Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why I Weep for Democracy

The great thing about popular government is that the people get the leader that they want. The horrible thing is that the people get the leader that they want.

The way the system works, the candidates have to compete for the smallest common denominator in order to clinch a victory.

And here he is:

Or, as the BBC puts it, the redneck vote.

The great, befuddled masses of America, yearning to elect the world's most powerful leader as if it were American Idol vote. Oh rapture. And marching to the polls with some seriously underthought and inadequate beliefs, anxious to impose them on everyone else.

The article has an excellent summary of exactly what beliefs they'll try to vote into office this fall:
"Belief that no law is above God's law, not even the US Constitution."
And we've seen how well this has been working so far - abstinence-only sex ed, creationism (and attempts to blot out actual science education), marriage denied to homosexuals, etc. And the great thing about the "God's law" bit is that any social engineering disaster can be justified by appealing to God's will, no matter how wrong the call is or harmful the consequences. And since these opinions are presumed to come directly from God (rather than the fallible people who actually came up with this stuff), it's a showstopper for debate or even doubt that such policies are feasible. So, there's simply no reasoning with such ardent crusaders, they simply will not stop until their puritanical notions dominate both government and society as a whole, and they don't care who suffers as a result.
"Hyper patriotism. A fighting defence of native land, home and heart, even when it is not actually threatened: ie, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Haiti and dozens more with righteous operations titles such as Enduring Freedom, Restore Hope, and Just Cause."
Essentially, believing that just about any war is justified as a "defense" of America, even if it isn't. We've seen that with the Iraq War. A repeat of the experience would be disastrous.
"A love of guns and tremendous respect for the warrior ideal. Along with this comes a strong sense of fealty and loyalty. Fealty to wartime leaders, whether it be FDR or George Bush.
And we saw this unconditional "loyalty" during Iraq, fawning over a guy in a flight suit for his photo op and cheering on the carnage as the casualties mount. That's not fealty, that's insanity.
"Belief that most things outside our own community and nation are inferior and threatening, that the world is jealous of the American lifestyle."
Good ol' fashioned arrogance and xenophobia. Us Americans mostly really do have great living standards compared to much of the world, but only an idiot would say that our way of life is superior in every possible way to every other country on the planet. Our influence in world affairs is massive, but we simply can't live as though the rest of the world is beneath us. We have to work together to build a better world, not hide from it.

I'm really not looking forward to this year's elections, and I made the mistake of bringing it up with people. A black woman said she was voting for Obama because he's black, and later on that day, a white man said he was voting for McCain because he's white. Go USA.

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