Friday, November 03, 2006

open thread commentary

thought i would do open threads on fridays- since the cats haven't done anything spectacular in awhile but pester me and nap.

i have been doing much thinking lately about a variety of things- but politics in particular due to the upcoming elections. the 'campaigning' if that is what you can call it- has been negative- and mostly from the right. most folks have been hard pressed to come up with the same type of negativity from the left. now- before you start yelling about unfairness- i did not say that there wasn't ANY from the left- just said harder pressed to find the same type of smarmy, smeary types.

so- that got me thinking about what kind of people we are as americans and why our politicians would think that this is what would move us to vote for them. couple that with various conversations i have been having with some of you bloggers- and i just don't know. i don't know how we are going to fix the mess that we are in- at home and abroad. i don't mean just financially- but our reputation as well. people don't want to be like us anymore. they feel that we are arrogant, bullying, mean spirited and so on- and really- recently what have we done to dispel that? we are a divided people on so many levels it is like humpty dumpty- i don't know if we can be put together again. should we? should we just split up? i can see us in another civil war- right against left. the ideological divide is widening and not enough folks seem to care about it. our country has been taken over by the fringe while the regular folks watch america burn.

why? what has happened to make us so apathetic? why don't we take back our country? we can all see the corruption at the top- and at our own local level- why do we allow it when we wouldn't allow it in our personal lives? are we afraid? or just plain selfish? is it the boomer generation raised in an atmosphere far from want? or folks who have to work 3 and 4 jobs in order to put a roof over their heads? i don't have the answers- just posing the questions. what is it going to take for us to put america back on top? and are we willing to do it?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've seen enough of the back and forth smear campaigning, and to tell the truth, it really sickens me. It turns me off to where I wouldn't want to vote for someone who feels they have to stoop to that level to beat their opponent. These are adults, not children, and correct me if I am wrong, but isn't holding office supposed to be somewhat of a prestigious and professional job? I figure the image that these people are putting forth in their campaign could be insight as to how things will be once these individuals are in office. And it's not a very good image--just more of the same.

betmo said...

i concur.

Sewmouse said...

My friend Leandra has made a number of suggestions about this very topic on her blog, including some interesting insights about negative campaigning.

The problem is, there are sufficient people in the country who aren't all that INTERESTED in the political process (I suspect they watch Survivor or American Idol instead), and are willing to believe anything that is said in the campaign ads, no matter how deliberately misleading.

For example - how can someone be the "biggest spender in Congress"? Absolutely impossible, as no one individual has that power - but the EMOTIONAL knee-jerk response is not logical and many folks just don't have the mental capacity for logic. My brother, for instance.

Instead, they'll take whatever the political pundits choose to spoon-feed them, and quote it back as "Gospel".

Until something is done about the professional liars (Mr. Limpbaugh, Annie Banannie Coulter, &etc) - preferably jail time for slander - we're going to see this get worse long before it gets better.

Lily said...

I think that there is a HUGE difference between being assertive and challenging inaccuracy (as many wanted Kerry to do in the Pres election) and "stooping". To me, stooping is when we lie, misrepresent, distort, take cheap shots- because we cannot make a case on its own merits. We can use facts to assert ourselves with fairness I think.Ever notice how trolls have to resort to abuse to make a point? Because they need to draw from that sparse toolbox. They dont have facts or the history to back them up.

Look at how Bush is critical of the Democrats not having "the plan" but HE is the one who is President! Paid to lead! Expected to have the plans! It leaves me freakin dumbfounded.

So I look at these ads and feel that its part of our free speech and democracy, but on the other hand feel that they are insulting us.

Then I get into thinking about things like the comment above- do we deserve to be insulted? Do we deserve to be treated like idiots, disengaged and too self absorbed? A nation that votes more for the next American Idol than the next President?

I honestly think that people in america are very comfortable and have little reason to lift a finger unless they think it concerns them directly. And even then, their arrogance does not permit them to believe that THEY can become the poor, the laid off, the sick, the uninsured, the polluted, the shot at, the tortured.

Wont happen to me! I dont have to care about my birth control,it will always be there! My rights to privacy! My right to a lawyer! My right to worship...or not! Nobody thinks they will get cancer from their cigarettes or have a heart attack either.

Its all the same kind of invincible thinking that cannot be challenged by facts. People still dont vote, still dont participate, still smoke,still look the other way on global problems. Still load up at WalMart, still use their gasoline as much as they can.

Beats me what the hell to do about it.

VERBOSE LILY said...

Whew I ranted again...sorry dear betmo.

Boo said...

Right now we're having a municipal election in Ottawa. And on a much smaller scale its the same thing. Bullshit and stupidity.

An example would be that the top candidate, promising no tax increases above the inflation rate, has been shown to have lobbied to overspend the city's budget 225 times over two years as a city councillor. We KNOW he's going to spend us into a whole - but he's getting the most support. The incumbent is making an ass of himself everytime he opens his mouth - which is fine, he's losing support.

Now the third major candidate was born and raised here, is a philanthropist, and founded Calian Technologies, which is a multi-million $ corporation now. He wants to take a more business-like approach to running the city.

Man that sounds nice. Get some of the politics out of the politics.

So why do the majority of ppl want to vote in someone who's going to mire the city in debt?????

Is this just sheer stupidity? Are people blind???? What gives?

betmo said...

at the risk of hurting the feelings of a baby boomer friend of mine :), all of the things that you all have described is adolescent behavior. we have more than one generation of people in this country who don't want to grow up. america has the peter pan syndrome. what to do about it? do not know. being a grown up myself- i just shake my head.

Time said...

Greed and self interest is basic in the American culture and people.

All's fair in love, war, politics, jobs..... Win at all costs!

Be a team player - it's more important that the team win.

Pine tar to help win the world series, no problem.

Lie about the company books, or cook the company books to get more investers, no problem.

The fantasy of truth, justice, and the American way is out the window, if it ever exsisted.

Capitalism is the God we worship. To bad, it's a good system, if not put above all.

Look what Jefferson did to and said about his friend Adams to win the election.

Mean spirited - well lets just say we have become num to civility in order to win.

Up til the 1940's we used to have an election turnout of 75-95%, since then the average is about 45%. In fact the highest voter turnouts have been in the last two elections.

It IS the peoples fault. Since the baby boomers are in political and corperate power, it's realistic to blame them.

Things will get worse before they get better. I have confidence that when they have had enough, the people will change, and then make a change.

As usuall that will happen just a little late to stop the hurt this is doing to our politics and our country.

We need to stop partizenship, we need to vote for good people not parties.

We need personal objectivity, not zombie like, kool-aid drinking, mindless followers of party hacks.

The fact that we seem to accept all this immorality, crime, and lies from our politicians; seems to show that we ARE a less moral society. We are a more greedy society. We want, but we are not willing to pay. Either pay in money or sacrifice.

We need to keep religious ideology out of our politics!

Do you really think one political party is morally superior to another? I guess, yes, according to the sucess the Republicans have had with their talking points. Boy, have we been duped!

I hope what has happened recently shows the people that they have been lied to.

Not just to remove the Republicans, but to change the mindless way people think about politics and politicians.

You can't solve a problem(s) when everyone is lying!

You won't get the truth if you don't demand the truth.

You can't put the hopes and dreams of your children or your country on the words of a person who's motivation is to seek power and money.

In our system, only the vote can turn things around.

Apathy? Force yourself. It takes a few minutes once every two years. Yes, you should be doing more than that, but if you would just do that, things will get better.

Most people don't like to think they are stupid, but the way the people have accepted this situation, shows they are being stupid! Aren't you embarassed as a citizen? Then, stupid, get off your ass and DO something about it!

betmo said...

well said time- thank you.

Chuck said...

Wow. Good idea on the open thread commenting betmo- your leading commentary was perfect.

Even when you find yourself surrounded by idiots, it's nice to come to a place like this and see the informed, intelligent and SPIRITED words of people like every single person that has posted ahead of me here.

Will a congressional takeover by the Democrats slow the regime down? I don't know, but I have to hope so. Will anything short of internal revolution give the country back to the people? I don't know, but we're close to having to "take it to the streets".

We have to think of our children, just like George Washington and so many others did when they were freezing, starving, sick and scared. Remember, we're their children and they wouldn't have us being treated this way and they wouldn't want us to allow ourselves to be persecuted.

Other than that, I have nothing to add except to tell Lily that her "rants" are better than most peoples' reasoning.

SadButTrue said...

Wonderful thread. Betmo, you are blessed with an intelligent and expressive readership. Anonymous though nibbling at the edges, never really bites into the fact that the self-aggrandizing characteristic often misidentified as charisma helps win campaigns but is the opposite of the altruistic impulse that it takes to actually govern 'for the people.' Wearing an expensive suit and shaking hands is a 'heckuva job' that accomplishes nothing. An idea refined by Lily, "Paid to lead! Expected to have the plans!"
Sewmouse nails the fact that the electronic media are America's answer to 'bread and circus.' Only the bread is a lot mouldier (I'm thinking Coulter) than in Roman times. Lily again refines the idea of a culture that, like their President, prefers to reject uncomfortable facts.
Boo, we would be a lot better off if it were a flogging offense for politicians to lie to the electorate, the worst form of fraud. sic semper tyranni
Hey Betmo, I'm a baby-boomer. I have changed over the years from an idealist to a pragmatist, but many of my friends just plain SOLD OUT, damn their eyes! From hippy to yuppie to a flabby middle age that is everything they opposed in youth.
Time, on another thread earlier today I remarked that capitalism is the sacred cow of America. Problem is that unregulated capitalism is a sure path to oligarchy, fascism and then a return to a corporate form of feudalism. We are now on that path, standing in what the sacred cow left there.
Chuck, the great revolutionary Thomas Paine said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." Let's hope that we do not have to take it to the streets on that basis. He also said, "If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately."
Me,I'm happy to be allowed to hang out with such an erudite group.

betmo said...

me too. i just watched v for vendetta again.

landsker said...

"...i don't have the answers- just posing the questions. what is it going to take for us to put america back on top? and are we willing to do it?"
So why the desire to be "on top"?

What good is patriotism if it can be used to persuade young people to kill and loot.
The French and Germans no longer have border fences, or patrols, or checkpoints. Along with the Spaniards, Greeks etc etc..
Each are allowed to work and live as "co-reciprical" citizens.
Sort of a "Hey, we are all just here for the duration, let`s at least stop having wars."
All of Europe is shrinking their "defence budgets", and Europe and Russia have been "moving closer".
Somehow the next few weeks are going to be "interesting".

There is change in the air, many seem to forecast a big fall in U.S. house prices, which would certainly fuel crisis amongst the poor.

shawn (aka blogstud) said...

so true, b, and in your home state of NY, hill's opponent actually says something nice about her and then, it sounds like to me, get railroaded into taking it back. Or at least he felt like he had to make a disclaimer.

what is wrong with saying my opponent is a fine person, but just not right for the job.

it is sick and it is what americans have come to expect--just look at lush limbaugh, oops, sorry, i mean rush (yea yeah, negative butcha have-ta admit HE has it coming)

It is sad, and sick that we have reduced ourselves to the lowest common denominator.

that in new jersey, the gop is ahppy because they think the latest gay rights ruling will energize their base. these are peoples rights and lives they are (still) playing politics with.

Same thing with abortion in n or s dakota--it is late and I cannot remember which.

you are right, although I am biased it is clear that the right is much more willing to make personal attacks to win than the left. the ads from the left seem to be much more about issues. and heck, the gop was willing to keep foley and his skeletons in the closet (so to speak) to keep his seat, and no that was not a personal attack. whenever someone abuses his or her position in office it becomes a campaign issue, not a personal one.

aw heck, now I got my Texas blood all boiling and I was gonna get to bed early tonight.

oh well,
I have SO missed reading your blog b.

shawn (aka blogstud) said...

and sadly, Time may be right. Just look at the Supreme court.

I really do hate to keep saying it, but if we send another repub to the white house in 08 we are so totally screwed.

i feel ill even starting to imagine it.

some days I want to apply for political asylum in Europe because I feel so unwelcome in my home country.

Anonymous said...

"there's stuff I don't want to know".

Great. That's exactly how they get away with it.

What's on TV tonight...???*sarcasm*