and happy is true. the former part is more important than the latter, though. People don't have to be happy to endure an unpleasant situation. They just have to have the basic necessities, and be afraid that resistence will take those away. Which is why there was no revolt in Iraq until we got there. Because for all his evil policies, most of Saddam's people had food, water, clothes, and a roof over their heads. Now, an ever-increasing number of them have none of those things, so they have nothing left to lose. So they revolt.

The only thing I find remarkable is that we have an enormous nationwide poor and homeless population, and its been that way for a long time, and yet there is no sign of a serious revolt anywhere. I guess we, as a nation, do just enough along the lines of maintaining those people on a bare subsistence level to prevent it. Yay us. As a nation, we've mastered the trick of keeping our social undesirables both downtrodden and unwilling to fight their situation for more than a century. There's something to be proud of, huh?

Actually, I think this country is ripe for a change in the two party system...I dunno, maybe that kind of change in thought is a major revolution in itself and I'm just oversimplifying it. :-(

That kind of change in thought *is* a major revolution in itself, and it's one that, as taellosse says, has been brewing a long time. But change comes slow and hard if it comes at all, and whether we like it or not, we're set up as a two-party system. Even worse, we're a two party system and a full half of the potential voting population of America doesn't bother to vote. At best, with a two party system, we're getting representation as selected by a quarter of the potential voting population. A viable third party would do one of two things--it'd either bring out those people who don't even register to vote, much less do it, or it'd simply split the popular vote down to ever-smaller portions, and I suspect the latter rather than the former. I'm honestly not sure we can move to a multiple-party system from where we are right now.

Democracy: the worst form of government, except for all the others.

And I can live with people being anti-abortion, but only in so far as they practice that stance on themselves and not me.

I've never understood why Loony Christians want to save the lives of heathen liberal babies anyway...

*laugh* It's the souls that can be saved, I think... :)

"but also support the right to bar arms and oppose excessive gun control"

What do you mean by this
I personally am reading this as
Hey we are allowed to bear arms but i don't think jo shmo really needs an AK47 assult rifle. Which i agree with

wow other than our stance on abortion (which i personally am not for myself but i feel i do not have the right to take away others choises)
we have a pretty close opinion

remember that if i run for pres

If you run, I may have just figured out how to solve my voting dilemma in '08. :-)

--Jennifer

This is all due to the great size and diversity of the people, as well as lack of a cultural grounding and a national unity. However, in any country with "popular sovereignty" there will always be splits, and these splits will matter, as opposed to a totalitarian government, where people really are for us or against us. If a government of about three people with a lot of sense could be devised - or perhaps a supercomputer one, this would be the closest to utopian government we could go. Eh, what can you do? Humans will be humans.

...good, someone else said it so I don't have to.

For most people, it's not that they deny accountability for their elected officials' actions. It's that they have different standards by which they judge those actions. And if you yell at them about accountability for Bush's misdeeds, they'll mark you down as a wingnut because, what misdeeds?

Better to directly address their morality and the basis for it, and explain your own. That's really the only way to have any hope of closing the divide, or attaining/retaining mutual respect.

The problem is that what you think is good for this country, and what I think is good for this country, is not what the people who voted for Bush think is good for this country....There's the America you and I want to live in, and there's the America that Bush supporters want to live in, and they are just not the same place.

That's one of the truest statements about the nature of this election that I've read on LJ.

But I don't think it's hopeless - a lot of people who voted for Bush were confused about where he stood on the issues. There are ignorant people, and there are moderate people stuck in the middle who are pushed one way or another by their stance on one issue or another. The far left and far right might never be reconciled, but the people in the middle, well. And you only need a majority of them to make American into *your* vision - no one's ever going to be completely satisfied. But you need to get to a place in politics where each side, while opposed, is not convinced that the other will lead to the country's destruction.

My sympathy for ignorance and confusion has dropped markedly the last few days. I mean, it was never particularly high to begin with, but it's really dropped sharply. The truth--yes, my truth, but also the truth that, oh, for example, Saddam Hussein was not responsible for September 11th--is not difficult to obtain. It requires a willingness or an ability to look beyond the end of your own nose; it requires a willingness to think for yourself and to not swallow the codswallop offered to you on television. It requires that people rise above their fear and use the brains that they presumably believe God provided them with.

BushCo panders to their fear; I understand that. They run campaigns on emotion, not intellect, and it is to their advantage that the people do not think. It is to their advantage that the people take what the President says as truth, on faith, and do not explore that further. Faith cannot be proven or disproven; that's what makes it faith. But I don't believe our country should be run on faith, and I no longer have any sympathy at all for people who do. They've elected a president who I find to be genuinely horrifying, whose acts are openly criminal, and I no longer believe ignorance is any kind of excuse.

The question of moderation is perhaps a more difficult one. The two-party system does leave an awful lot of people polarized and stuck with the candidate that most represents them, even if they don't agree with all their stances. The idea, of course, is that typically we'll have a president of one party and a congress of the other, and the checks and balances system will keep the country in the middle ground that most people find bearable. Now that we have a Republican president *and* congress, yeah, I'm afraid. I'm not afraid that America will be destroyed. I'm afraid that the America I want to live in will be destroyed.

But to tell the truth, today I'm not so sure it hasn't already been. This election is making me question some of the things I thought were fundamentally true about this country, and I'm wondering if I was wrong.

Ursula, if you want us to stop the political discourse in your comments, let us know and we can move over to my LJ or something. :)

Oh, hey - I'm not disagreeing with you. I think the fact that people don't know or don't get that voting for Bush is a bad idea is pretty shocking, and says terrible things about America. But on the other hand I'd rather believe that there are some ignorant people and some moderates, than believe that everyone is part of this violently right-wing movement which can't be stopped because they can't listen.

I can understand having no sympathy for ignorance, but what are you going to do? Rant? Rage? Leave them all to suffer? Bad news is, you suffer too, and sometimes when you're suffering they'll be benefitting. *shrug* It's okay to be angry...just not very helpful. And I realize that helpfulness is not the point of anger, so, you can be as angry with them as you like, really.

In the end what you want is a system in which the two parties are opposed but aren't so afraid of each other that they think the other will destroy the country. Bush voters seem to be afraid that if they allow things like gay marriage, that will destroy the country. Kerry voters think that Bush will destroy the country. I'm not saying I disagree with you here; I'm a liberal, I think that Bush is very very dangerous. This just isn't the kind of political climate that you want - everyone so afraid, and nobody listening to each other.

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