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AdLib On June - 28 - 2011

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

— The Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s, “Alice in Wonderland”.

There are a number of propositions in today’s America that would seem to be a natural fit for The Mad Hatter’s philosophy:

  • Giving the wealthy more money will make those who don’t get that money, wealthier.
  • Taking the country back for the people can only be accomplished by passing legislation that goes against their best interest.
  • The budget deficit is a crisis that will destroy our nation and we must be willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to save ourselves but it’s not so serious that we need to raise taxes on the wealthy.
  • Healthcare for all Americans will undermine their lives.
  • To prove that they have what it takes to be the best leader, Presidential candidates must prove that they are the best followers of their party’s leaders.
  • The way for the media to combat running shallow and exploitative stories that undermine giving the public real news is to run them frequently and explain that they would rather be reporting on issues of substance.

We live in a society that sometimes seems to be the equivalent of The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party…and that includes The Tea Party…some of whom howl about wanting government to keep their hands off of their Medicare, claim that they want to put democracy back in the hands of the people by taking it away from the majority and some even boast that they are so passionate about preserving our democracy,  they support the violent overthrow of it.

We see this elsewhere in our society too, eating Subway sandwiches make you lose weight, oil companies are good for the environment, drinking chemicals, high fructose corn syrup and gas in a concoction called Coke is a good thing and in the past, cigarettes are cool and harmless enjoyment. Corporations have thrived in their businesses by using dishonesty to promote their products and now that they have become so dominant in our politics, they naturally bring the same proven marketing tools with them.

If our society was analyzed by a psychologist as if it was a person, it might be diagnosed as schizophrenic. How did American society disintegrate to a point where there is broad acceptance of such concepts as corporations are people, fighting back against class warfare is the only real class warfare and the way to help the poor is to give money to the wealthy?

What may be at the root of this upside-down thinking that our society is clouded by may be the fruition of the proposition that it is indeed whether you win or lose and not how you play the game. Delusion and deception being a fair and balanced competitor to reality and truth may come down to the preponderance of that very American quote, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

We as Americans like our games, be it on the sports field, playing Wii or even in relationships. We recognize and respect winners, even if we would otherwise dislike that winner if he/she was a loser (wonder if Donald Trump’s ears are burning). People go to see terrible movies that have gotten awful reviews just because they won the #1 spot in the weekly box office. For years, everyone looked the other way at sports stars’ use of steroids and other chemical abuses because they led their teams to victory. Winning is all that matters sometimes, winning a game, even by cheating and lying, has become too accepted in our society so it flourishes.

Americans are sometimes easily misled, this may be due to a deficit of critical thinking or because they just want to believe something so much that they rationalize away its lack of reason. As we see in politics though, the substance or truth of what is being said is often less important than the perception of whether the conflict that stems from it makes a political figure look more like a winner or loser.

Even when the American Public learns that an accusation is a lie, such as President Obama being Muslim, more attention can be focused on whether the way he dealt with that lie makes him look like the winner in that situation instead of considering that he had to respond to this because a political party, their news network and a whole corporate machine lied to and tried to deceive all Americans for political and financial gain. The response of someone who has been slandered should be far less important to one’s opinion of a situation than the actions and motives of the one that has committed the slander.

At times, there seems to be a “buying in” by the public to such games, almost a tacit recognition that lies and deception are being employed to create a conflict but what the public sees as important is only, which of the parties can end up as the winner of that conflict. This goes back to what was mentioned above, American’s being more into who wins or loses than how the game is played.

Do candidates who tell the truth more often do better with the public than those who can be documented as frequently lying (check out Michele Bachmann’s high polling numbers in IA and don’t forget Bush’s re-election in 2004)? Are candidates who refrain from negative advertising supported more strongly by the public in the face of vicious negative advertising by their opponents (Swift Boats anyone?)?

There seems to be less interest among Americans in the validity of a political conflict, even if its cause is clearly dishonest, than who comes out on top as the winner. That being the case, there is little incentive for those who have no principles to act as if they have any, they are rewarded by the public for trumping up conflicts out of thin air. In such cases, the public acts like children on a playground hearing “Fight! There’s a fight!” and just rushing over to watch the fight to see who wins.

Winning is important but how the game is played does matter. When the rules fall apart, when people can act as horribly and dishonestly as they choose and still win, that eventually drags down everyone who wants to compete. For those who are principled, they have to either abandon some principles to drop down to the level of their opponent or be far better than their opponent just to squeak by them.

Politics has become the most corrupt sport in America. Those who have only the agenda of winning can cheat in every way imaginable because the referees, the American public that is, doesn’t hit them with a penalty or eject them from the game for doing so, they just seem to be engrossed by the additional intensity of the game and solely intent on who wins.

What they don’t realize is that by allowing such a dishonest competition to be sanctioned, the “sport” is degraded so the public is the the loser in the end.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

37 Responses so far.

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  1. jjgravitas says:

    We rely way too much on sound bites during elections. Please let’s put more focus on public debates between candidates. It would also be better if they could be more un-scripted than they currently are. Make them explain and justify their points of view, balanced against those of the opposing candidate.

    • AdLib says:

      That’s what the people would like to see but the media, corps and many politicians would rather just play the horse race and gotcha games. It’s easier to manipulate the public when they’re voting for the Repubs because Obama is a socialist Kenyan.

      On the issues, the Repubs haven’t got a chance.

      We would need profound media reform which is doable but would be quite a challenge.

  2. agrippa says:

    Excellent article and excellent comments.
    First, I do not know anyone, IRL, who knows very much about history, current events or politics. Sad.
    But true.
    I think that we will need to “play the tape to the end.” Owing to the willed ignorance of the general population and the willed folly of the elites, matters will just have to play out.

  3. whatsthatsound says:

    The majority of Americans seem to side with politicians the way they do with athletes and movie stars. They invest in them emotionally, rather than appraise their policies rationally. It’s scary but plausible that Michelle Bachmann may become our next president. To many people, she is “one of us”, a fundamentalist Christian, patriotic (in the most blind and stereotypical way), with a good story to tell about God guiding her to seek office. They trust her and identify her, and will ignore or disregard her shortcomings. The votes she gets will be based on these feelings, rather than actual consideration about what her presidency would look like.

    Part of the problem is education. We need to educate citizens more about what policies translate into for them. Part of it is the media. Who am I kidding, MOST of it is the media! People are dazed, distracted, and confused. And a big part of it is just plain old disillusionment with government and politicians. When politicians go back, as they so often do, even on the simple and easily understandable promises they make to get elected, people just assume they will do it on the more complex things. So why even educate oneself, when it’s boring and takes so much time and asks so much of ones brain after a hard day at the factory or office? The TV is there to make things right.

    By the way, I love that illustration so much, please allow me to reproduce my own homage to it in referencing the Tea Party, from a post of mine a while back.

    ” width=”500″ alt=”img” />

    • AdLib says:

      I don’t know how viable it is that Bachmann could win the presidency. Here’s a recent poll from RCP:

      General Election: Bachmann vs. Obama

      RCP Average -- 5/5 -- 6/6

      Obama -- 51.0% Bachmann 33.3% -- Obama +17.7%

      Though America is very religious, the percentage that subscribes to Bachmann’s extremist fundamentalism is is small.

      You are so right about education being so important and the real antidote to this. The RW demonization of intellectualism is part of the scheme, simultaneously pumping up phony self-esteem in those who feel intellectually inferior to others while enforcing a resentment and disdain for education.

      Palin and Bachmann are both poster children of this celebration of ignorance, along with the Tea Party. To them, what feels right is more important than what is right.

      I love your illustration of the Tea Party and remember it well! Great work, WTS!

      • whatsthatsound says:

        thanks, cap’n! If the election were held today, she would certainly lose. And as more people find out about her, she will probably fade on the Republican side. But, if she doesn’t, if she captures the Republican nomination, circumstances that are always unkind to incumbents could result in her actually unseating the president. Maybe not all that likely, but likely enough to give one pause.

        • AdLib says:

          Cheers, WTS!

          I think the case could be made that Romney stands a chance to unseat Obama if the Repubs can rally the same unjustifiably aimed anger at Obama as they did in 2010.

          But Bachmann is just too extreme for the majority and too lightweight intellectually. The Baggers may celebrate ignorance but most Americans want someone in the WH who is smart enough to fix our financial problems and protect us.

          Someone who can’t even get popular American history correct is not someone the public will see as being likely to get complex economic and foreign policy correct.

          I would love to see her as the GOP candidate, debating Obama and giving the nation a very stark choice of competence vs. incompetence in a time of urgent economic and foreign matters.

          And let’s not forget the two secret weapons for Obama. Bachmann voted to kill Medicare and will sign a bill killing it if elected and the Repub Govs in most swing states have turned the majority against them.

  4. Caru says:

    You’re not alone, America.

  5. ADONAI says:

    AdLib, Again, sports have a RICH tradition of cheating. Baseball more than any other. Constant stretching and breaking of rules. Cheating isn’t “natural”, I;ll give you that, but it’s a very much accepted part sports.

    Still though, that’s besides the point. And I truly do believe the ends justify the means. It’s very hard to stand on pragmatism when millions are dying.

    Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
    (Luke Chapter 9)

    The men who founded the American government also recommended it’s violent overthrow if necessary. That’s all I will say.

    And this is really where you and I part ways. Americans have never been this smug and distracted? I disagree. The 1920’s were pretty damn bad. And what followed? A Depression. Corporations may control TV news but more people watch the new episode of Real Housewives so how impactful are they really? You think news wasn’t shaded by outside interests before they became profit devices? Tell that to the Native Americans, migrant workers, single parents, Japanese and Chinese Americans, movie producers, the comic book industry, and so on.

    We are not special. These are not unique times. Every generation feels it is the most important. “We are dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants”. We think we see further than we really do. Know more than we actually do. All we care for is the present.

    And I hate to break it to future generations but, you got a lot of hurt coming your way anyways. We’ve been passing down ridiculous debt generation after generation. Kinda got tired of waiting for that to “doom us”. Now I’m of a mind that ti doesn’t matter. It’s just the way our system works. But, climate change. I’ve already buried a time capsule apologizing for that shitstorm.

    We’ll be o.k. though. This terrible economic mess the liberals are so worried about? Well the South has been there for a LOOOOOONG time now. Suck it up.

    • Reincarnation_TPS says:

      This is different. Times are not as mellow as several decades back and it’s likely to get far worse due to peak oil.

    • AdLib says:

      We so have different perspectives on this but I of course enjoy the discussion.

      Baseball has a history of cheating but not more than any other, boxing probably has the worst track record. Aside from “pro wrestling” of course).

      Do boxing or baseball fans accept cheating as an intrinsic part of the sport? I don’t see any evidence of that.

      We do disagree on the ends always justifying the means, I believe that terrible things can be practiced even by the most altruistic person who cares only about the outcome and not what is done to achieve it.

      The Tea Party folk do repeat that bit about the Founders advocating the overthrow of the nation but I have never seen the exact quote they’re referring to, could you provide it?

      I don’t connect with why you want to see current times as being identical to the past. It just isn’t the case.

      Perhaps there was someone expressing the same thing just before the collapse of ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, The British Empire, the USSR, etc. but the truth is that the end of eras happens. In this nation, the end of the eras of slavery and women as second class citizens ended. Times are different and societies change over time.

      The modern day is not identical to the 1920’s or the 1940’s, there may be superficial similarities to other periods of financial collapse but the specifics vary greatly.

      As difficult as it may be to imagine, there could be a time when the US slumps down from leading the world to being led and when its people go from being the envy of the world to being envious of other countries.

      Italy, Greece and the UK never returned to their position of domination in the world, history says that if a country messes up, it can be permanent.

      • ADONAI says:

        AdLib, First of all, what happened when baseball fans found out about steroids? Nothing. Attendance still went up. Merchandising still went up. TV ratings are the highest they have been in decades. That’s some pretty good evidence that people really don’t care. And I would argue that boxing’s problem isn’t corruption but lack of interesting fighters. Especially int he heavyweight division. The heavyweight title is being contested this weekend. Yo know who is int he match? Yeah, me neither. It’s gotta be interesting. It’s gotta be entertaining. No one cares about cheating til they are caught. And it goes away quick.

        And I believe terrible things can be accomplished by people whose intentions were the purest. In thought and action. “The road to Hell…” as they say. That’s the thing about moral philosophies. They’re all relative. I believe the ends justify the means. That the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few.

        If Rome had out military, they’d still rule the world. Unless, like us, they adopted democracy. Another key component of our “empire”. Women got the right to vote. They’re still underpaid and unappreciated. Vast majority of CEO’s are men. Vast majority or board members are men. Vast majority of upper level management are men. African Americans got their civil rights, but they are still treated differently. The majority in prisons. The majority of dropouts. The majority of poor in many areas. And I refuse to believe this doesn’t have a social mechanism behind it. One of ill intent.

        “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
        ~Thomas Jefferson

        “We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.”
        ~Abraham Lincoln(o.k., not a founder. sue me)

        This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.
        ~Abraham Lincoln

        “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.”
        ~Thomas Jefferson(GOD I love Jefferson. He gets it)

        “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms…”
        ~Richard Henry Lee

        A great point of contention with John Adams was the idea of having standing armies inside America. He believed it would weaken the people’s ability to OVERTHROW a corrupt government. Which is our right, given by the Constitution.

        And it isn’t hard to believe in an America that wasn’t number one. That’s the entire history of our country before WW 2. And how do you want us to dominate? We dominate culturally, economically, and militarily already. Comparisons to ancient Rome may be stretching it, but going back less than 100 years in our country’s history isn’t.

        I know things aren’t identical. The Depression was far, far worse. Our country was literally split in two 150 years ago. THAT should have been the deathblow. But it wasn’t. ‘Cause we’re better than that. And we’re better than this. We will endure. Because we always have. We are a democracy. We ARE the envy of the world. We still have quite a bit of time up front. But the age of empires is coming to an end. We will no longer be the “leader”. Only a major hub of a global economy. Call me an optimist.

        • AdLib says:

          Heh, AD, you know the difference between factual evidence and anecdotal evidence.

          Using the same kind of anecdotal evidence you used to support your claim that people like cheating, I can prove that Democrats like Palin.

          AD, you mentioned the quote “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” clearly not recognizing that it’s criticizing your own position. It means that people can do terrible things when they are only focused on their allegedly altruistic goals. That saying is expressing that the ends don’t justify the means.

          And “The ends justify the means” is a not the same as “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. You may believe both but they are not saying the same thing.

          Now you’re just trying to make me smile, if Rome had our military, they wouldn’t be Rome. And Britain had the most powerful military in the world at one time, Germany and the USSR were no slackers when it came to militaries either and were as mercenary as you claim to be. They all failed.

          Once you lose moral authority, a decay begins which eventually topples every regime.

          As for the quotes you provided, have to discount the Lincoln ones since he was not one of The Founders. As to Jefferson and your proposition that the Founders supported violent revolution against our democracy, you offered the following two quotes:

          “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
          ~Thomas Jefferson

          “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.”
          ~Thomas Jefferson

          Both Jefferson quotes you listed were made in response to Shay’s Rebellion and while he was Ambassador to France, arguably done so to reassure the French and Americans that American Democracy was not currently collapsing (as I will explain below).

          Meanwhile, George Washington had the opposite reaction to Shay’s rebellion and responded by urging greater strength of the federal government. None of the other Founders concurred with Jefferson so out of the seven key Founders, only one expressed such a thing.

          Just on the numbers, if 6 out of 7 Founders do not support a sentiment, it is wholly inaccurate to say “The Founders” supported that. You and the Tea Partiers are taking these quotes completely out of context.

          As Wikipedia quotes, “Shays’ Rebellion produced fears that the Revolution’s democratic impulse had gotten out of hand.”

          Shay’s Rebellion was NOT a matter involving the federal government of the US, in fact, it was the lack of response by the federal government that dismayed and worried Washington and many Americans.

          This may upset the Tea Partiers on their States Rights BS but it was the Governor of MA (John Hancock) who supported the wealthy people of the state, who were oppressing the citizens of the state by confiscating their property and money to repay foreign lenders to the Revolution (sound familiar) and they formed a militia to fight back.

          So again, these quotes from Jefferson are not related to our federal government, were likely offered as a way to assuage public fears and prevent panic at the time that American democracy was frail and unraveling and was not the sentiment of any other Founders except Jefferson (6 out of 7 did not agree with this).

          Your theory about America being nearly the same from era to era also has little history to support it.

          For example, the Civil War created an adversarial North vs. South and racial dynamic that has never gone away. The only reason we don’t have two nations on one continent today is that The North won. That was a good thing but was never inevitable.

          It may be difficult to accept that we live in truly perilous times and that the future of our nation is at stake but some damage can never be fully repaired but that is a truth that’s been proven time and again throughout history.

      • bito says:

        ends always justifying the means

        “Ah there’s the rub”, what are one’s ends? Do I want to be the only baker in town and control the price, not pay wages for my workers even buy the wonderful bread? Should I not pay my fair share of taxes for the police and have my bread stolen rather than paid for from my workers? I may sell all the bread in town and be live in the finest home but live in fear. Is that my end, my objective? Hey, my ends of being the being the only bread maker and the richest person in town have been met, right? Now who will protect my bread from being stolen? Who will buy my bread? Who will grind the grains to make my flour to make my bread, build the roads to take my goods to market? Who will build the mill to grind the grains for my flour?

        The more one takes out of the economy, the less ones has someone to sell their product, no? Oh it’s all the internet now, right? What if the wages are so low and the cost of connecting so large that I cannot afford to connect? I’ll find a way to steal. Or sell ‘secured “derivatives-over and over again.

        Hey MY ends were met!

  6. bito says:

    What do the “winners” win when a vast majority of the populace has little education, health care, housing, an increase in crime and an inability to spend and support consumerism, the life blood of capitalism? A nation of serfs? Can we all become nothing but lackeys for the top 2% and support the economy?

    Mad Hatter indeed, Adlib! I read an article today about reducing taxes in a Texas town so low that they no longer can afford a police department and now crime is rampant, anarchy, Taxed Enough Already, the TEA party. What did they win? The ability to sit up all night waiting with gins in hand for a home invasion?

    Cutting medicaid? Now some one tell people that 70% of the funds go to care for the Mother-in Law (who you dislike) to keep her in a home? Do you want her living with you, do you want to care for her 24/7 or would you rather believe that 95% of all Medicaid goes to just lazy lay-abouts? Winning? Winning what? “And what it wouldn’t be, it would.” With the ice flows melting, we can’t even find an ice burg to put that cranky old person, that slacker, that burden on society on to float away. We are going to “keep” them in the house AND pay for their medical needs. Cheaper method may end up being is to up their life insurance and just neglect them. Best outcome, bottom line no, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

    Education? Hasn’t everything been invented, discovered that is useful already? Why educate any children? Send them to work and make some money for the household, bottom line again.

    I just heard today on the “news” that housing prices went up 2% without any mention that they are still 10% above 2005 prices (before the worst of the housing boom/fraud) nor any mention of who the buyers are. Speculators for rental homes, perhaps? Certainly not wage earners, their wages are either falling or stagnant.

    Mad Hatter indeed, Adlib and not my cup of tea.
    I don’t want my country back, I want my country forward- for all.

    • AdLib says:

      I don’t want my country back, I want my country forward- for all.

      Very nice quote, Bito!

      This is my whole point, some Americans have become so shallow about winning, it doesn’t matter what they’re winning just that they did win.

      As you describe, what such people “win” is a worse standard of living. If it was put to them that way beforehand, it still would probably make little difference to them…they just want to be “winners”!

      “Losing police and firemen, crowded classrooms with worse educations, Medicare dismantled and declining wages…yeah, but we won!”

      As I mentioned below to Abby, this is the mentality of children.

      It’s time for adults to take control of this country again.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      Bito…INDEED! Seriously WHAT have they won???

      These people should be mindful of the old saying…”Careful what you wish for…you might just get it!”…

      I’m reminded of the woman who fights to ‘win’ back her cheating husband…seriously…what did she win? BUT A Liar and a cheat…she won the booby prize!

      • bito says:

        Indeed back Abby, when one cuts taxes to road repairs or sewer repairs, one gets potholes and car repair bills and my plumbing is now DIY, but “hey, I paid less taxes and I love working at the sewer plant on weekends for no pay to keep my toilet flushing. Next week, I’m doing road repair and the water purification plant. Can’t wait till I get a chance at police work!”

  7. Abbyrose86 says:

    Adlib, great piece…the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party does seem an apt analogy for the insanity that passes for political discourse these days.

    I swear, I feel like I’m living in some sort of alternate universe myself, lately. I can relate to Alice!!!

    • AdLib says:

      I have had a bobble head mechanism surgically implanted in my neck since I am eternally shaking my head in disbelief at how the absurd claims the GOP and corporations promote are gobbled up by so many Americans.

      There seems next to no understanding that corporations may have a reason for presenting information other than the truth. Do they think that what they say is done purely out of their compassion for their fellow human being?

      Whoops…now I’m bobbling so much I can’t focus on my keyboard!

      • bito says:

        I wish I could afford that “bobble-head surgery”, my neck is getting awfully tired. 😉

        • AdLib says:

          Heh! I used a coupon, I’ll email it to you! The only thing is, to get the discount, you have to be willing to make occasional appearances in a baseball uniform at ballparks on Fan Appreciation Day.

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        LOL!! I needed that laugh Adlib!!

        Seriously, though, as an aspiring politician myself…I’m a tad discouraged lately, some of the things I’m learning about the process is not sitting well with me, and is bothering me greatly.

        As such your piece really resonated as I see it the same myopia and insanity even in local political elections.

        What the heck IS going on?? Did everyone lose their collective minds? Is there something in our water supply or are they beaming subliminal messages through the TV’s and the cell phones??? Seriously, I’m not one for conspiracy theories…but what is going on is getting ridiculous!!!

        • AdLib says:

          My pleasure, Abby!

          I think the cause of Americans being as they are is a combination of things.

          One big factor could be the Grown Up Child mentality that corporate society has catered to and reinforced.

          There are many intellectually mature folk out there but there are also many who look at things no differently than when they were children. Studies have shown that those who are Republican are far more likely to accept information on faith from a trusted authority figure without exercising any critical thinking. And reason or facts presented to them that dispute their belief only strengthens it.

          When you think about it, are the American people as a group so different from children?

          Kids are told things and readily accept them, everything can be a game, the gravity of a situation is often invisible to them and their decision making is usually based on short term thinking.

          At the same time, for this dynamic to work, you need a powerful and wealthy set of entities that have the ability to project their propaganda and diversion to that population.

          Another key aspect is that in a democracy, the only way the minority can dominate the majority is to keep them pacified, apathetic or distracted from that fact. So, turning politics into a cynical game with rules they’ve created to deflect attention from what’s really going on is necessary and in evidence.

          Now, it’s ridiculous. By the time half of the country or more are suffering under the weight of corporate domination, it becomes serious. And at the same time, Americans being the short term thinkers they often are, widespread suffering may be the only thing that motivates them to turn the tables on the corporations.

  8. ADONAI says:

    Good piece AdLib. I THINK I have a pretty good idea where you’re coming from with this. Excuse me if I misinterpret it. And if it seems like I’m just shitting all over everything you said, please understand that is what I was built to do. Blame the programming.

    I absolutely love the “American people as referees” analogy. It’s almost perfect. I see some similarities to a coach only concerned with winning too. Your “best player” goes against you, breaks the rules, and you not only DON’T dismiss him from the team, you make him a starter again the very next game! Incumbency rates are ridiculous in this democracy.

    But comparing sports and politics is kinda trivial. Steroids aren’t evil. They help millions of people. If yo aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying hard enough. Baseball is just a game(with a rich history of cheating). Entertainment. I think so many people forget that. Myself included. Sports is just entertainment. We take it far too seriously far too often but it’s just a kid’s game being played by adults. And we pay them well to entertain us.

    Politics shouldn’t be about that. Like sports, it very much is about winning and losing but not for a meaningless trophy. Democracy is an active thing. Always moving. It’s not the Olympics where we just get geared up every 4 years for an exhibition.

    I would have no problem with Democrats using the Republican’s tactics. Dropping to their level. Doing what they have to do to win. But I’m a consequentialist. I believe the ends justify the means. You do what you have to do. The only time the mass of people become outraged is when their sports are taken away from them(or their team wins/loses a championship). Maybe we just have to wait til people’s democracy is taken away from them.

    Also, the first people to support violent overthrow of a corrupt American government were the people who founded this government. If we’ve corrupted the system then any legislation sent through it will not bear any fruit. Of course, I don’t believe it’s fallen that far. Somehow, someway, “Obamacare” got through. It wasn’t perfect but it’s an imperfect system. Point is that it worked. We don’t just need more voters but we need current voters to take their duty a little more seriously. And vigilance. We’re like blind umpires(bringing it back around!). And I think we’ll do o.k. Politics were pretty damn fierce in the 60’s too. But we persevered.

    • AdLib says:

      Ad, you do get my point that Americans have trivialized politics into being just another sport, just another game which they can sit back and watch from their recliner on their tv while eating homemade nachos.

      As for cheating being a natural part of sports, have to disagree with you there. Some people cheat in their marriages, on tests when they were in school and even when playing Monopoly but just because there are cheaters at everything, it doesn’t mean that is an accepted part of that activity. Cheating is losing, if you cheat on a test, you’ve invested energy in being dishonest in one instance, not in becoming better educated for the rest of your life. In that way, one would ultimately be a loser, not a winner. Same with anything else one cheats on (ask John Edwards about that).

      If one truly believes that the ends justify the means, one would be indistinguishable from the worst person they can think of. All that distinguishes each of us from those we disrespect is our principles.

      As the old Biblical quote goes, “For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit his own self?”

      As to the overthrow of American government, there was no American government until after The Revolution, America was governed by an overseas monarchy prior to that.

      Politics have been tough and vicious throughout American history however it is very different today. Never before have Americans had lives of such comfort that induce apathy and so many numerous distractions through such a wide array of entertainment. Never before did 5 corporations control nearly all of the mainstream press. Never before has the US been in this degree of debt. Not in the 60’s or before that.

      Corporations are so embedded in our government now that I don’t see it as easy as just voting in the right candidates to reverse everything. And some damage can be profound, never reversible.

      A patient can lose his leg because of a bad surgeon but even if he was fired and the greatest surgeon in the world was brought in, that patient would still leave the hospital with only one of his legs.

      The 2012 election is so critical because if a Repub won and Medicare was dismantled, the Bush taxes were made permanent, financial and environmental regulations were removed, etc., the damage would never be fully reparable and millions including future generations would suffer severely.

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        I especially liked your comparison of the patient without a leg….excellent way to put it!

        Some of the problems we have, may not be reversible…that is scary thought indeed!!

        • AdLib says:

          Thanks Abby. I’m an optimist as AD is but some destruction is forever and what’s critical is preventing it from happening in the first place.

          • jkkFL says:

            AdLib- where do you place the defeat and despair syndrome?
            Frankly, I am there.
            The Mad Hatter didn’t invite me- and I don’t like or trust him, but what can I do to defeat him?
            I have no money, (aka power,) no voice, no leverage, and no control- and I have no influence over decisions made that directly affect my life.
            As Abby said: ‘I swear, I feel like I’m living in some sort of alternate universe myself, lately. I can relate to Alice!!!’

            • AdLib says:

              jkk -- Once the Repubs took over the House, Obama was as limited in what he could do legislatively as most Presidents with a divided Congress.

              He has accomplished an enormous amount as President though and as frustrating as things are right now, we shouldn’t allow that to overshadow his accomplishments.

              Check out this link to all of the campaign promises Obama has kept: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-kept/

              What this illustrates is the need for Dems to keep the Senate and re-take the House in 2012 and for the Senate to limit filibusters.

              That’s where we can constructively direct our energies.

            • jkkFL says:

              Yes we are there, and yes we did elect Obama.. but the frustration is he is as hamstrung as we are; and often remains inexplicably silent.
              Also, he does seem to avoid use of the Bully Pulpit, when it would seem prudent.
              We are fighting a rigged system, and we are not winning.

            • AdLib says:

              Hey jkk, that is an issue. As corny as this sounds, there are millions of Americans who are right there with you, imagine if each person stood up and got involved in the 2012 election, there would be a big impact.

              It starts with doing what you can to make a difference and encouraging others to do so as well.

              There is a movement going on across the nation, especially in swing states which include FL. Rick Scott is doing his best to destroy the lives of most folks in FL to benefit himself and his cronies and I think you’ll find many motivated folk around you as 2012 rolls round, getting involved and wanting to fight back.

              Your feelings are valid but we must fight through our despair and if we do so together, we can prevail.

              I men, we did elect a black man named Barack Hussein Obama as President despite the opposition of the wealthy and corporations, we can do that again and more if we choose to.

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