Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Democratic”

First Presidential Debate

Tonight is the first presidential debate.  I feel somewhat ashamed to say that I am excited. It is hype. There are strict rules, two very intelligent men have been prepping for sometime with teams of equally very intelligent professionals. 

I love sports, most sports, and it doesn’t take me long to get absorbed in a game on TV. Both teams or adversaries train and prepare for their specific opponent and we don’t know what the outcome will be, who will win, and what unexpected tactic or moment of brilliance will lead to the winning goal, points or knock out.

When you look at it objectively (and of course none of us do), this is one big show for the floating voter. I have mixed feelings regarding the floating voter, the undecided, and the independents. 

On the one hand I admire people who insist on analyzing policies or the integrity of a candidate, but are they really floating? A recent NPR clip interviewed several young independents, and after a few questions, declared them to be democrats. A friend who was listening with me commented wryly: “That’s obvious. These are thinking people.”

Having said that, I can understand why someone might change their vote because their circumstances have changed. A Republican supporter might have suffered from losing their savings, their house, or their job, without any hope of recuperating their losses, and consider the democratic agenda to be more reflective of their circumstances. A democratic voter might have come into considerable money, found God, or just set themselves up as a small businessperson, and figure the Republican agenda will help them.

Just to be clear, there are religious liberals and democratic entrepreneurs, and I am sure people who suffered from the Republicans irresponsible fiscal policies but stay Republican because of their values. 

If the candidates and their parties are not offering anything new, why are people undecided? We have spent a long time analyzing their policies, backgrounds, comments, and actions. And does it matter who wins the White House if the balance of Congress makes everything a stalemate anyway?

I have nothing to fall back on than sports and entertainment. This is what I would love to see happen:

Popcorn, anyone?

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

The Third Choice – Roger Ingalls

We may have a legitimate third choice for President come November 2012. There’s an interesting movement underway giving all registered voters delegate power to select a candidate that will be placed on the presidential ticket. We’ll all have a chance to vote our choice during an online convention.

Before explaining further, I want to point something out about our traditional caucus/primary system that selects who goes on to the presidential ticket. California is the largest economy in the United States and if it were a country, it would be the eighth largest economic power in the world. However, California has no say when it comes to who should be on the Democratic or Republican ticket because the game is over before its primary takes place. For example: Mitt Romney is a virtual lock for the Republican Party but California’s primary is still six weeks away. The people behind the biggest U.S. economy have no choice… that’s ridiculous.

This new movement is called Americans Elect. Their goal is to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to the people and not a political system. Their slogan is, “select a president not a party”. To date, they have collected enough signatures in 25 states allowing the candidate selected during the online convention to be placed on the ballot in those states. It is forecasted that the signature quota will be met for all 50 states.

The concept behind Americans Elect is good. Our current process to elect a president is archaic and unfair to many regions of the country. Modernizing the process would save money, create election security and provide real choice and fairness for all. With that said, Americans Elect may be an elaborate setup to split votes in the 2012 election. Some of the original monetary backers behind the movement will not identify themselves. The Democratic Party’s demographic tends to be younger, more educated and open to change so they would be more likely to endorse Americans Elect. Conservatives may not recognize the true value of the movement or, in typical fashion, shy away from change. If only liberals and moderates jump onboard, it would fracture the Democrats and hand the election to the conservatives.

Conceptually, I like what Americans Elect is trying to do. It gives some power back to the people. Below are links to videos and their website. What do you think?

Website  http://www.americanselect.org/

Overview  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuYKHnAVJ-Y

PBS Report  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXPLYCPJnWU

CNN Report  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYjnmpBwYd8

Redefining the U.S. Government – Roger Ingalls

Picture from theviewspaper.net

How would an honest educator define the current U.S. form of government to a body of students? This is the question I’ve asked myself while trying to fall asleep, night after night. The key word in the above question is “honest”.

The U.S. is no longer a true democracy or republic. Our government has latently morphed over the past 30 years into a dual-form system. It’s similar to the Constitutional Monarchy found in the United Kingdom except the power and ceremonial aspects are reversed.

In a modern Constitutional Monarchy, the democratically elected politicians are the true governing body (Parliament, Congress, President, Prime Minister…) and the Monarchy or Royal Family act as ceremonial figures.

In the current U.S. form of government, elected officials are a ceremonial by-product of a ritual balloting process that provides no positive impact on the voting public. Casting a vote is now just a feel-good public ceremony that pays homage to the concept of democracy.

Unlike the United Kingdom, a group-Monarchy or, more accurately, Plutarchy is the real governing power in the United States. Elected politicians are controlled by the wealthy for the wealthy. They’re influenced and financed through campaign contributions by famous and influential individuals, CEOs, corporations, financial institutions and Wall Street players. Essentially, politicians are personal policy generators for the wealthy few.

Accurately defining our current form of government: Pseudo-Democratic Plutarchy is a form of government in which power effectively rests with the wealthy via financial control over political candidates and propaganda means (Main Stream Media). The wealthy finance their desired group of candidates which effectively pre-selects favorable agents. The final selection is left to the voting public in a ceremonial pageant resembling a democratic election.

Pseudo-Democratic Plutarchy: A product of conservative deregulation.

—————————————————–

Roger Ingalls is well traveled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

The Pied Pipering of America

We’ve all heard the old world story about the Pied Piper—the one where the elders hire the colorful clown to rid the village of pesky rats and when there’s a payment dispute the Pied Piper plays the magic flute once again. But this time he leads the villagers’ naïve children to their death. Historians say it’s a symbolic retelling of the Black Death during the dark ages.

Is America being led into a new dark age? Some say we are and point to our increasing ills: a corrupt Supreme Court privately entertained by corporations, White House-sanctioned torture, economic growth based on the perpetual selling of debt, increased reliance on finite resources, political agendas financed by big business and the Reaganomic elimination of the middle class.

Who are the Pied Pipers leading the American death march? Who’s paying these pipers? But more importantly, who are the naïve followers of the piper?

The Republican masses can be likened to lemmings. They are easily manipulated into followship pacts even when the end result or cause is nonsensical. This is primarily due to a common education level and conservative conditioning.

The education breakdown of the Republican population fits into a Gaussian distribution curve that is centered at the high school level. Since the bulk of the Republican followship has a mid-level education there is a lack of critical thinking typically associated with higher education. In contrast, the Democrat population has a bimodal distribution with peaks occurring in the disenchanted and critical thinking areas— these groups lack a followship mentality.

In addition, Cognitive Science tells us that Republicans have an authoritarian mind set. Their hierarchical structure begins with God and descends to country, father, mother, children, pets and so on. This conservative conditioning creates obedience, especially toward authoritarian leaders.

The Pied Pipering of America has been made easy by the Republican Party. Their authoritarian conditioning and lack of critical thinking creates a simple-minded mass followship. This is a Pied Piper’s dream. With a single playing of the political flute the whole group can be steered toward the highest bidder.

How do we fix this? Should we fix this?

-Roger Ingalls

——————————————————————-

Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

People Making A Difference: Peter Allen

Peter Allen will stand for Attorney General of California on November 2nd. He is the Green Party candidate and, in the interest of disclosure, a friend of mine.

As a college student in London, I crossed the line from the Labor Party to the Green Party. The Ecology Party, as it was known then, was just forming. I was met with derision from my fellow left wing students and smirked at by students who supported the Conservative Party.

In the end, it was all my fault that Labor failed to win a working class constituency back from the Tories (They actually doubled their majority). It had nothing to do with the fact that the Conservatives had bribed the people renting government houses by offering them the chance to buy their houses even though many could not afford the costs. Sounds familiar?

There is a lot that makes sense on Peter’s website. As I made my way through it I couldn’t help feeling that there is little in his agenda that people would disagree with. The main challenge is making the decision to vote outside of Democratic/Republican lines. It is a tough one and I can offer very little.

However, at some point, we need to send a message to the main parties that their complacency is what is breaking the system, and keeping it broken.

More on Peter’s policies in future posts, but for now, might I suggest you check out his blog at http://peterallenforag.blogspot.com/.

Hear Peter on KQED along with all the other candidates except the Republican who declined to be on the broadcast (Kamala Harris gets the first half hour and is also impressive). Whatever his reason, I wish to share my admiration for Michael Krasny as a moderator. I have listened to radio moderators all over the world and Mr. Krasny stands head and shoulder above the rest.

Finally, for those of you wondering if you are brave enough to leave the two party system (and everyone else), enjoy this song from Billy Bragg (the song begins at 1 minute 20 seconds if you want to skip the intro).


——————————————————————————————————-

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: