It's the same in any lingo

בַּת-בָּבֶל, הַשְּׁדוּדָה: אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ-- אֶת-גְּמוּלֵךְ, שֶׁגָּמַלְתּ לָנוּ
אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת-עֹלָלַיִךְ-- אֶל-הַסָּלַע


How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when? ~ Rav Hillel, Pirke Avot

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes
Wear It With Pride

22 November 2008

On Life, The Universe, and Everything

Warning: This is a rambling, stream of consciousness. If anything I say here offends you that’s too bad. Deal with it.

What is the matter with Americans? Why is it that people are thinking themselves into boxes? I know a lot of people, including myself, are still reeling from the completeness of the DNC/Pampers coup of 2008. I didn’t think that Howard Dean and Donna Brazile were smart enough to pull it off. They weren’t of course. They had a lot of help. What doesn’t surprise me is their willingness to sacrifice anything resembling democratic process, anything remotely indicating an honoring of the social contract between the government and the governed. Politicians have been screwing us for generations. There is nothing new under the sun.

But what I find astounding is the perspective from which people seem to be operating now. I figured that now, surely now, people had woken up and realized that, as things stand, they have no recourse to power. But still people are operating as if government must respond to them. I read comments on various blogs about how centrists should move to the Republican Party and shift it. I see people who still believe that there is hope for the Democrat Party. To me it seems obvious that if both parties are demonstrably corrupt it is incumbent upon anyone who rejects that poison to leave their party and not support it. Join us here in the lagoon of the Unaffiliated, and accept a few unavoidable truths.

1. The federal government is now operating with not a care as to the opinions of The People. They are no longer even beholden to our votes. If numbers don’t look good Democrats have ACORN to pump up the votes. Republicans have their own fraud machine, which is apparently only willing to go to work for candidates that fit their ideological preference.
2. Politicians in office have one purpose; to maintain power for their party—NOT FOR YOU.
3. The federal government is operating outside the Constitution; they have gotten away with this because you are letting them and now, in their unmitigated hubris, they are taking liberties with your rights (this is being done by both parties so leave the partisan acrimony at home please).

This being the case, what do we do? How do we initiate the paradigm shift that must take place in order to change this? In order to answer this we must look at the sources of the problem. The way I see it, there are two main culprits: Partisanship, and External Financial Interests.

I have already established that elected officials are more beholden to their parties than they are to their constituents. If that weren’t true we’d all be happy with our government and we’d all be making love in the streets. Instead, we have been as divided along party lines as the politicians. Why, because they want it that way. Using ideology as a lever, whether the issue is gay marriage, abortion, war, or the price of arugula, there is always a way for parties to keep us divided; or at least think we are divided. Democrats use the threat of the overturning of Roe v Wade. Republicans use the threat of gays destroying the institution of marriage and running amok converting our children with their Gay Ray. And every four years, like mindless Pavlovian dogs, Americans fall for these memes again and again (here’s to the women of PUMA who finally said screw you). What neither party wants you to understand is that there is more common ground between “liberals” and “conservatives” than you think.

Clinton Democrats, particularly women and LGBTs (the ones who were paying attention) realized some very hard truths this year. The Democrat Party doesn’t give a damn about women’s rights, about gay rights, about democracy, about the Constitution. They are realizing that they are more patriotic than they understood. They have begun to realize just how dissatisfied they are with how they are being served. They are angry, and rightfully so. Some are even starting to realize that they have been replaced by ACORN’s fraudulent voter rolls and are no longer listened to, as they are no longer needed. There is no reforming the Democrat Party from within. The partisans don’t care who they crap on: AS LONG AS THEY WIN.

What do these Democrats have in common with many Republicans? Love of country, respect for the Constitution, the desire to see government work for the interests of the people, instead of getting in their way and violating their rights. These two sides need to find one more common thread: the realization that being affiliated with corrupt political parties that are only interested in gaining and maintaining power for their own benefit does not help the country, does not provide a path of Liberty, and does not promote the protection of our rights.

There has been a proposal I have seen offered by voters in the Clinton wing of the Democrat Party called the 30% solution. It is my understanding that proponents of this theory believe that swelling the number of women in elected office to 30% will create a tipping point that will help bring an end to sexism and misogyny in government, political parties, and perhaps the media. I agree that we need a stronger female presence in government, particularly when, more than half this country is populated by women. What I want to know is, what is the point of putting more women in office if, they are sent by a party that is inherently sexist, corrupt, broken, and unresponsive to the needs of the voters, regardless of their gender? On the current playing field we must assume that these women will fall into the same partisan traps that all our elected officials do, being beholden to their party before the people. I saw women that I fought with in the primaries, feminists who were furious with the sexism of the Pampers campaign, turn right around and work for him to get elected. Partisans are partisans. There is nothing happening on the horizon to make me feel that this will change.  In conversing with fellow activists, including Logistics Monster's Diamond Tiger, I believe we need a new tipping point. We need a 50% solution.

Currently, statistics show that approximately 30% of registered voters are Unaffiliated. Some of them lean to the right, some to the left. Why is it that there are this many people in the American electorate who are not members of either major party? I think it’s safe to say that it is because of the reasons I have stated above; and the numbers of us here in the Lagoon of the Unaffiliated seem to be growing with each passing election cycle. It is no wonder then that the Democrat Party, in conjunction with the Pampers campaign, unleashed such a widespread campaign of voter registration fraud; they must no longer have the numbers to win elections based on their legitimate voter rolls.

What do you suppose would happen if the American electorate, over the next two to four years, shifted from 30% unaffiliated to 50%? Suddenly both parties would actually give a damn about what the people think, what they want, where they want the country to go. Suddenly the levers of Roe v Wade, Reproduction, Gayness, etc would no longer matter. Both parties would be forced to ideologically disarm, and for once have a national discourse on policy.  And program's like the 30% solution would have a greater chance of succeeding in America like it has abroad.

But it is not simply enough for us to disaffiliate. We must also evaluate ourselves, see where we are politically; what we want for our country; what we want from our government. If you feel your party is broken, your government is working against your interests, and your liberties are being violated then you are not alone. The question is, are you willing to abandon your personal ideology to work with others who may not have the same politics as you, in order to get our political parties, and the federal government, to once again be beholden to We The People, and the Constitution? If you have answered yes then you should think about leaving your party, and let the conversation begin.

I’ll go first.

I see myself as a left leaning centrist. I believe in fiscal conservatism. I think deficit spending cripples our economy and makes us beholden to foreign financial interests that, more often than not, do not have our best interests at heart. I believe government should be interfering in our lives as little as possible, and should be doing its utmost to fulfill its primary mission; provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and establish justice and domestic tranquility. In other words, insure our Safety and Happiness and maintain a republic that does not impinge on our unalienable rights, while protecting the rights of the minority.

I believe that the Equal Protections Clause applies to everyone, regardless of skin color, gender, religion, age, or sexual orientation.

I believe that if we possess the indefeasible right to Life, then we possess the same indefeasible right to access to quality, affordable healthcare.

I believe that if you are capable of working, but are on welfare, you should learn a trade and work. If you can’t afford that training then let’s find the funds to pay for it.  If someone has a child and needs help paying for childcare so they can work, then they should get tax credits to defray those costs.  I'm not sure what the conservative approach is...should these people be made into soylent green?

I believe in the social safety net.

I believe that the struggle for women’s rights, gay rights, children’s rights, indigenous rights, and racial equality are the same struggle and must be engaged as such. Is this not what Senator Clinton said in Beijing in 1995, and again in Washington, D.C. in June 2008?

I want one person to have one vote.

I believe that our representatives in Congress should not be sitting in their chairs as career politicians. They are there to represent our voice, act on our will, tempering that by making sure that minority voices are also represented so that the majority isn’t ruling by fiat. I also expect our elected officials, and federal justices, to operate within the confines of the Constitution, not running amok taking money from landed financial interests and sacrificing us on their altar of power and greed, violating our rights because it suits their agendas.

I believe that life begins at conception, and do not support abortion as a method of birth control. But I do not have a uterus. I believe a woman has an indefeasible right to make choices that affect her life. If they choose to carry their child to term that is their right. If they feel they must (I refrain from using the word "want" as I don't think anyone wakes up and says, "I want to get an abortion today!"  But I could be wrong) abort their pregnancy, or the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s health, who am I to say, “Sorry lady you have to do what I tell you?” That’s ludicrous. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do with my sperm either.

I believe that decisions of morality have no place in politics. A person’s liberty ends where another’s begins. Whether someone gets an abortion, decides to have a child out of wedlock, be in a relationship with someone of the same sex is of no consequence to anyone else. You may not like that people have abortions, or that guys are having sex with guys and girls are having sex with girls, or women are having children when they aren’t married; guess what? As long as no one is making you do it, as long as it’s not impinging on your right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, it’s none of your fucking business. Trying to get government to do something about it is an attempt to abridge the liberties of others. From where I stand, attempting to get government to interfere in such issues is unconstitutional.

I believe that companies that pollute my air, land, and water, are violating my unalienable rights. If corporations pollute our environment then the federal government must take action to stop it. If I have a god given right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, then I also have a right to clean air, land, and water, as they are an integral part of the aforementioned rights. If a corporation manufactures a product that produces toxic substances as a by-product, they can decimate the land they own all they want. But if those toxins invade the air, land, and water beyond their property line then we have a problem.

I believe that the United States’ continuing genocidal policies regarding the country’s indigenous people is a continuing stain on our society that must be stopped.

I believe that we must take action to insure the security of our nation, but not at the expense of our civil liberties. If our security agencies cannot accomplish this with the technology available, and a bureaucracy cannot be streamlined to issue warrants for tapping phones or enacting searches and seizures, then we have a problem; it called being set on stupid.

I believe that our foreign policy’s central objective should be peace and universal human rights. If we are attacked, we have the right to defend ourselves. If our allies are attacked we should come to their defense. If a regime is committing acts of genocide then the world community should intervene to end it.

I believe that John was the Egg Man, and Paul was the Walrus. I believe that if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, it still makes a sound. I believe Looney Tunes kick Disney’s ass. I believe the Who kicks Zeppelin’s ass. I believe people should be making love more and arguing less.

I believe that regardless of what I believe, you have the right to believe in what you want, and do what you want to do, as long as you don’t infringe the rights of others.

If you think our government is as broken as I do then start thinking about what we’re going to do about it. I say we break the power of the political parties first.

Disaffiliate.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I say "Right On!" Thanks for the rant. I love it, and I agree. Now, what is the solution again? I have read The Tipping Point, and am anxiously awaiting the confluence at Riverdaugher's to toss some thoughts around.

lililam said...

Hi, Shtuey. That was a wonderful exercise in expression and hope it led to some degree of exorcism of a lot of crap. Anyway, I can hardly argue with anything you have said, nor would I want to as I see what your preference is regarding argumentation and its alternative. I am just wondering how we can unaffiliate in an organized fashion (kind of an oxymoron). I do feel that more and more will unaffiliate, both those of us who have been disenfranchised as well as many out there who have a gut level disgust for partisanship. I think it will happen, but this force will hopefully be able to be channeled in some way that transcends apathy.

libbygurl said...

Superb essay, Shtuey! You make a strong case for your 50% solution of Unaffiliateds - makes more sense than the 30% women-in-office solution that has an inherent weakness that you point out in this piece. Thank you so much for bringing a new perspective to what we have learned in this election cycle - totally agree with you on those hard, painful truths you mention. Hope you don't mind that I've cross-posted this at my home forum (in a part of the forum available only to members, tho') to get the word out to others of like mind.

Shtuey said...

lililam, you are absolutely right in your assertion that unaffiliated voters need to find a way to coalesce as a voting block. We fall on diverse places on the political spectrum, but we may share a lot of common ground. We need to define it and use it as a launch pad for creating a new coalition that could be used to achieve the reform of our parties, and government.

libbygurl, I think it is essential for there to be more women elected, but I believe we need to curb the partisanship for the 30% solution to really work. Feel free to cross post with attribution.

libbygurl said...

Oh, yes, Shtuey, no worries - the cross-post was properly attributed. I posted a few paragraphs and then a link to this essay. Looks like many people share those same thoughts and feelings you've expressed here. At least one is now re-thinking her continued party affiliation and considering becoming Indy, thanks to your essay. I do agree the partisanship is convenient for the two parties to keep their members in line, and the Dems have proven without a doubt that they can be just as corrupt, craven as the Repubs - and worse!

Great, great piece! Thanks once again!

madamab said...

Shtuey - as the author of the original 30% Solution post, I must point out a fallacy in your argument.

The 30% Solution works regardless of party affiliation. It is scientifically proven to do so. Here are two studies that prove it.

WEDO Study

UN Study

I don't disagree that we need to be focusing on non-partisan solutions. However, your assertion that the 30% Solution is partisan is factually incorrect.

Shtuey said...

Thank you for the studies madamab, I look forward to reading them. I think you misunderstood though. I'm not asserting that the 30% solution is partisan. What I worry about is that though we may increase the number of women in Congress, if these women then engage in the same partisan games, forsaking stances important to women to support party driven stances, or sexist candidates, as we saw this past year, we may just end up in the same place, only with more women in Congress.

I don't see the 30% solution as partisan however.

Please keep the dialogue going here as I would like to know more about this, as would OMV readers.

Thanks for coming by!

catsden said...

I have been a registered Independent voter for many years. For most of those years, I thought I was presented with two choices (not just for president but all the way down to city council members: worse or worst). This year I was clearly a NO WAY voter. I believe that now is the time for us to work together to free us of "no taxation without representation" again. Let this be a rebellion of ideas shared by those who value citizenship in a strong and free Republic - the U.S.A.

Shtuey said...

Amen catsden!

nomobama said...

This is a well written article, Shtuey.

I understand the reasons why people might opt for disaffiliation, but I wonder why a strong third party is not being proposed? By disaffiliating, we wouldn't have any say in the selection of a candidate, nor would we have any say on important issues being discussed as part of the party platform.

Yes, if the parties eventually find that they represent less than 50% of the total registered voters, then they might craft some policies that entice unaffiliated voters to join them, but who is to say that they will not go back to ignoring their party membership once they are successful at being elected?

In my opinion, a viable third party would preserve our means of providing input to our party's platform, allow us to select the most qualified candidate to run under our party banner, and the ability to hold the party's leaders accountable for their actions.

We need to control the party, not have the party control us as has been the case for far too long. If the party has outgrown its usefulness, then a new party needs to take its place. The new party should be less ideological, and more conciliatory while remembering that you can't please everyone all of the time.

It would be wonderful to have a genuine centrist party that takes an honest look at what is best for the country, not what is best for the party or the people beholden to the party. I would be happy benefiting from some of what I desire in policy rather than nothing at all.

I find nothing wrong with political compromise as I realize that no one group is 100% right on everything. I am more than willing to evaluate other's ideas and beliefs. I have been known to change my own beliefs when someone has convinced me to do so by providing me with logical reasons to do so. A new party that is flexible enough to craft policies that address the majority of American's concerns without trampling on our rights is the party to which I would like to belong.

I am currently a registered Democrat who originally felt that I would disaffiliate from the party if Obama won. I haven't done so yet because of my concerns about having no say whatsoever. Realistically, as things seem to stand today, I don't seem to have a say anyway. But I need something to belong to other than being considered disaffiliated. What does being disaffiliated offer me other than a feeling of freedom from a party that I don't recognize or respect anymore?

caffinequeen said...

Great post as always! I so agree that we need to do something to wake up the parties to the fact that we are not going to be led by the nose anymore.

I support the 30% solution but I think your 50% solution is also a solution I can live with. How about 50% with half or more being women? That would serve both and probably give us more accountability all around.

I'm going to cross post and link to this at my blog too as I think it needs to be seriously considered by all voters.

I've been struggling with what to do as well. Stay a dem? Join the Repubs? I think what you propose would be a more workable and influential way to go.

Thanks for putting it in perspective for me! Happy Thanksgiving too!

CQ

Shtuey said...

At this point I want to clear up any misconceptions that I am not in support of the 30% solution as it pertains to placing more women in Congress. Let's see it applied at state and local levels as well. After reading the study posted by madamab I have a clearer understanding of the principle. If it can be effected here I hope that it produces results. More egalitarian representation in government is better for all of us.

On the formation of a third party; I don't rule that out as an option, but if it is going to happen at all than I believe it begins with disaffiliation. In the Lagoon of the Unaffiliated we can begin a dialogue of voters from across the spectrum, find common ground (and there is a lot of it), and see what happens. A third party could result, possibly not. But one thing is certain, if we can cause both parties to ideologically disarm with a 50% solution, that is an enormous step in breaking the partisanship in government, and curing both parties of the cancers with which they are both infected. We are not going to get results overnight. This is a long term process. The interests we are dealing with are well entrenched, and represent a lot of dollars.

If we are working to form our own power structures, institutions and voting blocks/coalitions, we can accomplish much. It is all going to depend on whether we ourselves can put our ideologies and egos aside to do the work that really needs to be done.

caffinequeen said...

A 3rd party sounds ggood on one hand but my fear is that it would eventually lead to the same 'ol partisanship only with a newer and different party.

You know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? I can think of lots of things that started out as great ideas and did much good before eventually they eroded into bloated, ineffective or worse counter effective anchors that drug down the entire original purpose.

For instance unions started out defending and protecting workers from uncaring and exploitive bosses. Now they have served to make wages higher and productivity lower not to mention productivity is actually discouraged in many cases. They are pricing themselves out of the market.

Maybe I'm just too shell shocked to think clearly on this. I still think the idea behind the 50% is strong because with no expected (read: demanded) party loyalty candidates would actually have to work and beg for our votes and therefore give a shit what we want.

Think of it this way the ideal of communes was basicly good, ie: everyone would share in work, responsibilties and the benefits but the reality of it is far from the ideal behind it. Good intentions indeed.

CQ