Self-deprecation is worth its weight in smoldering phoenix-ashes and baby unicorn tears.
or; look, it's a cross-post!
Published on October 1, 2008 By SanChonino In Politics

To those who read this:  this article was originally posted on my Blogspot blog, where I do the majority of my blogging these days.  But because Whip is so insistent that I stick around, I thought I'd give you all a taste of the urine and bile you're all missing out on over there.

So here goes.  Whatevs.

It seems that every election I'm confronted by the same situation. (And this is on almost every level - local, state, and national.) I'm given a slew of lackluster candidates - a whole cavalcade of sycophantic party-first types, who are more proud of the letter next to their name declaring their affiliation rather than the country/state/city they want to serve.

If you want evidence of that, one must look no further than the House of Representatives. To begin with, Speaker Pelosi should never have made such an inflammatory, partisan speech concerning the bailout deal - and that's her bad. (But it's the sort of thing we've come to expect from the woman.) But the reaction of a whole score of Republican senators, saying they voted it down because her speech was 'too partisan' is embarrassing. They're putting their party miles ahead of their country, and their stupidity is going to cost us. Dearly.

Frankly, either the Democrats or the Republicans had the opportunity on Monday of being heroes - of putting partisan issues behind them and working for the common good (you know, that whole government being for the people instead of for the party thing). Instead - and as per usual - it dissolved into petty squabbling and nothing was accomplished. I'd hate to say I'm shocked, but mostly I'm just disappointed.

So what do you do? I endeavor to be an informed voter, one who knows his candidates, knows where they stand on the issues of most importance to myself, and I try to vote accordingly. The problem, however, is so many of these candidates that are offered us by the two big parties (which, the more you think about it, are really just two heads of the same beast), they're (in a word) horrible. And you talk to the people around you, try to take a barometer reading of what they are thinking and what way they're planning to vote, and there's one phrase that seems to repeat consistently, and almost across the board, regardless of political party:

'I'm voting for so-and-so because s/he's the lesser of two evils.'

Yes, that's the justification so many of us give as to why we're voting for who we vote for. I know that more than once I've cast a ballot for X candidate more as a protest to Y candidate than anything else. (Example: I don't even remember who ran against Rob Bishop for the House of Representatives in Utah's first district in 2006, but I know I voted for him because I would not, under any circumstances, give that despicable career politician Bishop one more vote.) And frankly, I think that's a tragedy.

Ralph Nader explained why this is so bad better than I could in his book Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender when he explained what happened to the Democratic party in the eighties, and how horribly spineless, directionless, and 'samey' they became - and still are. He writes:

During the eighties, it became ever more clear that the Democrats were losing the will to fight. Business money pouring into party coffers melded into the retreat from progressive roots and then into an electoral tactic that argued for defeating the Republicans by taking away their issues and becoming more like them.
The energy to strike out on a path extending the great American progressive tradition was quickly leaking out of the Democrats like a tire losing air. The party would address its Democratic tactics by defining itself by the worst Republicans instead of becoming better. "Do you know how bad the Republicans are on this subject?" would be the standard reply. Buying into the lesser-of-two-evils argument simply meant that every four years both parties would get worse and be rewarded for it. (27-28, bold mine)

And it's only become worse and worse. That's why Ralph runs for president - he can't work from withing the system any more because the system's too broken. And I think I'm quickly drifting away from party politics altogether. I'm almost sure that while I live in Utah I'll stay registered a Democrat, but once I live in a less-Republican area (which prompts me to be a Demo if only to see people's rich reactions to the news when I tell them as much) I'm rather certain I'll shuck the party and be truly unaffiliated.

Because toeing the party line is ofttimes choosing the lesser of two evils. And I don't think that's the way things should be.

I'm Braeden Jones and I approved this message.

on Oct 01, 2008

I'm so glad to see you on JU.  Blogger is fine.  I have my artsy blog there but it doesn't have the community of JU.  Many times I feel like I'm just talking to myself at blogger. 

Oh and about your article.  I agree.  I get tired of the simple-minded philosophy that everyone in my party = good, everyone in the other other party = bad.  I would love to have a candidate that I could support whole heartedly without reservation.  I don't even know if that is possible anymore.  Maybe we expect too much from our candidates? 

on Oct 01, 2008

Excellent article, mate.  Australia too is cursed with a two party system where the lines are now so blurred, policies are almost interchangable between the two.  It is beyond a joke.  Politics no longer is about the people but, as you suggest, about party affiliations. 

I would love to come over to Blogspot but for some reason, can't access the site at work.  About the only one I can is JoeUser.

on Oct 01, 2008

I should just start voting for myself from here on out. 



on Oct 01, 2008

It is rough and yes the reasons some people have as to why they are voting makes no sense.

I wish they, the politicians would get to the job at hand, governing and get their heads out of their asses! 



on Oct 02, 2008

Good to see you hear.


I wrote something kind of similar on Granola Hippie Girl's (Alison?) blog.  You said it better.


But I have it down to this:  if it's the same wheel, does it really matter who's spinning it?

on Oct 02, 2008

You know, this is one of the few times we can agree. This whole concept of having to be satisfied with mediocre sucks big time. Politicians are just as bad as the CEO's and their golden parachute payments. But one thing I have noticed that I complained about before was that not many people were putting much attention to this problem yet now it seems, like LW said about them not listening to the demands, the sentiment seems to be spreading and with this whole economic crisis going on, it's helping bring peoples attention to the politicians they were ignoring, believing they did not need to be watched over.

Politicians are now in a position where the beans have been or are being spilled and now their every move revolves around them keeping their jobs after their actions. I like that because it forces them to listen to us more, to actually care more and to actually do their jobs. But LW is correct, I believe there should be more than jobs on the line when these people are looking to benefit greatly from the perks of being a politician. Something needs to be done.

The way I see it (I seem to be using that phrase a lot lately) these corporations and lobbiest who keep putting money in the parties coffer or the politicians pockets looking for support should be pandering to the civilians these politicians represent and not the politicians or the parties themselves. Give ME a discount or something from your products so that I can be the one to tell my political representative to help you rather than giving them the money to vote in your favor.

on Oct 02, 2008

There are ways to change the system but it is a very long term solution which turns off a lot of people in our immediate gratification culture that we are in.

1) Vote against every incumbent running for office.  If we can kick out a fair number of the incumbents a message will be sent to all elected officials reminding them of who they work for, not big business, not special interests, not lobbyists but we the people.

2) Vote for as many third party candidates as you can get your hands on.  States run the elections and the only way to change the election rules to allow more third party candidates on the ballot is to fill as many of our state governments with as many third party candidates as we can get our hands on.  Also this sends the message that the people are fed up with the way the two major parties are currently running the show.

3) Keep following steps 1 and 2 and writing your representatives to try and get them to change the election rules so that we have more than two choices for every office.

on Oct 02, 2008

So what do you do?

Bailamos el ChikiChiki.

Uno: El Breikindance

Dos: El Crusaito

Tres: El Maiquelyason

Cuatro: El Robocop



on Oct 04, 2008

Guess I shouldn't post in Spanish anymore...kinda kills an article.


on Oct 04, 2008

El Chikichiki kills anything.

Thanks for bringing back memories from Spain. 

on Oct 05, 2008

Love that cartoon.

Yup, just a matter of which pile of shit stinks less.  Sad, but true.

on Oct 06, 2008

Thanks for bringing back memories from Spain.

No problem. 

We were taking a look at this in Spanish class the other day...where we also had to dance it.  Why is it that every Spanish class I'm in sets out to humilate me in ways most other classes don't?