Republican vs. Democrats (US Politics)
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Posted 8/7/12 , edited 8/7/12
You know... I was watching the news the other day and every commercial was a Political commercial. First was a Democrat bashing their Republican competitor... Next was a Republican bashing their Democratic competitor... and so on... And I got to thinking... how did the US actually get its name when we are so far from "United" that we are basically two different countries of people just thrown together on one big Island. Sure, we can get along on a normal everyday basis, but as soon as its election time... GAME ON!!!

Our country was built on competition... from business to politics I guess... Sure its great for the economy from a business stand point.... But what purpose does it serve in a political stand point... Is a giant competition really our best answer to the worlds problems? Seems to me that this competition just divides our people even more than what they were. Pitting two sides against each other is not the right way to go about things. Its just another "cold" war to me, one that has been ongoing for centuries.

Here is one of the problematic things that I have seen on my state's ballot. One of the Amendment changes is the Freedom of Religion in public schools... here are the exact lines from the amendment (which was put so vaguely on the ballot that it truly isn't funny):

Students may express their beliefs about religion in written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their work; that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious belief.

This is fine to me... whatever if someone wants to believe that God had a hand in putting us on this Earth... so be it whatever... to each their own.

But this topic has so many people up in arms about Religion being in public schools that its madness. I mean they don't want their kids to be taught 'evolution" because it would completely counteract religion. People will actually start getting violent and agitated because they can't force someone to believe in what they believe in. My thoughts on evolution vs. religion? Who the hell cares how people were created on this planet!!! We have more things to worry about our future than to focus on our past so much. If we truly TRULY with scientific evidence, found out that the whole Adam and Eve story was real... does that really change our outcome as people? or vice versa.... If we evolved from some gelatinous goo, to fish, to mammals, to monkeys, to man... How does that even matter what will happen in the future?

I just don't understand the political world I guess... its just a bunch of people trying to 'serve' their constituents... and by 'serve' I mean control... funny how that is... huh? Sure they say they will serve us... but in reality its all about their power over you once they get into office... I suppose its just one of those necessary paradoxes that our current life is.

Rant ended.

And now I ask your opinion on US politics. Are any of our future amendments irking you? What are your thoughts on our "Democracy" that we have here...
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Posted 8/7/12 , edited 8/7/12
Αμερική Ἐγκώμιον
or
Americā Laus

There is no amount of eloquence that can describe our government- to lavish any praise upon it, no matter how extravagant, would be to praise it too mildly, to express in words the glorious sublimity of our government, the wisdom of its statesman, the eloquence and the natural, manly poetry of American speech, of the many-fold glories of this nation, on the greatness of the American People, and on its thorough perfection, is to do it grave injustice. What song can Longfenglim, her weakest son, sing that would not dishonour her? What words can I say, when the words of far greater men than I has failed her? It is an exercise in futility to praise her sufficiently, there is nothing that would adequetly describe her. Like an unfathomable majesty, we can only behold her and awe, for she is beyond human words.

Yet, what can I say of her, of the glorious system of government? I can say, with Pericles, in his famous Funeral Oration:

‘χρώμεθα γὰρ πολιτείᾳ οὐ ζηλούσῃ τοὺς τῶν πέλας νόμους, παράδειγμα δὲ μᾶλλον αὐτοὶ ὄντες τισὶν ἢ μιμούμενοι ἑτέρους. καὶ ὄνομα μὲν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐς ὀλίγους ἀλλ᾽ ἐς πλείονας οἰκεῖν δημοκρατία κέκληται: μέτεστι δὲ κατὰ μὲν τοὺς νόμους πρὸς τὰ ἴδια διάφορα πᾶσι τὸ ἴσον, κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀξίωσιν, ὡς ἕκαστος ἔν τῳ εὐδοκιμεῖ, οὐκ ἀπὸ μέρους τὸ πλέον ἐς τὰ κοινὰ ἢ ἀπ᾽ ἀρετῆς προτιμᾶται, οὐδ᾽ αὖ κατὰ πενίαν, ἔχων γέ τι ἀγαθὸν δρᾶσαι τὴν πόλιν, ἀξιώματος ἀφανείᾳ κεκώλυται. ἐλευθέρως δὲ τά τε πρὸς τὸ κοινὸν πολιτεύομεν καὶ ἐς τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους τῶν καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἐπιτηδευμάτων ὑποψίαν, οὐ δι᾽ ὀργῆς τὸν πέλας, εἰ καθ᾽ ἡδονήν τι δρᾷ, ἔχοντες, οὐδὲ ἀζημίους μέν, λυπηρὰς δὲ τῇ ὄψει ἀχθηδόνας προστιθέμενοι. ἀνεπαχθῶς δὲ τὰ ἴδια προσομιλοῦντες τὰ δημόσια διὰ δέος μάλιστα οὐ παρανομοῦμεν, τῶν τε αἰεὶ ἐν ἀρχῇ ὄντων ἀκροάσει καὶ τῶν νόμων, καὶ μάλιστα αὐτῶν ὅσοι τε ἐπ᾽ ὠφελίᾳ τῶν ἀδικουμένων κεῖνται καὶ ὅσοι ἄγραφοι ὄντες αἰσχύνην ὁμολογουμένην φέρουσιν.


That we are the beacon which other nation look upon, that our government is the envy and emulation of all that strives for freedom? That we are ruled by the many in the interest of the many, instead of the οἱ ὀλίγοι? That our laws are profoundly just, affording equality among the different? That a man, by his wits and merits, may rise and, according to his own wits and merits, may fall, regardless of class, race, or gender? That even the lowest born amongst us can rise to the highest office or become the richest man? That neither race, nor class, nor gender inhibits a man from serving the state should he be able to render himself useful, nor does it retards a man progress to wealth and happiness? That we are free, and among the freest men of the earth, the leaders of all other freemen? That even in our freedom, we still abide by our laws, not out of blind obedience, but out of love of the justness of those laws? These praises are too weak for America, however sufficient they were for Athens.
Athens was not tolerant as we are, Athens was a primitive society, a slave owning society, patriarchal, misogynist, they were not as sophisticated as we are, they have not the advances we have, nor the power that we have. They were at the height of their glory, and arrogant, we are at, or nearing, the pinnacle of our civilisation, and we are still humble. They cannot look outside themselves for innovation, we look ever outwards and improve. What of Athens? They cannot bear to see their gods usurped by any other. Yet, our nation is far renowned for its religious plurality and freedom. What of Athens? They were foolishness enough to wage endless war and alienate allies; we are a peace loving nation, invading only when we feel there is just cause. Yet, in their own society, they were a model, in the past and in miniature, of America, they have the seeds of America, but it was yet to grow and bear fruit.

We can see our Statesmen are the best the world can offer, now, then, and ever. We can see that we choose between the greatest minds of our time to lead the greatest nation of the world, to lead the world, and direct it, to chastise and correct where necessary, where unpopular. We see that our industries are the finest in the world, leaders of the world, and who, justly, own the riches of the world. We have seen that, through the hardship of the recent recession, we have come out, still intact, staving off the troubles like that which plagues Europe. We have seen in battle, our military prowess are second to none. We have never lost, the valour of our people have always ensured victory, where ever we go, we can be sure of victory.

To our two parties, what two parties can better represent us, the Democrats, in the Centre, and the Republican, in the Centre Right. Our hatred of the Extreme and love of moderation impels us between these two, while those parties of the lower order are around, only as outlet for the young to vent their extremist tendencies before reality sinks in and they conform comfortably to the American way. In France, we see daily strikes, the rise of Nationalists and Communists. How can this ever occur here, where our moderation prevents us from striking in excess and electing Nazis and Bolsheviks? In China we see the imprisonment of those that dare speak out against power, against injustice. Our intellectuals are never silenced, but allowed to speak and speak freely, a testament to the American love of Freedom.

Yet, all these words are all insufficient, they are not adequate. Look about us, and we cannot but awe, for the awe surpasses the narrow limits of words. What words can describe this? It is like in the presence of the ocean or under the night sky, watching the stars peep through the haze of light pollution, and realising the insignificance of oneself with respect to the cosmos, the sheer profundity is enough to leave one dumb.
Posted 8/9/12
Republicans and Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. They just keep old arguments alive and running to prevent people from thinking about matters that actually do matter for the country's future. Stop voting for them.
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Posted 8/9/12
Our form of government may not be perfect but it sure as hell beats a dictatorship. My only gripe is that both parties are only concerned about eliminating the other.
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23 / M / Hughesville, Penn...
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Posted 8/13/12
Politics is a waste of time. Until everyone becomes a moderate, there won't be a point to it.
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Posted 8/13/12 , edited 8/13/12

lordseth23 wrote:

Politics is a waste of time. Until everyone becomes a moderate, there won't be a point to it.


So, until there is uniformity in thought, there is no point in politics? I suppose, if that were the case, then we wouldn't need democracy- there is no difference in views, therefore it is pointless to even have a government that was created to represent a diversity in views.
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Posted 8/13/12

longfenglim wrote:


lordseth23 wrote:

Politics is a waste of time. Until everyone becomes a moderate, there won't be a point to it.


So, until there is uniformity in thought, there is no point in politics? I suppose, if that were the case, then we wouldn't need democracy- there is no difference in views, therefore it is pointless to even have a government that was created to represent a diversity in views.


Good point, but if everyone was educated enough to empathize and comprehend any viewpoint on a particular issue, then I see nothing wrong with anarchy.
Posted 8/13/12

lordseth23 wrote:



Good point, but if everyone was educated enough to empathize and comprehend any viewpoint on a particular issue, then I see nothing wrong with anarchy.
Not anarchy, but rather spontaneous and collaborative self-organization, housed within a dynamic and diverse game environment/space, while being nurtured with honesty, humility, and trust.

John Hunter: Teaching with the World Peace Game
John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.

Boy: The World Peace Game is serious. You're actually getting taught something like how to take care of the world. See, Mr. Hunter is doing that because he says his time has messed up a lot, and he's trying to tell us how to fix that problem.

John Hunter: I offered them a -- Actually, I can't tell them anything because I don't know the answer. And I admit the truth to them right up front: I don't know. And because I don't know, they've got to dig up the answer. And so I apologize to them as well. I say, "I'm so sorry, boys and girls, but the truth is we have left this world to you in such a sad and terrible shape, and we hope you can fix it for us, and maybe this game will help you learn how to do it." It's a sincere apology, and they take it very seriously.
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Posted 8/14/12 , edited 8/14/12

lordseth23 wrote:


longfenglim wrote:


lordseth23 wrote:

Politics is a waste of time. Until everyone becomes a moderate, there won't be a point to it.


So, until there is uniformity in thought, there is no point in politics? I suppose, if that were the case, then we wouldn't need democracy- there is no difference in views, therefore it is pointless to even have a government that was created to represent a diversity in views.


Good point, but if everyone was educated enough to empathize and comprehend any viewpoint on a particular issue, then I see nothing wrong with anarchy.


Does this empathy requires that a man relinquish strong opinions of his own? No matter how much we understand each other, if we disagree strongly over something, we will still disagree. No amount of forced uniformity in thought will ever change that.
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Posted 8/14/12

longfenglim wrote:


lordseth23 wrote:


longfenglim wrote:


lordseth23 wrote:

Politics is a waste of time. Until everyone becomes a moderate, there won't be a point to it.


So, until there is uniformity in thought, there is no point in politics? I suppose, if that were the case, then we wouldn't need democracy- there is no difference in views, therefore it is pointless to even have a government that was created to represent a diversity in views.


Good point, but if everyone was educated enough to empathize and comprehend any viewpoint on a particular issue, then I see nothing wrong with anarchy.


Does this empathy requires that a man relinquish strong opinions of his own? No matter how much we understand each other, if we disagree strongly over something, we will still disagree. No amount of forced uniformity in thought will ever change that.


It may be impossible like you say, but if two people exhibited total empathy towards one another, then there would be no disagreements at all. The disagreements that arise in the political arena are ones that express conflicting viewpoints in moral intuitions, which definitely do seem to be unsolvable due to the validity of both veiwpoints. But if everyone took the time to truly understand the various moral matrices there are, then there would be compromises to accomodate various moral foundations and ultimately an agreed upon method of dealing with any issue.
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Posted 8/14/12 , edited 8/14/12

lordseth23 wrote:

It may be impossible like you say, but if two people exhibited total empathy towards one another, then there would be no disagreements at all. The disagreements that arise in the political arena are ones that express conflicting viewpoints in moral intuitions, which definitely do seem to be unsolvable due to the validity of both veiwpoints. But if everyone took the time to truly understand the various moral matrices there are, then there would be compromises to accomodate various moral foundations and ultimately an agreed upon method of dealing with any issue.


I did not say that it is impossible for everyone exercise empathy towards those of different political beliefs, but that it is impossible that this empathy would somehow develop into conformity and uniformity. For example, suppose someone were to recognise the merit of the arguments against Mr Obama and his policies, and also recognise the arguments in favour of Mr Romney, and his policies, yet, he, being a strong supporter of Mr Obama, decides that no matter how strong the merit of his arguments, his opponent's opinion is that they are misguided, and for so and so reason. His adversary, or, should I say, nemesis, also recognise the merits of his argument for Mr Obama, understands fully where he is coming from when he objects to his own opinion, but, decides that his opponent's objections are not valid for another set of reason. Lack of understanding does not amount to total agreement, or even compromise. A reading in philosophy shows us many able men, who, it seems, understand the position of their opponent, are still in argument over almost every subject- the freedom of the will, metaphysics, ontology, moral philosophy, meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, political philosophy, and so on.

Yet, suppose that there is no argument, and that people are content with watered compromises, and that there is no good or bad, only relative morals, what then? Do you suppose, then, that, holding no strong views on anything, we should accept everything, even in a compromised form? Then, we need no democracy, perhaps we don't even need a government, but what we have left is simply a mockery, a degradation of man, unwilling to form any strong opinion, and forever ready to compromise, what we have, then, is a monolithic society, a society that may well be the same single man multiplied, a nation of cowards unwilling to assert themselves individually, and all aberration smoothed away. This conformity is simply wretchedness, we are no longer individuals with personal beliefs, we are simply an extension of the community, and any sign of individualism must be done away with. Some community excise their member, yours just pressure people to do away with their own political beliefs by battering away any element that seems too extreme with the opinion of the rest of the public, leaving behind only what is acceptable to the common opinion.
Posted 8/14/12 , edited 8/14/12

lordseth23 wrote:


longfenglim wrote:



Does this empathy requires that a man relinquish strong opinions of his own? No matter how much we understand each other, if we disagree strongly over something, we will still disagree. No amount of forced uniformity in thought will ever change that.


It may be impossible like you say, but if two people exhibited total empathy towards one another, then there would be no disagreements at all. The disagreements that arise in the political arena are ones that express conflicting viewpoints in moral intuitions, which definitely do seem to be unsolvable due to the validity of both veiwpoints. But if everyone took the time to truly understand the various moral matrices there are, then there would be compromises to accomodate various moral foundations and ultimately an agreed upon method of dealing with any issue.
Emotional intelligence through empathy isn't objective problem-solving through critical-thinking, because institutionalized organization like the US government is a cultural one, that they actually share the same viewpoint: 1)conflict avoidance and 2)willful blindness.

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree
Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers -- and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

But it strikes me that the biggest problems we face, many of the biggest disasters that we've experienced, mostly haven't come from individuals, they've come from organizations, some of them bigger than countries, many of them capable of affecting hundreds, thousands, even millions of lives. So how do organizations think? Well, for the most part, they don't. And that isn't because they don't want to, it's really because they can't. And they can't because the people inside of them are too afraid of conflict. In surveys of European and American executives, fully 85 percent of them acknowledged that they had issues or concerns at work that they were afraid to raise. Afraid of the conflict that that would provoke, afraid to get embroiled in arguments that they did not know how to manage, and felt that they were bound to lose. Eighty-five percent is a really big number. It means that organizations mostly can't do what George and Alice so triumphantly did. They can't think together. And it means that people like many of us, who have run organizations, and gone out of our way to try to find the very best people we can, mostly fail to get the best out of them. -Margaret Heffernan
Make no mistake, empathy doesn't get us to a practical solution for a moral problem, it only smooth out superficial conflicts and foster collaboration. Every social animals can do that without themselves forming a government

Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals
Empathy, cooperation, fairness and reciprocity -- caring about the well-being of others seems like a very human trait. But Frans de Waal shares some surprising videos of behavioral tests, on primates and other mammals, that show how many of these moral traits all of us share.
And so can we as social animals, without ourselves becoming politicians.

Paul Zak: Trust, morality -- and oxytocin
What drives our desire to behave morally? Neuroeconomist Paul Zak shows why he believes oxytocin (he calls it "the moral molecule") is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that help build a stable society.
And right now none of their political tools can work, simply because their shared viewpoint is wrongheaded, and none of them are willing to change their minds.

Barry Schwartz: Using our practical wisdom
In an intimate talk, Barry Schwartz dives into the question "How do we do the right thing?" With help from collaborator Kenneth Sharpe, he shares stories that illustrate the difference between following the rules and truly choosing wisely.

So there is among many people -- certainly me and most of the people I talk to -- a kind of collective dissatisfaction with the way things are working, with the way our institutions run. Our kids' teachers seem to be failing them. Our doctors don't know who the hell we are, and they don't have enough time for us. We certainly can't trust the bankers, and we certainly can't trust the brokers. They almost brought the entire financial system down. And even as we do our own work, all too often, we find ourselves having to choose between doing what we think is the right thing and doing the expected thing, or the required thing, or the profitable thing. So everywhere we look, pretty much across the board, we worry that the people we depend on don't really have our interests at heart. Or if they do have our interests at heart, we worry that they don't know us well enough to figure out what they need to do in order to allow us to secure those interests. They don't understand us. They don't have the time to get to know us.

There are two kinds of responses that we make to this sort of general dissatisfaction. If things aren't going right, the first response is: let's make more rules, let's set up a set of detailed procedures to make sure that people will do the right thing. Give teachers scripts to follow in the classroom, so even if they don't know what they're doing and don't care about the welfare of our kids, as long as they follow the scripts, our kids will get educated. Give judges a list of mandatory sentences to impose for crimes, so that you don't need to rely on judges using their judgment. Instead, all they have to do is look up on the list what kind of sentence goes with what kind of crime. Impose limits on what credit card companies can charge in interest and on what they can charge in fees. More and more rules to protect us against an indifferent, uncaring set of institutions we have to deal with.

Or -- or maybe and -- in addition to rules, let's see if we can come up with some really clever incentives so that, even if the people we deal with don't particularly want to serve our interests, it is in their interest to serve our interest -- the magic incentives that will get people to do the right thing even out of pure selfishness. So we offer teachers bonuses if the kids they teach score passing grades on these big test scores that are used to evaluate the quality of school systems.

Rules and incentives -- "sticks" and "carrots." We passed a bunch of rules to regulate the financial industry in response to the recent collapse. There's the Dodd-Frank Act, there's the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency that is temporarily being headed through the backdoor by Elizabeth Warren. Maybe these rules will actually improve the way these financial services companies behave. We'll see. In addition, we are struggling to find some way to create incentives for people in the financial services industry that will have them more interested in serving the long-term interests even of their own companies, rather than securing short-term profits. So if we find just the right incentives, they'll do the right thing -- as I said -- selfishly, and if we come up with the right rules and regulations, they won't drive us all over a cliff. And Ken [Sharpe] and I certainly know that you need to reign in the bankers. If there is a lesson to be learned from the financial collapse it is that.

But what we believe, and what we argue in the book, is that there is no set of rules, no matter how detailed, no matter how specific, no matter how carefully monitored and enforced, there is no set of rules that will get us what we need. Why? Because bankers are smart people. And, like water, they will find cracks in any set of rules. You design a set of rules that will make sure that the particular reason why the financial system "almost-collapse" can't happen again. It is naive beyond description to think that having blocked this source of financial collapse, you have blocked all possible sources of financial collapse. So it's just a question of waiting for the next one and then marveling at how we could have been so stupid as not to protect ourselves against that.
-Barry Schwartz

TEDxMidwest - Edie Weiner - Not Recession But Transformation
Futurist Edie Weiner examines the accelerated speed of change and how that has ushered us into the "Emotile Economy" . She astutely illustrates that we are not in a recession, rather a fundamental transformation comprised of eight key "spaces".

TEDxMidwest - Tony Schwartz - The Way We're Working Isn't Working
Time is finite. Tony Schwarz debunks the myth that "We are meant to run like computers; at high speeds for long periods of time". He eloquently outlines how the reality of renewing our personal energy is just as important as expending it. This discipline grants value to rest which ultimately allows us to manage more skillful lives.
None of those viewpoints were on either parties' agendas, so as a consequence none of their mindsets will be challenged nor changed. Why? Because they willfully turned a blind eye on the rest of the public who's got nothing to vote for, when they can no longer trust their own government's polices to work.

Ivan Krastev: Can democracy exist without trust?
Five great revolutions have shaped political culture over the past 50 years, says theorist Ivan Krastev. He shows how each step forward -- from the cultural revolution of the ‘60s to recent revelations in the field of neuroscience -- has also helped erode trust in the tools of democracy. As he says, "What went right is also what went wrong." Can democracy survive?

And this is a rainy election day in a small country -- that can be my country, but could be also your country. And because of the rain until four o'clock in the afternoon, nobody went to the polling stations. But then the rain stopped, people went to vote. And when the votes had been counted, three-fourths of the people have voted with a blank ballot. The government and the opposition, they have been simply paralyzed. Because you know what to do about the protests. You know who to arrest, who to negotiate with. But what to do about people who are voting with a blank ballot? So the government decided to have the elections once again. And this time even a greater number, 83 percent of the people, voted with blank ballots. Basically they went to the ballot boxes to tell that they have nobody to vote for.

This is the opening of a beautiful novel by Jose Saramago called "Seeing." But in my view it very well captures part of the problem that we have with democracy in Europe these days. On one level nobody's questioning that democracy is the best form of government. Democracy is the only game in town. The problem is that many people start to believe that it is not a game worth playing.

For the last 30 years, political scientists have observed that there is a constant decline in electoral turnout, and the people who are least interested to vote are the people whom you expect are going to gain most out of voting. I mean the unemployed, the under-privileged. And this is a major issue. Because especially now with the economic crisis, you can see that the trust in politics, that the trust in democratic institutions, was really destroyed. According to the latest survey being done by the European Commission, 89 percent of the citizens of Europe believe that there is a growing gap between the opinion of the policy-makers and the opinion of the public. Only 18 percent of Italians and 15 percent of Greeks believe that their vote matters. Basically people start to understand that they can change governments, but they cannot change policies.
-Ivan Krastev
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