I try to do a post everyday. This is a project that I’ve undertaken as something to replace writing a novel, which I accept will never happen.* So, I decided to blog instead. Some days I write two or three posts, some days none, most days at least one. These are of varying quality.
Today, I am at a loss. I am extremely frustrated with politics. I haven’t been able to write very much about it on my blog, because it is an area that I’m not very proficient in. (Personally, I think anyone voluntarily proficient in politic needs to have their head examined, but I digress.) I can’t make the in depth connections and present material in a dispassionate light, like I do with science.
Yes, there are a few previous articles that touch on politics, but they cover very specific things like the budget cuts to NOAA or NASA.
There is no amount of words that could convey my deep disgust at the ‘leaders’ of our country right now. Whether the latest budget is a deal, who made the deal, who caved in, whatever, those points are all not as important as the fact that this is something that should have been done months ago. Instead, ‘politics’ (the dirty version of the word) took over.
There are two sides of this debate and I have deep philosophical and practical issues with both of them. Of course, each side has it’s attractions as well. I won’t go into the details, but please understand that I’ve thought about this a great deal over the last 5 or 6 years. I have carefully considered every election and every platform and every issue and how I feel about it.
I have found some surprising things about myself in the process. Some of them even shocked my wife. Some of my thoughts on the various issues may not be correct (or correct for the majority of the US), but at least they are well considered. I can unequivocally stand up and say, “This is what I think and this is why.” There are a surprising number of people who cannot say that. They can say what they think, but they have never considered why.**
Oh they think they can and they will make up any number of convoluted stories as soon as you ask them the question, but until you ask, they haven’t really thought about it.
Now for the big revelation.
I honestly no longer think that there is anything that we can do about politics. Those that want change in the political world, those that want accountability for politicians and agencies, those that want an end to ‘politics’ (in the bad sense of the word), those that don’t like the bloat of government, are a huge minority and they have two major issues working against them.
The first is apathy. Many people are straight ticket voters. These people don’t care about issues, they don’t care about the individuals running. They vote a party. I personally believe that many of the straight party voters are older people who remember when a party was consolidated and everyone felt the same about the issues. I also doubt there ever was such a time.
I have heard, and it may be conjecture, but it sounds about right, that 35% of the people vote Republican and about 35% vote Democrat. It wouldn’t matter if it was Hitler running against Ghandi, they would vote the same way.
So, our entire political decision process is controlled by 30% of the population. Which, probably, like me, is continually conflicted by a variety of issues and must often choose between the lesser of two evils.
The second reason is control. The politicians in power have a lot of power and they do not want to give it up. It’s not just about what they are doing now, but future prospects outside of the realm of politics are also a concern. Too, a lot of companies (including unions) give a lot of money to ensure that candidates that ‘feel the same as they do’ are voted in place… a capability that no few citizens can match.
This is what I would consider a self-perpetuating government system. No one person, not even a few dozen people can make change even from within the system. If they tried, the rest of the congress would see it and immediately render those people totally ineffective, even by blocking every bill or proposal they suggest.
So, how can massive change occur in this environment. It can’t. It will be a long, long time before major change can slowly accumulate in our government. The two party system also helps reinforce this by spending a good chunk of time undoing what was done previously.
Now, with all that being said, I think it’s best that I stick with what I know, science, technology and education. I will try to stay out of politics except for those areas. I think this would be best for me.
I will continue to monitor the situations and I will vote according to my conscience, but that’s the limit of what I can handle emotionally and physically. I hope that certain things will happen and really, really hope that certain things will not. I don’t have any influence. All I have is a vote that really doesn’t mean anything (in a state that is primarily the opposite flavor from me).
If anyone cares, I think that we know have the level of technology to have a true democracy, but the powers in Washington will never allow that to happen.
* Towards the end of 2010, I started writing in earnest. I wrote about a thousand words per day on a novel, no matter what. Some I reread and tossed, most I kept. Then, long about New Year’s Eve, I decided that it was all crap and tossed all of it… all 44,000 words. I started over and made it to about 25,000 words before realizing that it wasn’t any better.
I love reading a well crafted book and mine were not well crafted. Yes, I would have needed much more experience and editing before I got the point where it was publishable, I do understand that. However, it was one of the most incredibly frustrating things I’ve ever done.
The words on the paper didn’t match what I saw in my head. I couldn’t convey the characters the way I wanted and I couldn’t develop any sense of interest, even for myself.
** The same is true of religion. Most people never consider why they are a certain religion. They just know that there religion is correct. Just like they know their political party is correct.