The "Political Page"
(last worked on: Februrary 23rd, 2019)
(You're at: https://craigeroochi.neocities.org/politics.htm)
Fastfind: >> Democracy, {{Hugs}}, Socialism,

* Bernie is running again:


Bernie Sanders in Phoenix - 2015 (simplewikipedia.org)
--Time to send in your $27: https://berniesanders.com/

Laments:

"Call your Congressperson!" "Show up for the big protest!" "Sign this petition!" --Do you ever get weary of campaigning for and voting in an office holder, then through the years of her/his tenure having to (perhaps in vain) hound and try to micro-manage your "representative" to do the right thing?

That's not the way it's supposed to work. Try this alternative:

1) There's a political party with a platform you can support. (If you're a go-getter, you helped build the platform.)

2) You vote a straight party ticket. (If you're a go-getter, you've helped campaign plus contributed as well.)

3) You go back to your work and recreations, knowing that your representative (if s/he gained office) will do the right thing. If you're a go-getter, then maybe you're a party official who's paid to follow events, give guidance, co-ordination and keep score.

In this political eutopia, it wouldn't enter your heart or head to cast a first choice vote for "the lesser of two evils".

Yes: we'd need a parliamentary system of government and something like "instant run-off voting" to actually make that work, but: resolutely voting for the party and ticket you believe in --would tend to make our existing system not work --until it changed --or until we turned one of the two current major parties --into a hopeless "3rd party".

With the careening Trump administration, we may have run out of chances to get it right --"this time around". I suppose we're headed for a grossly cynical period of decline, punctuated at points with catastrophes. That, of course, makes our personal acts of comforting grace to one-another essential --at least as we can afford to practice such ministry. (See here and here for some {{hugs}} and strings of thoughts --on how one might meaningfully cope, should we be faced with a train of woeful events.)

You may have stayed home or voted 3rd party on election day, rather than cast a vote for "Obama-2.0". (Trump, Pence and cabinet might actually amount to a jaundiced 3rd party --but I'm of course in reference to the Libertarian Party's Johnson and the Green Party's Stein.) There's Obama's (and Clinton's) support of nuclear power, our Iraq spawned and 9/11 false flag excused tar baby wars, the "Dark Act", nuclear weapons expansion/modernization --and expanded spying upon --well: everyone. (Puts the old East German Stasi to shame.)

Or: not. Johnson was a non-starter: wanted to privatize/corporatize everything. With her selection of a purist left wing dingbat^ running mate, so was Stein.

^ Baraka did his best to alienate left wing/progressive support for "imperialist" and "racist" Bernie Sanders. (Google it.) Then he signed on as Jill Stein's VP (whose first choice was Bernie --even to take her place at the top of the ticket, fergawdsakes) --as she attempted to inherit Bernie's mantel and gather his supporters --sheeese!

* Our nation was ready for long promised changes. Bernie, if not torpedoed by the DNC, could have caught the people's imagination and easily won an election against Trump. (Any generic Democrat, except Clinton, could have beaten Trump --and any generic Republican could have beaten Clinton.)

At least Hillary didn't end up proposing a "no fly zone" over Syria or going toe-to-toe with Putin.

** I'm ready for a new political party, the candidates of which --when voted in, will simply do right by us, the environment, and the values which we struggle to put into the platform --without our having to get up petitions and make feeble attempts to micro-manage how they conduct legislation. I want to vote a straight party ticket, know that I did the right thing, then get on with my family, work, service and recreational interests. (Is that too much to ask for?)

* Then there are those looming meta-problems --especially the ones we can't easily talk about, like:

    ~ Overpopulation (the industrial build-out for which is already at least 3x the Earth's sustainable level).

    ~ 9/11

   ~ Election fraud / "black box" voting  ** Why is it that nearly everyone avoids the obvious solution: hand marked paper ballots? No: not computer barcode marked ballots. I mean 100% human readable, hand marked ballots, which can subsequently be recounted --human read and verified --should there be any questions about the optical scanner read counts. Even in a sophisticated venue like Los Angeles, it's proven difficult to get this simple concept across to the election officials who decide what sorts of voting apparatus will be used. (Obviously, a hacked and compromised system might print out ballots on which the barcodes and the English summary don't agree.)

(This photo thumb is linked to a full size posting and article.)
    ~ We can talk about the unfitness of The Donald, but not so much about the unfitness of the voting public who flocked (or were herded by the captured media) to his support. Can someone come up with a realistic solution to voter incompetence? (I include myself in that category. There've been many elections in which I had no idea what were the identities, campaign issues or qualifications for most of the local and regional candidates (judgeships, county officials and such). When that's the case, I disqualify myself from voting for those offices.)

    ~ The popular "progressive" assumption is that our democracy (as we practice and know it) is only unsatisfactory in that we need to further expand the voting franchise. However: considering that, in order to drive a potentially lethal ton and a half of steel on wheels, we take a driver's license test, what we really need (in addition to hand marked paper ballots) is some kind of a civics/current events test in order to vote, lest we vote dangerous and ignoramus candidates into office.

* Caleb Crain wrote a good article dissecting the ins, outs, utility and notable thoughts about democracy, centering on Jason Brenan's (then) recent book: Against Democracy. Originally printed in The New Yorker (November 7th, 2016), it's now on-line under the title: "The Case Against Democracy".

Crain pointed out that western culture has been worrying about voter competence since Plato.

* Here are more recent reviews --in the light/shadow of the Trump White House --by: Valerie Soon, Simone Chambers (the first two columns), and Andrea Rodes (very brief).

*  "Politics" is about political, as distinct from personal relationships --outvoting, manipulation and deals, as opposed to grace and empathy --strangers, as opposed to the empathy of friends and family.

Of course, all relationships are a blend of both, but those who are mentally healthy and socially motivated cultivate the latter over the former.

And the larger the arena, the more we get into politics --right?

* I should say something here about socialism. While I really enjoy listening to Professor Wolff, and it seems that the day is finally coming for social/socialist democrats --and while we're seeing and hearing from newly minted "eco-socialists" --they are "will providers" like most everyone else. Capitalists tell us that the invisible hand of Adam Smith will provide. Abrahamic religionists tell us that God will provide. The socialists tell us that the redistribution of wealth will provide. Meanwhile, we're making great progress toward tearing up nature, taking turns breathing and growing vegetables in our hair. Here's a quiet voice.

Hmmnnnn - - -

* Perhaps a rational, aware, socially motivated individual --should simply do her/his practical best to hold up one's end of our many "social contracts" (for the sake of personal integrity --and so as not to be part of the over-all problems). S/he'd "do right" (as might be possible), but otherwise feel guardedly, politely --nicely --remote from --well shoot: most everyone outside of family and simpatico friends --since:

Those people creatures "out there" in the larger world are dangerous --especially so when "reasoned" with. "They" amount to so many bears in the woods --individually and collectively. (Only half joking here --and am in reference to a recent study showing that the hammerheads tend to get more recalcitrant and hostile when presented with contrary facts.)

So: just try to be nice, get through life, --and try, try, try to come up with realistic projects to --well, I was going to say: "to fix the human condition", but that's not right. I prefer to think that our problems are not due to "human nature", but due to our departures from our true nature --from the archetype of communitarian humanity we (however unconsciously) aspire to become.

I'm not (currently) a Christian, but our (meant to be) destiny is spiritual --meaning to dwell in a deep sense of kept connectedness. This emergent butterfly version of ourselves will be, of course, a difficult transformation, considering our ugly history and our heritage in a competitive biology: "red of tooth and claw".

Do we amount to Nature --in trying to seek balance (and having grown tired of the old ways), creating its own antithesis? Or might we be trying to access a pre-programmed/destined climax state of being fully human?

We should look to the spiritual vision of our prophets --say: the likes of Teilhard de Chardin:

"There is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a larger vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendships between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality almost impossible to describe." (He knew.)

Then there's the astounding faith (in the destiny of all Earth's creatures) of Quaker artist Edward Hicks:


The Peaceable Kingdom

* I'm touched by pet owners, foster parents to wildlife orphans, care and comfort givers to the injured, by peacemakers to humans and animals.

* Late at night, safe and warm in bed with my wife and our dog Sammy, I think about the billions of creatures who huddle against the cold of night in their nests and burrows --awaiting the Sun's warmth and another day of struggle. There's no one to wake them from their nightmares. (That we care about human and animal life --defines us.)

* Isn't it extraordinary and hopeful --that, despite our horrible, war torn, genocidal history --ideals of Love, grace, community --and such notions as "The Peaceable Kingdom" survive? It can only be that we're hard wired for such caring and stewardship --that we're destined (or at least meant) for a far better existence.

* Perhaps this is true for all life forms --with whom we share so much of the same DNA/genetic material and biological processes.  (Presumably, all the creatures in Hicks' paintings are vegetarians --rolled oats, perhaps?  :-)

* It's striking that life is felt to be so precious, even by microscopic creatures. We struggle to live and scurry to evade predators. In extremis, trapped, hurt bad and doomed, we all cry out --instinctively asking for a hand of mercy, abjectly open to grace, hoping against hope that there might be some agency who will respond.

* Somewhere, sometime, some social life form will make the grade. I'm counting on panspermia to have placed many copies of life in many places.

** So: best I get back to burying our time capsules.
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