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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:35 PM

Does it really make a difference?

My first presidential vote was for Jimmy Carter. Since then I've done everything my time, energy and limited means will allow to push various levels of my government to care more about the 99 than the 1% - to have some respect for the environment our air and water come from and some respect for our world neighbors.

I will be 60 in a few days. The first birthday I've felt the pull to look at my life's work. I am not sure my efforts in this have made one iota of difference.

We still make war for oil.
We are still fighting about what women can do with their own bodies.
We are still telling poor people it's their fault.
We are still abusive to our world neighbors in the name of quick profits.
The standard of living is lower for the 99.
Wealth inequality the world over is even higher.
The environment in my town is cleaner but as a planet it's worse.

After 40 years or so of adulthood doing everything I can to make my neighborhood and state and country and planet a better place, I feel as if I have failed - not entirely - but to a large degree. The forces of the ultra wealthy are so much greater. What power does a little peon like me have in the face of a government bought and paid for?

In my heart I don't feel old. But I'm sick of the same old shit different day. Maybe I should just tell my creditors to go fuck themselves, buy myself a camper van and go around teaching finger painting to kids with autism..... see the glaciers while they still exist.... and let someone else tilt at the windmills.

Thanks for reading.

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Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply Does it really make a difference? (Original post)
SmileyRose Jan 2013 OP
patrice Jan 2013 #1
RobertEarl Jan 2013 #2
patrice Jan 2013 #4
forestpath Jan 2013 #3
mountain grammy Jan 2013 #17
hfojvt Jan 2013 #5
SmileyRose Jan 2013 #6
LibertyBell7 Jan 2013 #20
hfojvt Jan 2013 #25
cui bono Jan 2013 #27
hfojvt Jan 2013 #30
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #7
cui bono Jan 2013 #28
datasuspect Jan 2013 #33
treestar Jan 2013 #8
CranialRectaLoopback Jan 2013 #9
bvar22 Jan 2013 #10
starroute Jan 2013 #14
wilsonbooks Jan 2013 #24
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #11
SmileyRose Jan 2013 #34
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #35
quaker bill Jan 2013 #12
Herlong Jan 2013 #13
starroute Jan 2013 #15
bvar22 Jan 2013 #26
cui bono Jan 2013 #29
pinboy3niner Jan 2013 #16
RudynJack Jan 2013 #18
Herlong Jan 2013 #19
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #21
stultusporcos Jan 2013 #22
Zoeisright Jan 2013 #23
datasuspect Jan 2013 #32
datasuspect Jan 2013 #31

Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:46 PM

1. I think people like us ought to move to the same neighborhood & just keep on keeping on with

the peaceful, non-violent, revolution with one another's help.

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Response to patrice (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:55 PM

2. Sign me up!

Like Smiley Rose, i have looked back and seen too little progress. Another thing of note: Nearly every time i was out on a limb seeking justice, i looked back and saw people sawing at the limb. Grrrrr. Now i was fighting on 2 fronts.

This truth is self evident: To win you must have overwhelming force. Well, we, the people, never could get our act together and become overwhelming. Well, not in the right direction, anyway. Actually, our force has been for consumption, and by gawd we sure as hell won at that!

Question is: Just what have we won?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:07 PM

4. I'm getting awful tired of fighting on two fronts, just as you said, RobertEarl, and yet, I CAN'T

give up, not so much for myself and my generation, but for the future!!!

All of that "failure" OP sketches must produce something for someone; maybe it never will, but at least I'm going to go down pushing & sometimes even "fighting" in the streets to make that happen. Problem is being as tired of it all as I am now DOES have its price and that's something I know only those who feel that are aware of and, maybe, we could ameliorate some of that for one another. To me, that's part of my effort here at DU, but I think there may be somethings happening in places like California, anyway, and I think factors are so high and of such a configuration presently as to perhaps produce more similar such efforts elsewhere, so . . . . I look forward to another year of fighting the good losing fight here in my state, Kansas, where the Dems are too busy trying to be "Obama" in a situation that is so far out of balance to the Right, even in our own party, in favor of Conservatives and anti-Socialism, that they have no chance of succeeding on any authentic measures of Liberal and Progressive policies.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:55 PM

3. K&R Great post.

 

McGovern was the first president I voted for. If only he had won.

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Response to forestpath (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:39 PM

17. McGovern was my first too. If only he had won,

if only the Kennedys (both of them) had lived. At one time I believed my generation would end racism, poverty, wars, and pollution. The election of Reagan woke me up out of that dream, and his re-election landslide was almost too much to bear.
But, wow, golly gee whiz, we sure have lots of neat gadgets!
Maybe it will utimately be the gadgets themselves that bring us together.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:16 PM

5. I still think the 99 is a false meme

the standard of living is NOT lower for the 99

it is lower for the 80

http://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/Household-Income-Distribution.php

that's a chart showing the last 44 years

the top FIVE percent has seen significant real growth (of course much of that growth is perhaps in the top 1% which unfortunately is not filtered out). But even the top 20% has seen decent real growth (but again that includes the top 1% in that group - argh). It is the bottom 60% which is flat. Even the 60-80% group has seen some growth over the last 44 years.

Okay, let me link to my own chart http://www.koch2congress.com/5.html

Showing the 20 years from 1986 to 2006 with IRS data.

1986

11.3% top 1%
12.8% top 4%
11% next 5%
23.9% next 15%
24.3% next 25%
16.7% bottom 50%

2006

22.1% top 1%
14.6% top 4%
10.7% next 5%
20.8% next 15%
19.3% next 25%
12.5% bottom 50%

in 1986 real GDP was $7.1 trillion
in 2006 it was $13 trillion

that shows a 37% growth rate even for the bottom 50%
maybe that just looks flat compared to the 258% growth rate for the top 1%
and the 109% growth rate for the top 4%
and 78% growth rate for the next 5%
59% growth rate for the next 15%
45% growth rate for the next 25%

However, I am looking at TOTAL wealth. If you figure that that wealth is divided up among an increasing number of households. Growth in households was 28% between 1987 and 2007, subtracting that gives you

9% growth for the bottom 50%
17% growth for the next 25%
31% growth for the next 15%
50% growth for the next 5%
81% growth for the top 4%
230% growth for the top 1%
150% growth for the top 5%
14% for the bottom 75%

Which pretty much matches that chart I linked to, except with more divisions at the top and fewer divisions at the bottom. My point is that members of the top 25%, even those who are not members of the 1% are doing much better, with growth rates of 31% and 50% and 81% as you move up the ladder. Which is much better than the 14% down in the bottom 75%.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:23 PM

6. Point taken

but to be honest all the stats aside, too many of us have less buying power than our parents did at this age.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 06:30 PM

20. Inequality, by any other name, smells...

I don't get your point. Even if that the bottom 99% are not faring so well is a fallacious meme, and that it should be, more correctly, the bottom 80% — are you suggesting this is better?

First reaction: For all the number salad you toss out there that this is so, I can point to a plethora of data that refute the parsing. I find it helpful to visit http://inequality.org/ frequently to remind myself exactly how tilted the economic reality has become, in this country and globally.

As an example, I find this:

Joseph Stiglitz, The former head of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, says the growing gulf between the 1 percent and the rest of the U.S. population is hurting the economic recovery.


This article can be found here: http://inequality.org/topreads/nobel-prizewinning-economist-warns-inequality/

Second reaction:
I still don't get the point. Is it that things are not as bad as some are saying, or am I just blinded by the blizzard of numbers and am misreading? I'm proud you appear to be trying to be seeking elective office (if I likewise understood the intent of your site, Koch2congress). However, maybe because you appear to be seeking a position in the sphere of politics, I'm doubly troubled that you also appear to suggest things are not so bad.

With the Corporazi Right attempting Gerrymander the Electoral College, I believe things are very bad indeed. And with this ongoing war against our democratic republic being waged by the moneyed elite, this is no time to let up (that's a shout-out to the original post).

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Response to LibertyBell7 (Reply #20)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:28 PM

25. my point is not that things are "not that bad"

my point is that the real divison is not between the 1% and the 99%. It is more like between the 20% and the 80%.

The reason I make this point is that the 99% can easily be duped.

Take, for example, so called "middle class" tax cuts. The recent betrayal of ATRA (fiscal cliff), which kept 85% of the Bush tax cuts, is being called "middle class" tax cuts. Well, of $3.7 trillion in tax cuts over the next ten years, "only" $600 billion of it goes to the top 1%.

So that looks like a victory for equality, doesn't it? Because 84% of the tax cuts goto the bottom 99% and only 16% goto the top 1%.

Except chop up that 84% and you find that 49% of it goes to the RICHEST 19%
while the bottom 60% gets only 19% of the tax cut

putting that in dollar figures is
$600 billion for the top 1%
$1.8 trillion for the next richest 19%
$700 billion for the bottom 60%

It will make society even more equal.

My point is that you need to look at the bottom 60% and not just the bottom 99%, because there is a large amount of inequality in that 99% and the 99% is becoming more unequal as well.

At least one of the links at inequality.org agrees with what I said http://inequality.org/statelevel-inequality-rise-nation/

That the top 20% and the top 5% are also pulling away from the rest of us.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #25)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:52 PM

27. Good info. Thanks. n/t

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Response to cui bono (Reply #27)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:14 PM

30. I probably should have mentioned

the source of my numbers are links from this post http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022130101

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:24 PM

7. I think we have been conned by the party system

 

We measure our wins by who did it rather than what they did.

When we implement Free Trade like NAFTA, it's a glorious day for the America.

When we implement the Heritage Foundation Obamacare plan it's suddenly wonderful.

And so it goes.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:53 PM

28. Exactly. It's a team sport and the people of both sides play it.

And hurt themselves doing it.

What you stated is extremely evident on this board, and on here are people who are "paying attention".

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:28 PM

33. the political system in this country is an adjunct of the entertainment industry

 

it's meant to be a diversion, it's meant to distract people, it's meant to make you stupid.

behind closed doors, our representatives ON BOTH SIDES of the aisle worship one god (lobbyist cash) and will not do anything that doesn't benefit the wealthy in some way or form.

but yeah, keep arguing with each other on the Internet, that'll change things.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:25 PM

8. Presidential vote has some effect

But so do the lower offices. Especially the state ones, as we see the Rs taking over and gerrymandering.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:21 PM

9. Ooooh, so many trolls responding /sn

 

So in this post and responses I have read foul language and a negative statement on Obama. I wonder if those comments will be hidden by the hidden judges who demand purity to the DU cause, like they demand of me.

Don't tilt at windmills, just be all happy and all Obama all the time. It's the DU way and will make your life much easier.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:30 PM

10. I know what you mean.

I turn 63 this year.

I can remember a time when were WERE moving in the right direction.
During the 60s, the Democratic Party steadily pushed our nation toward a more just, egalitarian society.
The Wealth Distribution Gap was narrowing as out Tax Policies, Trade Policies (International & Domestic), and Social Programs built the largest, wealthiest, and most upwardly mobile Working Class the World had ever seen.

Despite the VietNam War, LBJ was able to pass the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, and a host of Democratic advancements under his Great Society Programs.

Things weren't perfect, but we WERE taking great strides in the right direction.
There was HOPE and Excitement for the future.
Things WERE getting better for everyone, not just the Wall Street Bankers.

NOW, we are sliding steadily to the Conservative Right,
and we consider it a "VICTORY" when the Republicans don't get every single thing they want.

It is hard to keep a happy face when we are sliding steadily backward into a new Gilded Age.



---bvar22
an old, faithful, mainstream-center FDR/LBJ Working Class Democrat,
now considered a "Fringe Leftist" and a "Fucking Retard" in the New Democrat Centrist Party.
I haven't changed.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:28 PM

14. The good stuff LBJ did was before Vietnam devoured his administration

1965 was the changeover point. The US got into the ground war that March. Medicare was passed in July. And after that the progressive agenda was just left on the sidelines.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:40 PM

24. I also will be 60 in a few days, and I also

have not changed, sad to see the Party's principals abandoned in the name of pragmatism. or sold out in the name of expediency.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:43 PM

11. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I know I am glad that there are people

who feel compelled to make a difference toward liberal causes.

Thanks for all your work over years, and if you decide to do so, I hope you enjoy your camper.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:14 PM

34. bless you

my husband has been on and off sick for awhile and the camper sounds good to him too. Far better than a rocking chair. haha


your post touched me ..... thank you.

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Response to SmileyRose (Reply #34)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:26 PM

35. You're welcome. I hope you and your husband have some fun adventures in your camper. nt

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:16 PM

12. You would seem to be my age

As my first vote was for Carter as well. I went to segregated schools. Went to "whites only" beaches, the "blacks only" beach was a few blocks down the street. My friends were drafted and some died in Vietnam. I was signed up for the draft with my lottery number picked when they ended it, just before my birthday.

Are all things better? no. But my kid's friends and room mates are racially diverse, some are openly gay and happy about it, and one recently appeared on RuPauls drag race. None of this stuff would have passed muster without ugly comments when I was her age.

Sure there is still plenty of work to do, but there always will be. We don't get to do or see it all.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:25 PM

13. My reply? So suck it up and drive on!

 

Hell yes we make a difference. And shame on you for thinking we don't

We make a difference because even if there was a war for oil, everybody knows about it because of us


We fight for women's bodies because it's the right thing to do

We fight for change and we and will make a difference

So suck it up and drive on!

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:33 PM

15. I prefer that to "Greatest Generation" complacency

My father died a few years ago at the age of 93, still convinced that his generation had solved almost all the significant problems of the world and that it would all be good forever.

He and his contemporaries never quite noticed that they'd given up the fight sixty years earlier when they decided they just had to sit back and reap the benefits of the sacrifices they had made during the Depression and World War II.

I'd rather be the age I am now and still fighting than have been the same age in 1981 and believing there was nothing meaningful left to be done.

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Response to starroute (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:44 PM

26. That sounds bitter and whiney.

If the current pack of "Centrist" "New" Democrats hadn't joined with the Republicans in dismantling the social & economic programs of FDR, HST, & LBJ, (The New Deal, The Fair Deal, & The Great Society) that built the largest, wealthiest, and Most Upwardly Mobile Working Class the World had ever seen,
you wouldn't have so much to whine about today.

Don't blame the Greatest Generation.
They did their part.
Blame the Clinton Revolution and "Reagan Democrats" (today's "New Democrats") who joined with Republicans in declaring "An End to Big Government".



"There are forces within the Democratic Party who want us to sound like kinder, gentler Republicans.
I want a party that will STAND UP for Working Americans."
---Paul Wellstone


photo by bvar22
Shortly before Sen Wellstone was killed

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #26)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:58 PM

29. And who continue by applauding Obama when he goes even further than BushCo did with things.

And who get rude and defensive when anyone dares criticize that, rather than looking at the actions objectively and realizing that if the "other side" were doing it they would be having a shit fit.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:38 PM

16. Why did Don Quixote tilt at windmills?

ALDONZA: Why do you do these things?

DON QUIXOTE
What things?

ALDONZA
These ridiculous... the things you do!

DON QUIXOTE
I hope to add some measure of grace to the world.

ALDONZA
The world's a dung heap and we are maggots that crawl on it!

DON QUIXOTE
My Lady knows better in her heart.

ALDONZA
What's in my heart will get me halfway to hell.
And you, Señor Don Quixote-you're going to take
such a beating!

DON QUIXOTE
Whether I win or lose does not matter.

ALDONZA
What does?

DON QUIXOTE
Only that I follow the quest.

ALDONZA
(spits)
That for your Quest!
(turns, marches away; stops, turns bock
and asks, awkwardly)
What does that mean... quest?

DON QUIXOTE
It is the mission of each true knight...
His duty... nay, his privilege!
To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go;
To right the unrightable wrong.

To love, pure and chaste, from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star!

This is my Quest to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,
To fight for the right
Without question or pause,
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause!

And I know, if I'll only be true
To this glorious Quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars!


--From 'Man of La Mancha'



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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:41 PM

18. my first vote

was also for Carter.

I was a gay 19 year- old.

Things are surprisingly better today. Yes there's a difference.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 06:09 PM

19. Meh!

 

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 06:49 PM

21. Ok, so.........did Beyonce lip sync or no? nm

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:21 PM

22. Reagan Democrats, you can thank them for what America is today.

 

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 07:31 PM

23. Things would be much, much worse

if repukes had had all the power over the last 40 years.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #23)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:25 PM

32. nixon, ford, reagan, two bushes

 

that's a pretty hefty chunk of the last 40 years.

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Response to SmileyRose (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:24 PM

31. you didn't fail

 

the system failed you.

time for new system.

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