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Spartan

Disillusionment and Disgust

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I find myself completely disillusioned at this point.

 

There was a time I had hope for this country; a real sense of optimism that we, as a people, would always strive to be better than the generation before; to learn from our mistakes and seek to always endeavor to elevate ourselves in our commitment to equality and prosperity for all Americans, and the protection of the rights and liberties of all.

 

From the beginning, I gravitated towards more liberal philosophies: equality regardless of race.  The rights of women to make their own decisions about their bodies and to be treated equally to men in the workplace.  To protect the environment and combat the dangers of climate change.  To create a better health care system.  I have always believed in the idea of Freedom and Liberty and have always fought for it for all Americans. 

 

The moment I was old enough to vote I registered as a Democrat and began working towards the election of Democratic candidates; but I remember when Republicans and Democrats could actually talk to one another.  You could disagree on some issues but still be friends.  I used to find it incredibly stimulating and rewarding to discuss different issues with people of disparate viewpoints, and to find common ground with them.  People weren't so knee-jerk partisan either; I have known Republicans who were fervent environmentalists and Democrats who opposed universal healthcare... and you could TALK about these differences without those differences becoming personal.

 

Today, the political discourse in this country has been destroyed.  You can't have an intelligent conversation anymore.  Some people cringe when the topic of politics come up, horrified that even if they agree with you on 99% the moment you find out they disagree with you on issue x you'll immediately explode and begin telling them what a worthless excuse for a human being they are.

 

Worse... I believe our form of government itself is on the verge of collapse.  The political parties are both thoroughly corrupted and fragmented.  Extremism is the rule rather than the exception.  Even if you are a member of the same political party you will be attacked and vilified for deviating from the other person's views in even the most rudimentary of ways.  People are leaving the primary political parties in droves and declaring themselves independents.  More Americans hold partisan politics in abject contempt - and for good reason - than identify as Republican or Democrat.  More Americans chose to not vote in the last election than actually voted... and we all know what that led to.  

 

The last presidential election saw the two most unpopular politicians in history both somehow winning their respective parties' nominations for President, and the outcome installed the most vile and putrid creature this nation has ever seen into the White House.  His actions since taking office have been reprehensible and worse than the worst-case scenarios imagined... and there is still no cohesive opposition to him!  He's so bad he's actually brought out the schisms within the Republican party and under ordinary circumstances that party should be on the verge of complete collapse... and the only reason that hasn't happened is because the Democratic party - MY party - is in even worse shape!  We are torn by infighting and conflict and our party leadership demonstrating the worst behaviors of a type we expect to see in our opposition, not in our own leadership!!  Many are leaving the Democrats and clamoring for the creation of a new party.  I don't believe in fracturing the only viable alternative to alt-right Republicanism... but I'm becoming ever more certain my party doesn't represent what I believe any more... and that there is no one who speaks for me and people like me anymore.  Again, I can talk to someone and be in complete agreement with them... but when they find out I, for instance, don't believe in gun control and think it's a mistake for Democrats to continue pushing it, I'm called a racist and an alt-right nutjob and a laundry list of other pejoratives that make me dig in my heels and close my mind to anything THEY might have to say... even the common ground parts... and that saddens me.

 

When I first started posting on internet forums (more years ago than I care to admit even to myself) one could still find stimulating give and take and rational conversation.  Not any more.  I'm coming to realize just how much of my free time I've let be burned away by trying to find a way to have an honest and respectful conversation with people who just aren't interested in hearing what anyone has to say unless it's what they want to hear, and all that's been achieved is a hardening of my heart and a chilling of my belief that we can ever be better than we were again.

 

So, with that, I bow out and remove myself from the conversation.  Good luck to us all; may we one day find our way again.

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"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

 

Imagine you were an opponent of slavery living in the south in the 1850's. Imagine you were a 'good German' living in Germany in the 1930's. It's not quite THAT bad.


It might get worse before it gets better. OK, there's not much question it will. In fact, there's no indication how it will get better.

 

But people doing that they can against the wrong direction can at least reduce the problem.

 

trump barely won by very small numbers in a few states not voting the right way. That could have easily been changed despite all their advantages. And people who are against trump not even voting in huge numbers easily let him win. The people need to organize against the organization of the plutocrats - while they can. Democracy is a lucky historical accident.

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28 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

 

Imagine you were an opponent of slavery living in the south in the 1850's. Imagine you were a 'good German' living in Germany in the 1930's. It's not quite THAT bad.


It might get worse before it gets better. OK, there's not much question it will. In fact, there's no indication how it will get better.

 

But people doing that they can against the wrong direction can at least reduce the problem.

 

trump barely won by very small numbers in a few states not voting the right way. That could have easily been changed despite all their advantages. And people who are against trump not even voting in huge numbers easily let him win. The people need to organize against the organization of the plutocrats - while they can. Democracy is a lucky historical accident.

 

There was a time when I saw things the way you do.  I had hope (an ever shrinking sliver of it, to be honest).

 

We have a government that is beholden, not to the will of the people, but the monied elite.  The banks and their owners control the purse strings of the nation and they manipulate things at will; wielding more power than any elected official.  They manipulate elections, they manufacture recessions and depressions, and create conflict that feeds war and tyranny, and they fill their pockets on blood money year after year, and they sow discontent and division in hopes of deepening the divides in this nation.  We see what is almost a balkanization of the American people, with state turning against state and people turning on their neighbors.  Where does it end?  With Donald Trump, for God's sake??

 

Until we realize that the politics today is nothing but bread and circuses for the masses and the real reins of power are being held by a shadowy cabal of bankers and corporations - and until we can figure out how to fight that - we will never truly be free or in control of our destiny again.  You said "Democracy is a lucky historical accident"... and I fear our democracy may already be truly dead.

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You're not wrong - except I'm not sure you fully appreciate how bad things have been in the past also. Some parts have gotten worse, such as legalized unlimited money in elections and undertaxing the rich creating new records in plutocracy that will get worse; and some better, such as better information easily available than ever before.

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19 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

You're not wrong - except I'm not sure you fully appreciate how bad things have been in the past also. Some parts have gotten worse, such as legalized unlimited money in elections and undertaxing the rich creating new records in plutocracy that will get worse; and some better, such as better information easily available than ever before.

 

Oh, I acknowledge that things aren't as bad as at some key points in the past.... but I see us on a path for things to get that bad, or even worse.  The money in elections and taxation that favors the ultrawealthy indeed indicated growing domination of the average citizen by the totalitarian oligarchs.  And better information being available than ever before is countered by the huge explosion of false propaganda and manipulation of the people through media that is happening.  People don't have the will to really try to separate the wheat from the chaff, and too many only listen to that which they want to hear.

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4 hours ago, Spartan said:

 

I find myself completely disillusioned at this point.

 

There was a time I had hope for this country; a real sense of optimism that we, as a people, would always strive to be better than the generation before; to learn from our mistakes and seek to always endeavor to elevate ourselves in our commitment to equality and prosperity for all Americans, and the protection of the rights and liberties of all.

 

From the beginning, I gravitated towards more liberal philosophies: equality regardless of race.  The rights of women to make their own decisions about their bodies and to be treated equally to men in the workplace.  To protect the environment and combat the dangers of climate change.  To create a better health care system.  I have always believed in the idea of Freedom and Liberty and have always fought for it for all Americans. 

 

The moment I was old enough to vote I registered as a Democrat and began working towards the election of Democratic candidates; but I remember when Republicans and Democrats could actually talk to one another.  You could disagree on some issues but still be friends.  I used to find it incredibly stimulating and rewarding to discuss different issues with people of disparate viewpoints, and to find common ground with them.  People weren't so knee-jerk partisan either; I have known Republicans who were fervent environmentalists and Democrats who opposed universal healthcare... and you could TALK about these differences without those differences becoming personal.

 

Today, the political discourse in this country has been destroyed.  You can't have an intelligent conversation anymore.  Some people cringe when the topic of politics come up, horrified that even if they agree with you on 99% the moment you find out they disagree with you on issue x you'll immediately explode and begin telling them what a worthless excuse for a human being they are.

 

Worse... I believe our form of government itself is on the verge of collapse.  The political parties are both thoroughly corrupted and fragmented.  Extremism is the rule rather than the exception.  Even if you are a member of the same political party you will be attacked and vilified for deviating from the other person's views in even the most rudimentary of ways.  People are leaving the primary political parties in droves and declaring themselves independents.  More Americans hold partisan politics in abject contempt - and for good reason - than identify as Republican or Democrat.  More Americans chose to not vote in the last election than actually voted... and we all know what that led to.  

 

The last presidential election saw the two most unpopular politicians in history both somehow winning their respective parties' nominations for President, and the outcome installed the most vile and putrid creature this nation has ever seen into the White House.  His actions since taking office have been reprehensible and worse than the worst-case scenarios imagined... and there is still no cohesive opposition to him!  He's so bad he's actually brought out the schisms within the Republican party and under ordinary circumstances that party should be on the verge of complete collapse... and the only reason that hasn't happened is because the Democratic party - MY party - is in even worse shape!  We are torn by infighting and conflict and our party leadership demonstrating the worst behaviors of a type we expect to see in our opposition, not in our own leadership!!  Many are leaving the Democrats and clamoring for the creation of a new party.  I don't believe in fracturing the only viable alternative to alt-right Republicanism... but I'm becoming ever more certain my party doesn't represent what I believe any more... and that there is no one who speaks for me and people like me anymore.  Again, I can talk to someone and be in complete agreement with them... but when they find out I, for instance, don't believe in gun control and think it's a mistake for Democrats to continue pushing it, I'm called a racist and an alt-right nutjob and a laundry list of other pejoratives that make me dig in my heels and close my mind to anything THEY might have to say... even the common ground parts... and that saddens me.

 

When I first started posting on internet forums (more years ago than I care to admit even to myself) one could still find stimulating give and take and rational conversation.  Not any more.  I'm coming to realize just how much of my free time I've let be burned away by trying to find a way to have an honest and respectful conversation with people who just aren't interested in hearing what anyone has to say unless it's what they want to hear, and all that's been achieved is a hardening of my heart and a chilling of my belief that we can ever be better than we were again.

 

So, with that, I bow out and remove myself from the conversation.  Good luck to us all; may we one day find our way again.

 

I am sorry to see you go and I wish I could say something to change your mind. I thank you for what you contributed here and wish you the best. Farewell.....

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The political machinery to take back our Nation from the Plutocrats, is still intact.  The conversion of our Nation to a Plutocracy is still in process. 

 

However:

The extreme degree to which our elected representatives have succumbed to Plutocracy in the last 30 years is truly alarming ...  They have allowed themselves and their elected voting power to be bought.   Equally outrageous is  the resolve of a cadre of the ultra wealthy to turn themselves into aristocracy and convert the vast majority into bereft and dependent serfs. 

 

Particularly dismaying is how successful they have been, in a relatively short time, using legalized bribery to subvert elected officials to their will and use those same officials, plus an army of talking heads, to polarize the population into opposing camps:-- ideological, racial, ethnic and religious.  Thus diverting attention from their takeover.

 

We are at the point where elections are highly influenced by Big Money, which has, admittedly, been successful in winning controlling majorities in every branch of the Federal government and a majority of state congresses and governors. Cheating and dirty tricks have been part of the corruption process too.

 

But we have not yet reached the point where elections are a sham.   And although the Plutocratic takeover has the advantage of momentum, it can still be reversed, bloodlessly.  The next few election cycles will be crucial.  That's why this is no time to give up.

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Very encouraging, positive results tonight for Democrats in Virginia.  A demonstration that the status quo be CAN flipped.  And that election rigging does not necessarily rule, especially when winning margins are large enough.

 

https://www.dailykos.com/blogs/elections/?detail=emaildkbn

Quote

Tuesday, Nov 7, 2017 · 6:48:32 PM MST · David Nir

The strong night for Democrats keeps rolling on. Team Blue has so far held the crucial governor's race in Virginia and has already picked up six seats in the House of Delegates while leading in a number of other districts. Democrats have also flipped NJ-Gov and the mayoralty in Manchester, NH (the state’s biggest city) and also held the St. Petersburg, FL mayoralty in a tough race.

 

 

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11 hours ago, bludog said:

The political machinery to take back our Nation from the Plutocrats, is still intact.  The conversion of our Nation to a Plutocracy is still in process. 

 

However:

The extreme degree to which our elected representatives have succumbed to Plutocracy in the last 30 years is truly alarming ...  They have allowed themselves and their elected voting power to be bought.   Equally outrageous is  the resolve of a cadre of the ultra wealthy to turn themselves into aristocracy and convert the vast majority into bereft and dependent serfs. 

 

Particularly dismaying is how successful they have been, in a relatively short time, using legalized bribery to subvert elected officials to their will and use those same officials, plus an army of talking heads, to polarize the population into opposing camps:-- ideological, racial, ethnic and religious.  Thus diverting attention from their takeover.

 

We are at the point where elections are highly influenced by Big Money, which has, admittedly, been successful in winning controlling majorities in every branch of the Federal government and a majority of state congresses and governors. Cheating and dirty tricks have been part of the corruption process too.

 

But we have not yet reached the point where elections are a sham.   And although the Plutocratic takeover has the advantage of momentum, it can still be reversed, bloodlessly.  The next few election cycles will be crucial.  That's why this is no time to give up.

 

Bludog, I think phrases like how much elected representatives have 'allowed succumbed to Plutocracy' misstate the issue somewhat, in that it's pointing the finger at them as the cause, when the cause is rather the systemic change that only people who agree to support plutocracy can win elections for the most part, because of the money allowed.

 

Really, in theory you can go back at least to a 1920 book written titled 'Propaganda', which raised the alarm bells over this very issue by an author who watched the government turn public opinion around on entering WWI, sending thousands of speechgivers all around the country to talk to groups of citizens and convince them.

 

(This was combined with the Espionage Act, which jailed 1000 people, including presidential candidate Eugene Debs, for saying the wrong things - a law still on the books making speaking out against a war a crime punishable by a decade in prison, but not enforced much now. This law was the one being upheld in the famous 'fire in a crowded theater' ruling).

 

He made the point about the weakness of democracy of ill-informed citizens who are subject to being manipulated, and expressed concern democracy could be defeated by interested powerful parties that way. He had no idea about how much this would happen by today's billions poured into just that and the sophisticated 'think tanks' and media systems.

 

Around that time, Louis Brandeis was also saying a society can have democracy, or great concentration of wealth, but not both. That time, we picked FDR and democracy.

 

We still have the formal structure of democracy, as you said. But for how long, when it's so in the interests of the plutocrats to finally remove that threat was was put in place by the founding fathers for the purpose of defeating them? It's pretty important for the people to organize around populism - and electing Bernie in 2016 would have helped a lot.

 

trump showed just how easy it was for the ludicrous - a nutjob narcissist criminal to say a few things about how he's for the people and praise their religions and declare himself a populist, and actually win the presidency. While that particular horror will be hard to repeat, Republicans have won a thousand more seats nationally and are about one state short of being able to hold a constitutional convention and change the constitution any way they want without any Democrats. Talk about the threats of the people's interests only thinly being protected by the remaining scraps of the constitution the radical Republican Supreme Court hasn't destroyed.

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10 hours ago, bludog said:

Very encouraging, positive results tonight for Democrats in Virginia.  A demonstration that the status quo be CAN flipped.  And that election rigging does not necessarily rule, especially when winning margins are large enough.

 

https://www.dailykos.com/blogs/elections/?detail=emaildkbn

 

 

Sorry to rain on a parade, but that was a blue state electing a Democrat to follow the most unpopular governor in the country, Christie, and a slightly blue state (Hillary in 2016), Virginia, electing a centrist Democrat who was too far right for a big Democratic group to support and who defeated the progressive in the primary running against an establishment Republican.

 

As statewide races, they also bypassed the issue of Gerrymandering.

There is some good news in the elections, and reason to hope for an anti-trump backlash against Republicans, but backlash isn't enough.


We need the country to move toward progressive policies away from the right-wing propaganda, and that's an open question.

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2 hours ago, Craig234 said:

Bludog, I think phrases like how much elected representatives have 'allowed succumbed to Plutocracy' misstate the issue somewhat, in that it's pointing the finger at them as the cause, when the cause is rather the systemic change that only people who agree to support plutocracy can win elections for the most part, because of the money allowed.

 

This is a shallow point and detracts from the substance of how Plutocracy really works.

 

When elected officials devote their careers, not to public service, but to enriching themselves by taking legalized bribes from the wealthy and powerful, they have indeed "succumbed to Plutocracy".   What is Plutocracy, after all, but the purchase of government by the few, at the expense of the many.  There are elected representatives of of the people who actually represent their electorate and have not succumbed to the Plutocratic system.

 

As a scholar of modern US history, your subsequent points are valid and informative but in no way negate that many of  "our elected representatives have succumbed to Plutocracy".  To argue otherwise is splitting hairs.

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7 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

This is a shallow point and detracts from the substance of how Plutocracy really works.

 

When elected officials devote their careers, not to public service, but to enriching themselves by taking legalized bribes from the wealthy and powerful, they have indeed "succumbed to Plutocracy".   What is Plutocracy, after all, but the purchase of government by the few, at the expense of the many.  There are elected representatives of of the people who actually represent their electorate and have not succumbed to the Plutocratic system.

 

As a scholar of modern US history, your subsequent points are valid and informative but in no way negate that many of  "our elected representatives have succumbed to Plutocracy".  To argue otherwise is splitting hairs.

 

That's a rather unpleasant way to state a point, and I disagree that it's 'shallow' - the 'shallow' I think is more pointing the finger more at the politicians than the real causes.

 

I think you might be missing the point I was making - I'm not disagreeing that it's happening but saying the cause is systemic and not really about the politicians.

 

A crude analogy would be, imagine that we legalized murder for hire.

 

Would we say the problem is, many Americans have chosen to become murderers or to hire murderers - or would we we say the problem was the change in the law and its enforcement that had prevented them from doing so? It might seem at first glance like it's splitting hairs, but it's not, it's a pretty critical distinction. One 'hair' can solve the problem and one can't.

 

We'll never solve the problem of the political problem by trying to address the politicians who serve plutocracy - getting them to choose to not be in office, to run losing campaigns not serving the plutocrats, as long as the plutocrats are allowed to have strong advantages to recruiting candidates who serve them and getting them elected.

 

While the systemic problems are in place that Republicans put in place, the problem will exist. Perhaps an old quote is relevant - a Wall Street financier in the 1930's who said, 'I can always pay half of the poor to kill the other half'. Politicians who serve plutocrats are the symptom rather than the problem.

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Edit started but too late to edit: if it's not clear, I'm agreeing with the point you did make - that it's a big problem how we now have a government that's largely a phony democracy made of non-representatives who serve wealthy interests rather than the donors.

 

The issue I raised and found the comment in response rather annoying about is that we won't get anywhere only looking at the hired help as the problem - when the wealthy are allowed to buy elections, they're always going to find people willing to be hired to serve them.


And that it goes so far as being counter-productive to overly focus on the hired help as the problem as it distracts voters from the underlying causes, simply blaming the politicians, and makes it harder for them to unite in opposition to the real problems because they keep thinking they'll just hope for a good candidate next election, not realizing that they're unlikely to get that because the system has been so stacked in favor of the plutocrat-serving candidates. Plutocracy will feed on itself - the stronger it gets, the stronger it will get, shifting power from the people to the few again and again and again until democracy is gone.

 

How many analogies to help with the point?

If the Supreme Court declared slavery legal, would the problem be the people who took advantage and owned slaves (ya, to a point) or the systemic issue of it being allowed?

 

And ya, I'll end the point there because I'm kind of annoyed at that phrase from the previous post and that won't lead to anything good so I'll come back later.

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2 hours ago, Craig234 said:

That's a rather unpleasant way to state a point

 

Unfortunately, I find myself fighting fire with fire.

 

2 hours ago, Craig234 said:

How many analogies to help with the point?

 

Statements like this are not only "unpleasant" but gratuitous.  You could have made your point equally as well without it.

 

 

2 hours ago, Craig234 said:

 

We'll never solve the problem of the political problem by trying to address the politicians who serve plutocracy - getting them to choose to not be in office, to run losing campaigns not serving the plutocrats, as long as the plutocrats are allowed to have strong advantages to recruiting candidates who serve them and getting them elected.

 

This is the crux of the matter and I agree, somewhat. 

 

There are basically three groups involved:---  The Plutocracy ...  The Elected Officials ...  And The People.  Of the three, only elected officials can be removed from office.  Exposing their corruption makes them more vulnerable to be replaced.  While on-the-take politicians are in power, the laws can never be changed which will prevent Plutocrats from buying legislation.

We desperately need Campaign Finance Reform, which, at least, limits the size of donations and at best, funds limited-length campaigns with taxpayer money ... Or a combination.

 

One thing at a time:  In order to achieve Campaign Finance Reform which prevents legalized bribery, we first need to elect a president and congress that is willing to fight to change the system.  The same goes for the makeup of the Supreme Court. 

 

So, I agree, we need to disempower Plutocrats from buying government.  But to do that, we have to start by replacing elected officials who "succumb to Plutocracy"  We will never achieve Campaign Finance Reform without it.

 

To add:  The "murder for hire" analogy was particularly inapplicable since murderers wield so much less power than elected officials.  Also, murder and the immediate terror it generates much more easily identified as a problem, for most people, than Plutocracy.

Edited by bludog

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7 hours ago, Craig234 said:

Sorry to rain on a parade but that

 

Speaking of examples  of "unpleasant" statements.  This one was gratuitous and unnecessary.   The rest of the statement, with the prefix 'New Jersey', would have worked better.

 

7 hours ago, Craig234 said:

 

was a blue state electing a Democrat to follow the most unpopular governor in the country, Christie, and a slightly blue state (Hillary in 2016), Virginia, electing a centrist Democrat who was too far right for a big Democratic group to support and who defeated the progressive in the primary running against an establishment Republican.

 

As statewide races, they also bypassed the issue of Gerrymandering.

There is some good news in the elections, and reason to hope for an anti-trump backlash against Republicans, but backlash isn't enough.


We need the country to move toward progressive policies away from the right-wing propaganda, and that's an open question.

 

No one argues that Democrats are not in a deep hole, nationwide.  And that "We need the country to move toward progressive policies away from the right-wing propaganda" is, of course, indisputable to anyone who cares about the fate of the Ordinary People.

 

But let's look at what happened.  In Virginia Ralph Northam won the governor position by a wide margin.

 

The Democrats picked up 16 seats in the House of Delegates and 12 of the winners were women.

Quote

 

“Women power, that is what we’re seeing tonight,” said a jubilant Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, a year after perhaps the worst night in history for Democratic women. All of the Emily’s List–endorsed candidates won their state House races.

 

  Ralph Northam won the governor position, by a wide margin.

 

Quote

Though all of Virginia’s statewide elected officials are Democrats, the party has lagged in the state House: Republicans control 66 seats in the House of Delegates, Democrats only 34. But this year Democrats ran 54 challengers against GOP incumbents, up from only 21 in 2015. Of the 54, 31 were women—and 26 of those women were first-time candidates. An astonishing number of those first-time candidates defeated incumbent Republicans Tuesday night.

 

Voter turnout was way up.  And that's always a good sign for Democrats.

 

Also,  Virginia saw many new groups emerge  "founded in the wake of the 2016 disaster, raring to work on state-level races".  This bodes very well for future races, around the Country, especially in purple states.

 

And new strategies were tried, specifically aimed at taking back local governments.

Quote

“Our candidates in Virginia won because they ran smart campaigns that put voter-contact front and center and focused on local issues above all else,” said Amanda Litman, founder of Run for Something, a new Clinton-affiliated group that supported 10 Virginia state House candidates, six of whom won.

 

And lastly:  Anytime there is evidence of an anti-Trump backlash, it's a good thing for Progressives.

 

https://www.thenation.com/article/heres-why-democrats-won-big-in-virginia/

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3 hours ago, bludog said:

 

Unfortunately, I find myself fighting fire with fire.

 

Oops, deleted the rest of the quote, but it's right above.

 

I had not called your post 'shallow', so it was starting a fire, not fighting fire with fire. Admittedly my pointing out that the phrase would apply more the other direction, was 'fire with fire', not that I took any joy in that. Unfortunately the point seems lost.

 

I had said I thought that the focus on the politicians was misplaced instead of the systemic issues that greatly increases the chances of their being elected, but don't think I said it an insulting way. If you thought I had and it led you to post an insulting response - 'fire with fire' - I think that's the issue.

 

Nothing bad was meant by my saying 'how many analogies to make the point'. It was simply conversation in pointing out that I was asking out loud, whether the point was made by the first analogy, or would another similar one help the point be made more?

 

On to the issue - yes, three groups, the plutocracy, the politicians and the people - but really there's another group and/or issue that's pretty key here. you follow the mention of the three groups by saying only the politicians can be removed. And that's pretty right, but misses that the other part in the equation is the law, and the massive infrastructure that changes in the law have allowed to be created - the infrastructure by which the plutocrats affect public opinion, the billions of dollars spent on creating and distributing propaganda, on defeating democracy using advertising and media.

 

What's likely to be more effective to prevent the rule of plutocracy - it sounds like I'm leading to 'here's the right answer' but sadly it's not clear there is one. None seems to have a good chance.

 

I think I've advocated here before the thing you advocated - to try to educate voters, to help them see how they're misled (see my thread from yesterday on exactly that to right-wingers), and to organize - to use the power of the vote. But it's up against a powerful machine.

 

The right has intentionally set it up this way in order to try to use the advantage they have - money - to give them more power in elections and get around the intent of democracy, of one person one vote, and they've basically succeeded.

I asked here recently, even in this forum, in which we have a far better chance than in general society where most right-wingers don't listen to the left and the propaganda floods them, when we can talk to them free of that, when's the last time you saw a right-wing person change their opinion on an issue here? Ever? That's not an easy way to fix this.

 

The other way, the I was bringing up, I think would be more effective - but is now next to impossible to implement thanks to the Supreme Court. That is to put limits on the use of money in elections - e.g., to create real public financing, to create real equal media time for nominees, etc.

 

The Supreme Court has effectively banned the people from reigning in the use of the plutocrats' money, and it seems unlikely we'll get a constitutional amendment any time soon to fix that.

 

So sadly - we should try to get voters to vote against plutocracy and not fall for the right-wing propaganda machine, and we should try to find ways to fix the system including a constitutional amendment, but none of these are easy to do.

 

Some push in the right direction comes from changing demographics in the US, from young people having much more progressive views - but there's a chance that won't last as well.

 

For example, what if Republicans did a 180 next election and appealed to Hispanics, and cited Reagan's amnesty to show they're the real pro-Hispanic party and claim trump was an aberration? What if they appealed to young people by saying they'd forgive all student debt by reducing Medicare funding? Who knows what will happen.

 

Hopefully we can both agree the 'fire' stuff is not helpful; I'd rather you raised a concern if you felt there was fire than 'fought fire with fire'.

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3 hours ago, bludog said:

 

Speaking of examples  of "unpleasant" statements.  This one was gratuitous and unnecessary.   The rest of the statement, with the prefix 'New Jersey', would have worked better.

 

 

No one argues that Democrats are not in a deep hole, nationwide.  And that "We need the country to move toward progressive policies away from the right-wing propaganda" is, of course, indisputable to anyone who cares about the fate of the Ordinary People.

 

But let's look at what happened.  In Virginia Ralph Northam won the governor position by a wide margin.

 

The Democrats picked up 16 seats in the House of Delegates and 12 of the winners were women.

 

  Ralph Northam won the governor position, by a wide margin.

 

 

Voter turnout was way up.  And that's always a good sign for Democrats.

 

Also,  Virginia saw many new groups emerge  "founded in the wake of the 2016 disaster, raring to work on state-level races".  This bodes very well for future races, around the Country, especially in purple states.

 

And new strategies were tried, specifically aimed at taking back local governments.

 

And lastly:  Anytime there is evidence of an anti-Trump backlash, it's a good thing for Progressives.

 

https://www.thenation.com/article/heres-why-democrats-won-big-in-virginia/

 

I don't understand why you see the 'rain on a parade' phrase as 'gratuitous and unnecessary'. I was saying that I thought that the election results were not as a strong an indication of voter shift as the conventional wisdom is saying, and I think 'sorry to rain on a parade' is a pretty harmless introduction to that point. What was the problem?

 

Two pieces of info I didn't have when I posted were the house races and the Democratic voter turnout - I only had the governor's results. And I'm glad to say that I think we really can celebrate that good news.

 

The point that we need more than backlash wins is still an issue, but it's good that we at least get that backlash. And we rarely get a better chance for backlash than with someone as bad as trump and this Congress trying to take healthcare and pass the worst tax changes in decades.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

I only had the governor's results. And I'm glad to say that I think we really can celebrate that good news.

 

I don't want to continue quibbling about trifles.

 

It is good news.  And some the little of it we have heard in awhile.  Maybe the backlash and new Democratic organizations formed since last election, aimed at taking back local governments, will be the start of something new.  I'm hoping for the best.

 

 

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Oh, so now pointing out that some things that happened last night are more solid evidence of a strong showing for Democrats than others, is a 'trifle'.

 

Ya, the increased efforts by the party over 2016 to support more races than they had, reportedly, seems like a good thing, at the risk of pointing out another trifle.

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2 hours ago, Craig234 said:

Oh, so now pointing out that some things that happened last night are more solid evidence of a strong showing for Democrats than others, is a 'trifle'

 

The trifles I'm referring to are accusations, back and forth, of "unpleasant statements".

 

2 hours ago, Craig234 said:

Ya, the increased efforts by the party over 2016 to support more races than they had, reportedly, seems like a good thing, at the risk of pointing out another trifle.

 

Wow.

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Bluedog and Craig, thank you for your incredible ... truly incredible ... posts.  Seriously.

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11 hours ago, TruroBeth said:

Bluedog and Craig, thank you for your incredible ... truly incredible ... posts.  Seriously.

 

Why thank you Beth.  Glad you liked them.

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On 11/7/2017 at 11:18 AM, Spartan said:

 

I find myself completely disillusioned at this point.

 

There was a time I had hope for this country; a real sense of optimism that we, as a people, would always strive to be better than the generation before; to learn from our mistakes and seek to always endeavor to elevate ourselves in our commitment to equality and prosperity for all Americans, and the protection of the rights and liberties of all.

 

From the beginning, I gravitated towards more liberal philosophies: equality regardless of race.  The rights of women to make their own decisions about their bodies and to be treated equally to men in the workplace.  To protect the environment and combat the dangers of climate change.  To create a better health care system.  I have always believed in the idea of Freedom and Liberty and have always fought for it for all Americans. 

 

The moment I was old enough to vote I registered as a Democrat and began working towards the election of Democratic candidates; but I remember when Republicans and Democrats could actually talk to one another.  You could disagree on some issues but still be friends.  I used to find it incredibly stimulating and rewarding to discuss different issues with people of disparate viewpoints, and to find common ground with them.  People weren't so knee-jerk partisan either; I have known Republicans who were fervent environmentalists and Democrats who opposed universal healthcare... and you could TALK about these differences without those differences becoming personal.

 

Today, the political discourse in this country has been destroyed.  You can't have an intelligent conversation anymore.  Some people cringe when the topic of politics come up, horrified that even if they agree with you on 99% the moment you find out they disagree with you on issue x you'll immediately explode and begin telling them what a worthless excuse for a human being they are.

 

Worse... I believe our form of government itself is on the verge of collapse.  The political parties are both thoroughly corrupted and fragmented.  Extremism is the rule rather than the exception.  Even if you are a member of the same political party you will be attacked and vilified for deviating from the other person's views in even the most rudimentary of ways.  People are leaving the primary political parties in droves and declaring themselves independents.  More Americans hold partisan politics in abject contempt - and for good reason - than identify as Republican or Democrat.  More Americans chose to not vote in the last election than actually voted... and we all know what that led to.  

 

The last presidential election saw the two most unpopular politicians in history both somehow winning their respective parties' nominations for President, and the outcome installed the most vile and putrid creature this nation has ever seen into the White House.  His actions since taking office have been reprehensible and worse than the worst-case scenarios imagined... and there is still no cohesive opposition to him!  He's so bad he's actually brought out the schisms within the Republican party and under ordinary circumstances that party should be on the verge of complete collapse... and the only reason that hasn't happened is because the Democratic party - MY party - is in even worse shape!  We are torn by infighting and conflict and our party leadership demonstrating the worst behaviors of a type we expect to see in our opposition, not in our own leadership!!  Many are leaving the Democrats and clamoring for the creation of a new party.  I don't believe in fracturing the only viable alternative to alt-right Republicanism... but I'm becoming ever more certain my party doesn't represent what I believe any more... and that there is no one who speaks for me and people like me anymore.  Again, I can talk to someone and be in complete agreement with them... but when they find out I, for instance, don't believe in gun control and think it's a mistake for Democrats to continue pushing it, I'm called a racist and an alt-right nutjob and a laundry list of other pejoratives that make me dig in my heels and close my mind to anything THEY might have to say... even the common ground parts... and that saddens me.

 

When I first started posting on internet forums (more years ago than I care to admit even to myself) one could still find stimulating give and take and rational conversation.  Not any more.  I'm coming to realize just how much of my free time I've let be burned away by trying to find a way to have an honest and respectful conversation with people who just aren't interested in hearing what anyone has to say unless it's what they want to hear, and all that's been achieved is a hardening of my heart and a chilling of my belief that we can ever be better than we were again.

 

So, with that, I bow out and remove myself from the conversation.  Good luck to us all; may we one day find our way again.

 

Well written post. 

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How could I not agree with Spartan's post. Truly well written hitting many important points that affect all people here in the U.S. one way or the other. Compromise requires listening to all sides as Spartan suggests. The underlying problems are things we need to face together and it is true that 2016 was a dismal election where issues were not really addressed. Some were but by then it already could easily be sensed that the divide among people was already what it was, deeper and more deconstructing than any in my life time at least. 

 

You know, the things we want on any side of the aisle really are not that different for basic people. Nobody wants more abortion. Nobody wants religious intolerance. I would think everybody would want a better immigration policy that was thoughtful and tried to bring undocumented residents out of hiding so we could truly understand economically where we all stand, since we all want jobs and a better society where people are safe and the prison systems are not filled to the brim. 

 

Regarding regulation. We do need an honest approach to regulations across the board to determine which ones are wasteful and which ones would protect all of us more. How do we safeguard against the financial disaster of 2007/8, how do we protect ourselves from the crazy housing boom refinance craze that brought many folks down? 

 

These aren't easy questions. Some say Trump is a symptom of a larger disease that's come about after decades of harmful misinformation and greed/neglect from politicians as well as those who come from special interest groups. 

 

It's about the people. All the people. 

 

Peace!

 

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