cloudy_one: (Default)
As the elections creep up on us more and more I find myself seeing and hearing a lot more political impressions.  I find that one idea still has not changed even given the events of the last ten to twelve years.  People are still willing to vote for the lesser of two evils.  One person put it as the "lesser of two fascists."  These people are stupid.  I'm not one to get too wound up about things that aren't personal, but this pisses me off. 

A bit of context... I'm not an American citizen, and I can't vote.  I was born in Germany to two German parents (Holger and Gudrun) and moved to the United States after my mom divorced and then re-married to an American Soldier (Antonio).  I was between second and third grade when this happened.  Since then I've lived in America, in Kansas, Arizona, Tennessee, and now New Mexico.  I've been here long enough people tell me I have a Midwestern accent, I get funny looks when I explain I have a green card.  I have thought about where to live, country-wise.  I have a lot of family in Germany, and folks have expressed that they'd be willing to give me a place to stay until I adjust.  Of course as I've gotten older I've thought about other countries to move to with systems I believe in more.  In the end though I've chosen to stay in America.  I don't like how things are going here, politically, economically, militarily, etc. but I strongly believe in what this country stands for, or at least used to.  This was a country built on live and let live law.  The Bill of Rights enumerates and guarantees these rights.  Today, theoretically, the people still have a voice to change what they don't like.  That is why I choose to stay.  Eventually I plan to become a US citizen, because I feel like I can make a difference with a vote, be it cast at the ballot box or at the grocery store in the form of my hard-earned cash.  The downside to this plan is that it costs a hell of a lot of money to become a citizen and I just don't have that cash lying around yet.

Having said all that, I can't understand why people are still willing to put others into office that they don't believe in, and in some cases know will mess the country up even worse.  I don't like the idea of a basic theocracy forming due to the clowns on the Right.  I don't like the idea of a nanny/surveillance state being set up by the Left.  Because I don't like these ideas, it logically follows that I wouldn't vote for them.  These two premises ring true to most people that I've encountered (online and offline) and yet they don't draw the same conclusion.  This isn't the conclusion to all vote for the same third party candidate mind you, just a conclusion to NOT vote for the people we don't support. 

In my mind it's a matter of winning.  I hear over and over and over about how voting for a third party candidate is a waste of a vote.  I am currently resisting the urge to write a long string of expletives here.  "A third party candidate could never win so why bother voting for them, you might as well at least vote for someone who could actually win."  ....resisting the urge....  Who gives a rat's ass if the candidate you voted for wins if they still fuck up the country?  Congratulations, your "winning" vote helped constrict civil liberties.  Congratulations, your "winning" vote has helped America fall further into debt.  Congratulations, your "winning" vote has contributed to the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in a war no one wanted.  Aren't you PROUD of yourself?  The man (or woman) you voted for won the election, and you were a part of it.  This is why I get so pissed off when people complain about what's going on in the government, not just at the presidential level.  Most of the time THEY are the ones who voted them in.  There is no sympathy for the person who aided this situation.  I'll stand for the moaning and groaning if it comes from someone who actually had the cojones to vote for someone they believed in instead of helping to aid this mess. 

Then the argument of how no third party candidate could ever win.  There are a number of reasons for this.  One, most third parties, inexplicably, refuse to put up candidates for offices lower than presidency.  Sometimes it takes a low level grass roots effort to get people used to your stances.  It wouldn't hurt the Libertarians/ Green Party/ Constitutionalists/ etc. to try and get some folks in as town councilmen/ women, mayors, state government representatives, etc.  This is a much better way to spread your message, through action.  Then there's the numbers game, probably the biggest reason.  People are dumb.  You know why third party candidates don't win?  Because even though you like what they have to say you still vote for the idiot you keep complaining about.  It's logical to assert that if everyone who supported the ideas of a third party candidate actually voted for them, that candidate could very realistically win!  The other day I heard a classmate say they would vote for a third party candidate if they polled high enough.  This person has researched a particular candidate and is in love with his stances.  He still won't vote for him if he's not popular enough though.  People wonder why these amazing third party candidates can't gain traction; well, it's because of morons like these folks who find them, support them, and then don't vote for them.  So many Americans are slaves to the bandwagon effect, except they're not even the types of slaves in chains or at gunpoint, they're the type stuck in front of the TV who don't WANT to go out and explore the world.

If I could vote it would be for Gary Johnson.  I feel like his views reflect those of the majority of modern Americans.  They certainly reflect mine.  He is socially liberal.  The government has no place in our bedroom.  To this affect, he is in favor of legalizing marijuana, he is in favor of gay marriage, he is in favor of women's rights (including abortion and contraception), he is in favor of making the naturalization process easier for immigrants.  He is fiscally conservative.  He has a plan for a 2013 balanced budget.  43% budget cuts across the board.  This would close down unnecessary military bases across the globe, this would end our involvement in many foreign matters (he is in favor of an alliance with Israel).  This would close the IRS, the Department of Education (Education would become state-run instead of federally), and he would do away with so many of the "security" agencies created by the Patriot Act.  Federal funding would slim down (which is not sexy to a lot of people) which means less government hand-outs, but our government would no longer be owned by China.  We wouldn't turn into the New World Greece.  I understand that these things cannot (and should not) be done by one man and that this "Utopia" would not occur because these things have to be voted on by Congress; but I would feel a Hell of a lot better knowing that the fella I voted for is at least genuinely trying to move forward ideals I actually believe in.  But I guess that's just stupid, after all, he probably won't win anyway.
cloudy_one: (Default)
As the elections creep up on us more and more I find myself seeing and hearing a lot more political impressions.  I find that one idea still has not changed even given the events of the last ten to twelve years.  People are still willing to vote for the lesser of two evils.  One person put it as the "lesser of two fascists."  These people are stupid.  I'm not one to get too wound up about things that aren't personal, but this pisses me off. 

A bit of context... I'm not an American citizen, and I can't vote.  I was born in Germany to two German parents (Holger and Gudrun) and moved to the United States after my mom divorced and then re-married to an American Soldier (Antonio).  I was between second and third grade when this happened.  Since then I've lived in America, in Kansas, Arizona, Tennessee, and now New Mexico.  I've been here long enough people tell me I have a Midwestern accent, I get funny looks when I explain I have a green card.  I have thought about where to live, country-wise.  I have a lot of family in Germany, and folks have expressed that they'd be willing to give me a place to stay until I adjust.  Of course as I've gotten older I've thought about other countries to move to with systems I believe in more.  In the end though I've chosen to stay in America.  I don't like how things are going here, politically, economically, militarily, etc. but I strongly believe in what this country stands for, or at least used to.  This was a country built on live and let live law.  The Bill of Rights enumerates and guarantees these rights.  Today, theoretically, the people still have a voice to change what they don't like.  That is why I choose to stay.  Eventually I plan to become a US citizen, because I feel like I can make a difference with a vote, be it cast at the ballot box or at the grocery store in the form of my hard-earned cash.  The downside to this plan is that it costs a hell of a lot of money to become a citizen and I just don't have that cash lying around yet.

Having said all that, I can't understand why people are still willing to put others into office that they don't believe in, and in some cases know will mess the country up even worse.  I don't like the idea of a basic theocracy forming due to the clowns on the Right.  I don't like the idea of a nanny/surveillance state being set up by the Left.  Because I don't like these ideas, it logically follows that I wouldn't vote for them.  These two premises ring true to most people that I've encountered (online and offline) and yet they don't draw the same conclusion.  This isn't the conclusion to all vote for the same third party candidate mind you, just a conclusion to NOT vote for the people we don't support. 

In my mind it's a matter of winning.  I hear over and over and over about how voting for a third party candidate is a waste of a vote.  I am currently resisting the urge to write a long string of expletives here.  "A third party candidate could never win so why bother voting for them, you might as well at least vote for someone who could actually win."  ....resisting the urge....  Who gives a rat's ass if the candidate you voted for wins if they still fuck up the country?  Congratulations, your "winning" vote helped constrict civil liberties.  Congratulations, your "winning" vote has helped America fall further into debt.  Congratulations, your "winning" vote has contributed to the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in a war no one wanted.  Aren't you PROUD of yourself?  The man (or woman) you voted for won the election, and you were a part of it.  This is why I get so pissed off when people complain about what's going on in the government, not just at the presidential level.  Most of the time THEY are the ones who voted them in.  There is no sympathy for the person who aided this situation.  I'll stand for the moaning and groaning if it comes from someone who actually had the cojones to vote for someone they believed in instead of helping to aid this mess. 

Then the argument of how no third party candidate could ever win.  There are a number of reasons for this.  One, most third parties, inexplicably, refuse to put up candidates for offices lower than presidency.  Sometimes it takes a low level grass roots effort to get people used to your stances.  It wouldn't hurt the Libertarians/ Green Party/ Constitutionalists/ etc. to try and get some folks in as town councilmen/ women, mayors, state government representatives, etc.  This is a much better way to spread your message, through action.  Then there's the numbers game, probably the biggest reason.  People are dumb.  You know why third party candidates don't win?  Because even though you like what they have to say you still vote for the idiot you keep complaining about.  It's logical to assert that if everyone who supported the ideas of a third party candidate actually voted for them, that candidate could very realistically win!  The other day I heard a classmate say they would vote for a third party candidate if they polled high enough.  This person has researched a particular candidate and is in love with his stances.  He still won't vote for him if he's not popular enough though.  People wonder why these amazing third party candidates can't gain traction; well, it's because of morons like these folks who find them, support them, and then don't vote for them.  So many Americans are slaves to the bandwagon effect, except they're not even the types of slaves in chains or at gunpoint, they're the type stuck in front of the TV who don't WANT to go out and explore the world.

If I could vote it would be for Gary Johnson.  I feel like his views reflect those of the majority of modern Americans.  They certainly reflect mine.  He is socially liberal.  The government has no place in our bedroom.  To this affect, he is in favor of legalizing marijuana, he is in favor of gay marriage, he is in favor of women's rights (including abortion and contraception), he is in favor of making the naturalization process easier for immigrants.  He is fiscally conservative.  He has a plan for a 2013 balanced budget.  43% budget cuts across the board.  This would close down unnecessary military bases across the globe, this would end our involvement in many foreign matters (he is in favor of an alliance with Israel).  This would close the IRS, the Department of Education (Education would become state-run instead of federally), and he would do away with so many of the "security" agencies created by the Patriot Act.  Federal funding would slim down (which is not sexy to a lot of people) which means less government hand-outs, but our government would no longer be owned by China.  We wouldn't turn into the New World Greece.  I understand that these things cannot (and should not) be done by one man and that this "Utopia" would not occur because these things have to be voted on by Congress; but I would feel a Hell of a lot better knowing that the fella I voted for is at least genuinely trying to move forward ideals I actually believe in.  But I guess that's just stupid, after all, he probably won't win anyway.
cloudy_one: (Default)
I just finished up reading a political blog (http://hackwithablog.blogspot.com/) that I enjoy and it got me thinking a bit about my own beliefs with politics here in the States.  One of the first things that comes to mind is part of a lyric from a political song Sam likes.  It goes something like "elephants and asses controlling the masses."  The reason that comes to mind is because I think the two-party system is one of the most crippling things about politics in the US.  People think they have no other choice and so they vote for the "lesser of two evils."  I've heard people use those specific words more than once for several different elections over the years.  Some people don't even vote at all because of this system.  Worse than that, there's a trench that's been dug that third party candidates can't get out of, and that trench is the idea that you're throwing away your vote if you give it to them.  Despite most folks I know being tired of the way things are being run now, they're still going to vote for a Republican or a Democrat because otherwise they feel like their vote doesn't count.  I can't vote (I'm not a citizen), so I'll relay something that happened to Sam (hope she doesn't mind).  While at a very Liberal church politics came up.  This was during the 2008 Presidential Election.  When asked if she was voting for Obama, Sam said no.  Immediately the person she was talking to made an outraged face and complained: "how could you vote for McCain!?" Sam wasn't voting for McCain.  She said she was actually voting for a third party candidate (whom this other person had never heard of) and was promptly asked, "why would you throw away your vote like that?" 

That is why the two-party system is so dangerous.  It's perpetuated itself.  As this upcoming election takes shape I'm finding that none of the Republican candidates really have anything to offer.  Having said that, I wouldn't vote for Obama either.  I would put the vote toward a Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson (http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/)  He was originally running as a Republican but was edged out of the debates and not supported by his party when he asked for their help.  Seems to me that had he had support from the Republican party he probably would have stood a better chance of winning than he does now having moved over.  That's not because his beliefs have changed, they haven't, but people would have recognized the main party line. 

Of course there are those who might say that it shouldn't matter to me, I can't vote anyway.  I do plan on becoming an American citizen (which is expensive as hell by the way), and when I do I'll sure as heck be informed about who I give my vote to.
cloudy_one: (Default)
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Though I'm originally from Germany (and hold citizenship there) I do consider myself an American.  Which is just as well because I have no idea what the equivalent of Independence Day is in Germany.

When I lived with my nuclear family we did the traditional fireworks and barbeque.  I was really excited when I got to start setting off fireworks of my own.  The first ones I got to light were in Germany when we were on base for a celebration.  My dad (Tony) let me hold the punk (incense stick looking thing used to light things) and light up an artillery shell.  It was really exciting.  As I grew up it was about blowing things up.  By the time we moved to Kansas I would start gathering together old toys I didn't play with anymore and go out with my friends and our firecrackers to try and blow them apart.  Usually it was Army men or something like that, a big favorite was kids' meal toys.  The toughest one was a Lion King character.  We ended up jokingly setting him up on a brick with a sparkler which we lit and then left to go swimming.  We came back and he was melted.  I'm not particularly proud of having done those destructive things, but they are what characterized my 4th of July holidays.  The food, barbeque stuff was just like most other barbeques, my parents cooked up hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, and had a good time with their alcohol while us kids drank way too many sodas and blew things up.  Once I was in my teens and we had moved to Tennessee my dad (Troy) showed me how to fire bottle rockets at each other.  That was more than a little dumb I'll admit.

Nowadays I'm perfectly happy enjoying the day off without fireworks and alcohol.  Today for example we stayed at home and lounged for pretty much the whole day.  CD (mother-in-law) has been out house sitting since this morning so it was just me and Byron and Sam (wife).  It was very relaxed.  We watched a couple movies and had some Frito Chili Pie style munchies with turkey dogs.  Byron was the only one who drank and it wasn't that much.  It's nice to have a more relaxing version.  Normally we would do something a little more (depending on whether it fell on a weekend or not) to combine it sort of with CD's birthday since it's so close to the Fourth.  A visit to the zoo or aquarium, maybe even a little trip to Bosque del Apache.  Fireworks-wise we obey the city limit of under 10 feet.  As I've grown a bit older (not a lot mind you) I've come to enjoy the fountains more than the booms, and it helps that our dogs are afraid of the louder noises anyway.  This year we didn't light any off because of a particularly dry dry season.  With all the fires in the state it didn't seem worth trying our luck, or spending the money.  Sam and I watered down our yard the last three nights to make sure that our plants and ground were well saturated, we didn't burn down.

Someone else who answered this post had posed the question about whether most Americans even know why we light off fireworks on Independence Day.  I don't think they do.  The reason is because it's to serve as a reminder of the war fought to ensure our freedom.  The fireworks represent gunfire, bombs, and artillery.  It's even in our National Anthem (Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would become the Anthem while he was present during a battle for the Revolution.  "The bombs bursting in air," were literal.).  As time removes us from the event I think it gets easier to forget the reasons behind the traditions.  Another thing that came up in response to this question was the leaning attitude of the question itself, being posed on the 4th of July (instead of say, the 1st, which was Canada Day) and asking about "Independence Day," which is not what all countries call their holidays celebrating similar circumstances.  I suppose if you want to get picky it's alright to point out the flaws with the wording, but I don't see the point in making a big fuss about it.  If your country has a day celebrating national freedom, I would love to read about it, instead of reading your complaints.  

Having said all that stuff, Happy Independence Day to all those Americans out there, and happy freedom for those others who are lucky enough to enjoy it.  The worst thing we could do as citizens of a free nation, whatever the name, is take it for granted.
cloudy_one: (Default)
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Ruling a country isn't easy.  I don't think I could rule a country all by myself.  I do happen to believe in a functional monarchy though (RE: "Does this job come with a crown?").  Any sort of leadership I think is about public awareness, at least if I'm in that position.  I don't usually talk about my political beliefs, but maybe this would be a good place.  For the sake of simplicity ("too late for that," I hear you say) I'll answer the question really quickly before blathering on:  the United States of America.

My idea is that there needs to be an overhaul of how the country is run.  Of course there is all of the corruption in the politics and the corporations with which they are so inextricably entwined.  I would look at eliminating that.  Find the people who make up the various communities and start at a ground level re-imagining.  Leave the greater government fluttering in the wind for a while.  I'm not even against the idea of shrinking things a bit.  The fact that America is so big doesn't help matters really.  The misuse of resources, the abuse of the citizenry, these things are exasperated by all of the land mass that the government is in charge of.  Maybe break into five (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest) separate countries, loosely tied by the cultural association.  I can't break myself into five people, but then I don't think I'd make a great leader of a country and people at this point in time anyway.  Make the governments more people centered.  The role of government is protection that a small community cannot manage (standing army) and general outlines which are to be enforced (example: Bill of Rights).  Higher courts don't hurt a whole heck of a lot either, for extreme circumstances.  Otherwise it should be a localized system.

I don't see a problem with helping to spread ideas that can work for the greater good.  The monarchy comment above is based on the idea that power is more easily corrupted the more it's spread out.  Sure, if the monarch is corrupt we're screwed, but you put in an adequate (if not outstanding) king or queen who honestly cares about the people and you're all set.  With power spread throughout multiple bodies (and more accurately more individuals) it's a constant tug of war between those people who care about the nation and those people who care only for themselves.  In that case the folks who care for themselves tend to come out with at least a little something, while the nation suffers because those who fight for them require an all-or-nothing victory which they cannot attain.  I also believe in the power that people as a whole have.  If you do not have a satisfactory monarch, the people can remove him or her.  It's easier to replace a single leader than it is to overhaul a system tied down with red tape.  

I guess all in all I did little to answer the question, but the place was chosen at least, even if I didn't accept the job.


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