1. pollchecker

    Perhaps the answer to my initial question about trusting government is that people in general don’t trust gov’t and are looking for an alternative outside gov’t to provide solutions for thier lives and their future.

    Perhaps we (figuratively speaking that is), as a people, have given up on gov’t to accomplish anything. Therefore we, as a people, are less inclined to believe that any effort made, even just voting, is really rellevant to the overall scheme of things. Therefore it doesn’t matter if we pay attention. It doesn’t matter if we vote. It doesn’t matter whether we hold politicians to the same standards that our butts are held to.

    Today’s problems with the gov’t are very similar to those facing our forefathers in 1776. Except in those days, men dared to believe that they could be masters of their own destiny. These days, people just shrug their shoulders, and bend over and take whatever detiny decides to stick to them.

    The problem with that is that other people suffer in the process which explains why we have so many discontented folks around here (vbg).

  2. JoyfulC

    Actually, I live in Canada, but I’m American. I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone stop working to the point that they stop eating — but rather that, in families, they reevaluate their lifestyles such that they achieve a higher standard of living while making/spending less money and paying less in taxes.

    Don’t think it can be done? My family has done it — and we’re living better than we ever have before. We’re eating much better now that we buy whole produce and meats, as opposed to buying preprocessed food and take-out/fast/restaurant foods. And guess what — we have the time to make things more special now than we ever had before. Our homelife is better too, now that we’re not trying to squeeze it in around two people working. Now that we’re doing more of the work that goes in to getting us by from day-to-day ourselves, we find we’re paying out a lot less (parking, dry cleaning, gas, clothing, etc.) and so a lot of the pressure is off. We never had it so good.

    But at the same time, we’re contributing less to taxes, less to corporate productivity, and less to corporate profits. It’s just a matter of realigning one’s values. Are you going to let the boob-tube tell you how to define your quality of life? Or are you going to define it yourself? Can you tear yourself away from shopping long enough to join the revolution?

  3. JoyfulC

    Right now, perhaps one of the most relevant things we can do is reduce the amount of money we’re spending, as families and individuals. Cut back our fuel consumption to the bare minimum. And for families that can afford to do it, get one member out of the employed class — keep them at home where their efforts will improve the quality of the family’s life without generating profit for the company or taxes for the government.

    One of the most effective forms of revolution we can apply right now is cut right back on spending money and paying taxes. Starve the bastards out.

    It really wouldn’t take a lot. Why do you think so many candidates are trying to sell us on a “fair tax” or, in other words, consumption tax instead of an income tax? With income taxes, it’s in the government’s best interest to keep as many people gainfully employed as possible. A consumption tax is a much more effective way of collecting taxes during a depression because all you have to do is keep people eating.

    I’m all for voting when you think there’s a candidate that you believe in. But I fear our system doesn’t allow for that anymore. Most people vote for the lesser evil. For sure, vote. For sure, hold the elected accountable. But to give real kick to the revolution, stop spending and maybe even stop earning as much. Starve ’em out.

  4. almandine

    I’m in awe………….

    First, should I decide to stop working, stopping eating will soon follow. Second, what’s wrong with profit in a capitalistic system? (I know your Canadian… which, by the way, makes your post even more curious.) Third, taxes are necessary to support the legitimate role of government. Fourth, income taxes account for only about 1/3 of the total federal taxes collected in the US. Thus, the high rollers who already have made theirs won’t be bothered in their swank villas or while driving their fancy cars by my willingness to shrivel my life. And even if I would, that gesture would siphon only one drop from the bucket.

    Setting all that aside, however, I’m having a hard time with the validity of your basic premise.

  5. almandine

    As in another thread we generally agree… but voting is by far not the single most important action one can make. The power of persuasion is a much greater tool than is a single vote. Building coalitions matters more.

    And regarding those non-voters who suddenly wake up, would the percentage of votes cast per candidate be different? Who can say? Maybe they feel they don’t have to vote cause it’s all going their way.

    I’m pretty sure those of us who are unhappy with the course of things are just not working hard enough.

    Notice all those action words…

  6. pollchecker

    “Campaign, run for office, write letters to whatever local rag that affects one’s immediate political environment, etc. ”

    Perhaps I should rephrase: voting is the single most important duty the average person can contribute to this republic. And yes, for now, it is still a republic.

    The things you mention above are great actions but they have little effect on the overall picture.

    Perhaps some people view voting the same way. But I believe if the people who routinely don’t vote, actually paid attention and participated in the process (instead of sitting on their laurels complaining about the state of things) we would have a different outcome thus a different govt., thus a different fate.

  7. almandine

    Hey checker… voting isn’t ALL that ONE can do. Campaign, run for office, write letters to whatever local rag that affects one’s immediate political environment, etc. Broaden the attack as much as possible. Squeaky wheel gets the grease? It’s true… people don’t vote, don’t get involved, don’t have confidence, and KNOW they’re being fed BS by the self-serving ones they’ve allowed to corrupt the process.

    Lost confidence, ineffectiveness, and lack of participation aren’t the results of the process gone awry… they’re the cause. Look around… the people you admire most are those who are actually doing something for somebody. They display confidence, effectiveness, etc., through their actions, in ways that words simply can’t. Walking the walk. Too bad that government “OF and BY THE PEOPLE” is no longer apropos as a slogan for this country, so we’ll only get whatever largesse can be whined out of the politicians, and no more than they think they need to deliver. A representative republic? Gimme a break.

    While I rarely take issue with a person’s faith and their adherence to its canons, it’s certainly not surprising that anyone who would cheat him/her self in the governance of daily life would find living to a “higher” standard no more compelling.

  8. pollchecker

    Voting is the only thing that a single citizen can do in this process called the Republic of the United States.

    Apparently a large percentage of the people don’t even feel that is effective and don’t participate.

    I am trying to gauge why. Is it because they have lost confidence in the process?

    And if the answer is yes, then is it because these same people believe that their gov’t is untruthful?

    I’m not sure who you were addressing your last post to. There are a lot of religious people of all faiths who do lip service to their beliefs. GW is one of those.

  9. almandine

    Voting is just a first step. If that’s all you’ve got going, then continue to have a GOOD TIME with the idiot you’ve been given to elect. Put your money (and effort) where your mouth is if (only) voting ain’t working out so well. As for not even voting, get the hell outta the way and shut up.

    Ditto if you can’t pledge to work for a better system… as I read on a recent thread, why don’t you move elsewhere if the US offends you? Muslims (some) do tell the truth and pray… perhaps to screw this country, but without apparent violation of their religious teachings.

    Now what?

  10. JoyfulC

    I accept that some people are discouraged about voting because they don’t like anyone on the ballot. I can understand that because I also feel that the whole system is fatally flawed.

    What concerns me more are people who put their hands over their heart and say the pledge of allegiance, put their hands on the bible and swear to tell the truth, and/or kneel and mouth prayers to their gods, only to screw over their own country, bear false witness (or perjure), and violate the teachings of their religion.

  11. pollchecker

    Yes, and many people say the pledge of allegiance and then turn around and turn their back on this pledge by not participating in the very process that allegedly makes this country great — voting.

  12. almandine

    The difference between a dramatic comedy and a tragedy is that in both cases something goes terribly wrong… it’s just that in a tragedy people get what they deserve.

  13. JoyfulC

    Actually, I stopped mouthing the Pledge of Allegiance and reciting prayers when I was still just a kid. That’s one of the problems, I think. We have little kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and they can’t even tell you what it means. By the time they study it in school, it’s just another boring civics lesson.

    Maybe it would be better not to have people take oaths and pledges they don’t understand and which aren’t enforced.

    Maybe we should give the next president the option of taking the oath — and being held accountable to it by law — or foregoing it, and being president with no promises, and everybody knows it.

    The only oath or vow I’ve taken as an adult is to my marriage. We said “’til death do us part,” and that means one of us ain’t getting out of this alive. Ironically, in the early years, when we were banging our stubborn heads together and getting used to the idea of being married, almost everyone advised us to break our vow and get out of the marriage. Good thing we didn’t listen! Vows aren’t always easy to keep — indeed, if they were, no vow would be necessary.

  14. pollchecker

    I totally understand. Can’t really disagree with anything you stated.

    I would like to throw a notion back at you though.

    How many times have you put your hand over your heart and said the pledge of allegiance.

    Pledge = a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something

    Allegiance = Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause.

    So what does it say when people pledge allegiance over maybe 1000 times or more in their lives and then won’t take the time or the interest to participate in the most important process…voting for people to represent our ideals.

    In a way, we got what America collectively as a country deserved in GW Bush….a representative of, for, by and paid off courtesy of rich corporate fat cats who are the only ones in this country with access to the politicians. Since those vested interests cared enough to participate more than the rest of the country, then we get GW…twice even.

    Personally i just don’t understand the twice but it’s old news anyways.

    It should serve as a wake up call this time around.

  15. JoyfulC

    Truth is, too many of us are too busy out buying things we don’t need to pay attention to what’s going on. As long as we can shop, we’re pacified.

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

    Sound familiar? It should. It’s the inaugural oath for the presidency of the United States. Has anyone ever been convicted of purgery for taking this oath and then reneging? Maybe we need to set a precedent.

    If we can’t even expect our president to take this oath and live up to it, then really, what can we expect from career bureaucrats? They’re just trying to get through to retirement. They go with the flow.

  16. pollchecker

    Why is this acceptable? It would not be acceptable for any one of us?

    When did we become so complacent? My observations in life most people feel powerless to change their circumstances so they just bend over and take it.

    Is this what we have become? And if so, how can we claim to be the greatest nation in the world?

    Someone once said you get the govt you deserve. Maybe that’s true and we are where we’re at because of our complacency.

    It’s not like a lot of people didn’t warn the general population about the consequences of who they elect.

    I think this is what people should think about when they vote in the primary. It shouldn’t be about the african american candidate or the female candidate anymore than it should be about the white male candidate or the religious candidate.

    Perhaps we are at the fork in the road as we approach Nevada and South Carolina and some of the other primaries coming up, where we should stop and reevaluate this question.

  17. JoyfulC

    Oh sure! I believe we get the truth all the time …. when you stop and consider that the best lie is wrapped in the truth. The next best lie is the one that people want to hear. Lying is a communication skill, make no mistake!

    You have to be a top-notch liar to get far in federal politics or bureaucracy. The little, not-as-good liars stick to municipal stuff.

    (Should I change my alias to CynicalC??)