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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:45 PM

 

Face it, nothing meaningful is going to change until it is far too late.

This applies to all manner of issues, from climate change to gun control, the shredding of our Constitution to our penchant for endless war. There is going to be no meaningful progress on these issues until the crisis hits and we crash and burn. The simple reason for this is because it was designed this way.

The Founding Fathers set up our government to be a deliberative body, emphasis on deliberate. They, as many of the the elite worldwide at the time, while willing to experiment with a limited form of democracy, were desperately afraid of what they thought of as mob rule. That is why they set up some severe sanctions on who could vote, namely white, property owning males.

Furthermore, they set up our government so that change would come slowly, evolving over years, decades, even centuries. That is why the tools that can be used to radically change the direction of our country, such as amending the Constitution, were designed to be difficult to implement.

As time passed, the ruling elite added ever more layers, all designed to keep change not just at a reasonable pace, but at a snail's pace. Institutions, such as political parties, were set in place to take the brunt of the raw cry for immediate change and channel it into bureaucratic byways and backways.

This system worked, poorly in many instances, but still worked well enough to get us through nearly two hundred years of existence. But since the midpoint of the twentieth century, the pace of events has quickened, and our governmental system simply can't keep up.

For instance, our climate is changing at a rapid pace due to causes entirely man made. This fact has been known for forty years now, yet little has been done. Politicians have made great speeches, the public recognizes the problem and is demanding change, but all that impetus for change has been quelled once the issue of climate change hits DC. Sure, there have been token gestures, but the changes that we need to make now, needed to make twenty years ago, simply haven't been done because our government, even in the best of times, moves like molasses in January.

Worse, with the increasing pace of technology, the sheer number of issues that need to be dealt with quickly has skyrocketed. Thirty years ago, the issues of privacy and intellectual property that we face today simply didn't exist because the technology that manifested those problems didn't exist. Worrying about the privacy of your emails was a moot point when you didn't have email.

Now, as these issues continue to hit us at an ever greater speed, our government has dropped from a snail's pace to a virtual standstill. That isn't the fault of just the Republicans or just the Democrats, but both parties. It seems that they have gone from considering their roles to be that of public servants trying to provide leadership to an attitude that government is all about who scores the most point in their own personal grudge match. That is how a Democratic president, who proposed a health care reform model that was lifted virtually intact from the Republican playbook, now sees that selfsame Republican health care model labeled as "socialist".

I don't know what the solution to this problem is. Any attempt to address this problem through legislation or amending the Constitution is going to be drowned at birth by the very institution that is the problem. The Romans actually had the foresight to provide a solution to this problem in their government model, namely suspending the Senate and appointing a dictator, who had free rein to get things done quickly, for a certain pre-agreed period of time. Of course we saw how well that worked out when those self same dictators simply refused to step down, and had the army to back them up.

So the sad, stark fact of the matter is that these problems aren't going to be solved until we crash and burn as a nation. We are going to continue to watch as our civil liberties disappear, we're going to continue to see more and more of the well being of the ordinary people of this country sacrificed on the altar of the MIC, and the one problem that could very well end all problems, climate change, is going to continue unabated and destroy our country, civilization, possibly the human race.

I know that is a desperately cynical point of view, but hey, these are desperately cynical times. I've watched as this country burns, and DC continues to fiddle, for far too long to come to any other conclusion. My only comfort is that I'm old enough that while I will see the beginning, and possibly Act II of the end, I won't be around for the final act, when the shit really does hit the fan.

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Face it, nothing meaningful is going to change until it is far too late. (Original post)
MadHound Jan 2013 OP
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #1
snooper2 Jan 2013 #2
Kablooie Jan 2013 #8
0rganism Jan 2013 #3
WillyT Jan 2013 #4
RobertEarl Jan 2013 #5
UTUSN Jan 2013 #6
glinda Jan 2013 #7
Amonester Jan 2013 #9
PATRICK Jan 2013 #10
bvar22 Jan 2013 #11
NCTraveler Jan 2013 #12
NCTraveler Jan 2013 #13
hfojvt Jan 2013 #14
Joe Shlabotnik Jan 2013 #15

Response to MadHound (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:53 PM

1. Sure

 

And once we know this, the next question is:

Why are we still trying? Why are we still at our day jobs? Why are we still voting? Why are we wasting our precious time in a broke system leading us to ruin? Why not live it up outside of a broken story we know is false? Its time to make our own story

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:11 PM

2. At least we still have twinkies!

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:41 AM

8. Umm ... About that ...

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:18 PM

3. the vote is not restricted to white male landholders anymore

The founders may have stacked the deck against direct democracy, but more and more freedoms have crept in as the generations pass.

Sadly, on climate change, you may indeed be correct.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:27 PM

4. ... ___ ...

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:50 PM

5. You may be wrong?

Nah...

What should have happened, and did not, was that as the population grew our representation should have grown. As it is, for the last 80 years, the same number of reps has been seated, allowing special interests to seize control.

And being there is no profit in a clean environment, the profit taking special interests have made sure profits before people ruled in DC.

Sorry, kids.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:56 PM

6. R#1 & K for, totally absolutely true. But we're hard wired that way.

Empires crumble, they don't adapt. And besides the 18th Century model of the mechanical clock, as you say, every generation's regressive members have exploited the built-in brakes for their own benefit. In CARO's LBJ biography, 2nd volume Master of the Senate, there is a gigantic chapter describing all the bottlenecks and hidebound controls against change encrusted, and how only somebody with LBJ's psychological drivers could spend thirty years learning all the tricks and loopholes, and how he was able to make it work, how the country had been ready for over 40 years for civil rights changes, but the Southern stranglehold on seniority and rules kept everything in the ditch.

So what did we hear in 2000, that something had to be done so that that would never happen again? Did anything happen, something like getting rid of the Electoral College - don't be silly.

For the wingnuts to claim there is something sacred about living by 18th Century clock rules is just acknowledging that all the deadwood in the governmental apparatus will not change, as you say, and there will have to be a breakdown of the whole for something else to replace it. Actually, we live by paying lip service to something, while really living by other rules. We could easily decide to throw states rights totally out, having the states as provinces ruled by governors implementing the federal rules everywhere. We could have regional primaries ending campaigns in three months. We could have a one house congress based on population. We could have publically funded candidates. Lots and lots of things COULD work. We could have enlightened leaders talking sense, like a European saying on a late night radio show that there is NO such thing as home schooling tolerated in Europe, that everybody has to go to public schools.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:28 AM

7. I sometimes think the answer lies in knowing the difference between reality and "logic".

Reality is that money rules and is held by a small group of individuals. SMALL! And only a few individuals allow them that power by gatekeeping.
Logically, a majority of humans are most likely ready to make some changes if they can be harnessed to work in unison and swiftly to do things and take risks that may require certain actions.
Perhaps the key is to make the "logical a reality" without fear or compromise. Compromise is just a dirty word for greed. Compromise is just stalling. There will be no choices soon. Only one way me thinks.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:49 AM

9. Now you're talking! I agree.

It will only get worse as the years go by. Having a President Obama, VP Biden, and their staff over a pResident Rmoney, VP Lyan, and moRons will kind of smooth out our self demise a bit, but the big problems will keep on growing in numbers, and climate change in particular.

When the polar vortex is split in two by warm streams, the deep freeze ends up warming faster, so I predict an even worse summer this year than we had last year. Global famine will be upon us in a decade or two.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:02 AM

10. The Roman Empire

"evolved" over hundreds of years getting a system that succeeded according to the usual state of affairs. Success meant, finally, a great civilization infrastructure spreading over its entire area of influence and trade. But as far a s power and accumulated wealth were concerned on the bad things kept progressing. Long after its supposed fall to imported Goth labor in the fifth Century you had pretenses of the system: senate, consuls, various titled regional rulers in a cracked fashion simply going on like the cracks in a fine painting no one can restore. Like our fractured media the various pie slices and fragments seemed slick and impressive while civilization itself degraded. Titles persisted and then Empire became a myth and dream STILL pursued for hundreds of years no matter how stunted the pretender or how short lived the grab.

Now civilization is the purvey of the banking/commerce class who still yearn for the power of imperial aristocracy. As the cracks begin again just what IS the basic problem? If we are trapped by historical failures and persistent abuses of power will the cracks breed anything but desperation or chaos? This time, the whole planet and the whole biosphere.

A Constitutional Convention in scale looks like a sideshow important to the actors to the people clinging to normality over the chasms. This is an observation, not a criticism.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:36 PM

11. The Tiger & The Cliff.

One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice.

As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine. Suddenly, he noticed a plump wild strawberry growing from a small patch of earth on the cliff face.

He reached over, picked the Strawberry, and popped it in his mouth.
The Strawberry was delicious.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:41 PM

12. We have a highly reactionary congress.

They react to crisis. They are not proactive.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:43 PM

13. Wanted to add that there are some forward thinkers in congress.

And they are given a chance to speak. Then after a crisis they are looked up to as someone that should have been listened to. Sometimes these people even beg congress to act, telling them that there is a crisis around the corner. But each time, congress will wait until we turn that corner.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:00 PM

14. to a large extent, the public is NOT demanding change

"the public recognizes the problem (of climate change) and is demanding change, but all that impetus for change has been quelled once the issue of climate change hits DC."


that is only true of a minority of the public.

The majority of the voting public is only demanding - painless answers. Any politician who asks American voters to SACRIFICE because of climate change is gonna be voted out of office and end up sitting at home writing screeds on the internets. At least in about 430 of 435 congressional districts and 96 out of 100 Senate seats.

I have doubts whether a majority of the country is demanding something on gun control.

The other part is apparently the stupidity of the voters. I don't mean that they get duped by the M$M, or the RWNM or the other RWNM (of the DLC) - which is another huge issue. But shortly after the 2000 election there was a poll saying that 60% of the country opposed the Bush tax cuts. Well, if you really oppose the Bush tax cuts, the only way to stop them is for that 60% to vote AGAINST Bush and AGAINST the Republican Congressional candidates. And some of the voters apparently could not figure that out.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 04:53 PM

15. People recognize that changes need to be made,

but they think that its others who must do the sacrificing. Its pure arrogance and selfishness. Perfect examples are the tea partier on Medicare, or the corporate world who don't pay taxes but insist on public austerity.

Even 35 years ago, people went apoplectic at the audacity of Jimmy Carter suggesting that maybe we put a sweater on and turn the thermostat down a few degrees. Soon after they choose a Don Draper type of president who sold them reassurances like Lucky Strikes: Every thing's OK, despite being toxic. Delusional.

Many interpret hardship as not being able to go on vacation or buy a new car. Never mind that they have 2 cars in the driveway. Sometimes I think about my grandparents, who like millions of others came to the new world in the late 1800's - 1950. They worked their asses off each day plowing fields with a horse, and when the old horse finally died, they were consoled by the fact that at least they got to eat it.

Dirt poor immigrants that suffered repressive governments, fear of being 'disappeared' in the middle of the night, religious persecution, famines, wars came to the new world with a sense of community, and an understanding that through shared sacrifice and working together (gasp! socialism) everyone benefited. Those were the common heroes that advanced civil rights, created labour unions and fought Robber Barons and tycoons, demanded that advances in productivity were shared among all. We've forgotten all of that.

By contrast we're too spoiled and stupefied by relative comfort, hype and gadgetry. Unfortunately I agree that nothing is going to change until something drastic happens, and yes, this time it's probably too late.

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