Here it Comes! Make it Count!

Well, here we are, approaching the end of an endless race. Seriously, it feels like I’ve been the unwilling receptacle of a streaming fire hose of political mind junk for a solid decade now, and that’s just for the 2012 election. If any of us are hoping to win something from the barrage of the 24-hour news cycle, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were us – and it just so happens that I am.

I think the whole race is about what we could lose, and more importantly, what we hope not to lose. I hate to break it to either set of proponents of the two-party system, but we’re in a lesser of two evils situation. I can make a case either way, but that’s not for me, since there are a million pundits working both sides right now – and for the past 800 million weeks. Given my baseline opinion of the only viable candidates, viable because the two-party system has an iron stranglehold that prevents any other parties from joining the race in a realistic way. Not that it matters; every one of the secondary party candidates can disqualify themselves quite handily, which leaves those of us who would otherwise cast a protest vote without a meaningful target.

Just for the record, I could write a huge honking volume about problems and solutions in the America of 2012. My poor wife gets the brunt of it. But in order to do that, I would have to use footnotes and sources and crap, and honestly, I just prefer to collect ideas and stuff them in corners of my head until they leak out as fiction, which is blessedly free of footnotes.

I suspect that a large number of my readers would happily argue the same side as I would, and that is the sad idea that we are rapidly turning into tiny, ineffectual cogs in a machine that is running out of control. I think the power elite tends to look at us regular citizens as vote batteries for attaining office, money batteries for our fantasy-based economy, and when we can’t be used in those ways, they simply hope to keep us from noticing what they are really doing.

Over the long term, these and many other tendencies coalesce into patterns. Just like the predicted course of a hurricane, the end result of the patterns can end up diverging wildly from where we expected. (I would note at this point how incredibly accurate the Sandy predictions turned out to be. Kudos to our Hurricane Forecast Center) I happen to believe that the balance point of the crossing patterns is relatively fragile, and our metaphorical storm can turn hard with a little push from chaos theory. To borrow another metaphor, our economic engine is way out on the limb, and gets bounced at will by forces that appear to have our best interests in mind only to the extent that we can go back to being fully charged money batteries for those same forces. As a bonus, if we remain happily engaged in the system, we make nice stable vote batteries as well.

As I write, nobody knows how this election will turn out. It’s that close. What does the sheer “dead-heatedness” of our political process say about where we are in this country? Some would talk about political polarization, and that is certainly true. Just looking at my friends on Facebook is enough to build a model for the extreme range of views of our people. I would argue that the statistics say more about the extreme poorness of our choices. It’s far easier to agree “on” something than “against” something. And that’s what we are doing as a nation. We are not able to see something that is clearly favorable to enough people to build a consensus, using good honest information, and so we fall back on the next best thing.

What is the next best thing? Well, that depends. For some of you, it’s easiest just to pick a single issue and decide on that. Anti-abortion says you’re buying Romney. Pro-choice and the stats say you’ll go Democratic more often than not. On the economy, it gets much more complicated to pick the wheat from the chaff. Now you’re forced to pick an economic model, and whichever one you choose means you get a whole truckload of other issues that go with it. What if, for example, you believe in a minimal regulation, free market economy, and you believe in a woman’s right to choose? Well, then you are stuck with deciding which part is the most important. And the list goes on until we have the near perfect polarization of opinion.

What if the belief is just not there? Obama generated a staggering amount of belief in his message four years ago, and we jumped in with both feet. Many of Obama’s believers have experienced bitter disappointed at the startling revelation that, OMG, he’s just another politician speaking from the most expedient side of his mouth. I’m not saying Captain Etch-a-Sketch is any better. He flip flops so often that the only way we will discover what he’s really about is to give him four years to show us. Until we elect our next President, we are stuck with nothing but belief to help us make the call. Obama has his sackful of vague promises, and so does Romney.

What if the party line is good enough? If you happen to believe that Republicans generally do a better job than Democrats, it’s not so hard to convince yourself that any candidate they toss will stick to the fridge like a well-cooked noodle. If you swing the other way, that’s fine too, because if you care to dig, you can easily find that neither party represents any kind of solution for the mess in which we find ourselves, and historically, both sides can  lay claim to an endless stream of abuses.

What does it all mean?  This grand, faith based, no-good-choice reality… Well, it means that we had all, as individuals, better think long and hard about how to get our own house in order. This country is our house – yours and mine. How do you want it to work? Do you want your leadership bought and paid for? Do we want to pay for Romney’s <cough> 47%, and if so, how do we really pay for it into the future? Are they the Free Shit Army, or brothers and sisters who deserve our care? Do we want most of our goods to be made in China, or do we want to build the best stuff in the world and worry long and hard about how to distribute it to our global customers? Do we want to play games with foreign dictators through loans and billions of dollars in aid, and if so, who can make a case for what we get for those dollars? (By we, I don’t mean the power brokers who set up the arrangements. I mean us.) Do we want to subsidize the entire world’s medical costs by paying the entire “pride of lion’s” share for every pill and procedure – and to live in place where one health problem can destroy a financial life? Do we want bankers to risk everything we entrust to them and then buy them out of trouble with our own tax dollars while none of them even miss a bonus check, much less go down with the legal ship? Do we want our laws and regulations to grow to even more absurd levels of behavior controlling complexity while we all live in fear of some kind of costly non-compliance? Do we accept our liberty being threatened by sneaky maneuvers that benefit corporations with person level rights while the Supreme Court is deciding whether we actually own what we buy? Finally, how do we feel about people who live in waterfront homes and flood prone areas, screaming for government help when a devastating storm comes through? I could go on and on, but you get the point.

It seems raw and cynical in a country of free people that I feel the need to remind myself that we are supposed to have a voice. We are supposed to have some level of control over our political destiny. Do we still possess our voice, our rights, our own thoughts? Or, are we slowly succumbing to a social assault that over years and generations has led us to point where we forget the basics. This country is ours.

As we line up to cast our ballots, some of us will proudly vote for our candidate. I’m a little jealous of those people, because I would love to be voting “for” someone. If I could find someone like that, I assure you I would be telling you who that person is. As it stands, I’m voting for the lesser of evils in my own personal hierarchy of important issues, and at the top of the list is the most basic, fundamental idea of this country of ours. Freedom.

I feel confident that if you start digging without prejudice, you could easily discover who is the biggest threat to fundamental rights and freedom. Thanks, Google!

For all of you, I pray for your own clarity and wisdom in the voting booth, and no matter the outcome, let’s all remember that the first and last line of defense for America is us –  the strong, independent, thinking individuals who still have the right of destiny for our great nation. I suggest we hold onto it.




9 thoughts on “Here it Comes! Make it Count!”

  1. Of course I have no solutions to offer…I do know who I am voting for already, and hopefully my vote will count, and if it does count, well I can only hope that the next president can help move the United States in the right direction.

    I was thinking the other day….I remember when I started having income taxes with held from my paycheck…in the 60’s I think. I was really happy because this would mean I wouldn’t have to pay in on April 15th of the following year when it was due and possibly I would get a refund.

    So how did they sneak this past us? Wow, sucked it right out of our paychecks…early, and really if it’s not due until April 15th of the following year, just think of all the interest we could (as a nation) receive from January, February, etc.

    Also, they have the money to spend any which way they chose, we can’t all band together and say, “Hell, no, I’m not going to give you that money to waste”. Oh, hell no, they’ve already got it. So, basically, I’d have to not work…not make any interest on investments to stop paying for stuff. But wait, if I did that, I could have the government pay me? Hmmmm….

    My Daddy always told me that nothing in life is free. He was right, he still is right….but sometimes it’s not the person that’s getting it…that has to pay for it. I don’t honestly think that there are many people in this nation that can’t do anything physically. Oh sure, there are a few, but most I see using government assitance to buy things could do something. I’m not saying to stop their money, but make them do SOMETHING for it. Don’t make it so damn easy, and yes it is charity it is not entitlement. I’m not talking Social Security for old people. You all know who I’m talking about here.

    We as a nation are in big trouble. To even start to fix the problems we have we are all going to squeal like pigs going to slaughter….but it is better than being slaughtered or loosing our nation to another smarter nation. Right now, we’re not so smart.

    How much are you personally willing to loose? Let’s not wait until we loose it all unwillingly.

    I want to see government jobs cut at least 25%, I want government pay cut at least 10%, I want unions gone, if you do a good job you shouldn’t need a union to protect you. I want teachers fired if they are no good just like real people. I want nothing brought in to the US to buy that isn’t made under the same manufacturing restrictions and regulations that US industries abide by. And I want some of those restrictions lowered here…the stupid ones that make jobs for government regulators. I want term limits, I want donations to politicians only from voters not organizations and time limits on campaigning to be a maximum 6 months before elections. I also don’t think that the people in office should have to campaign..their records should be used instead.

    Oh, I could go on and on…but until someone gets in office that will go directly to the people of the United States and tell them truthfully about something that needs change and if need be ask them to help direct the people in office to do it…and risk making strong decisions that some people will not like…well, there you go.

    The next president has to do something….and we need it fast. We can’t be looking at .00 of percentages of improvement in 2016.

    There you go Jim, you got me spouting again. Thanks.

      • I’m still thinking about it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to create the kind of change we need, it would take the virtual equivalent of Superman to run, if not the actual cartoon version with his bulletproof skin. Any of us could sit down together an come up with long term solutions, but none of us have a shred of hope to create solutions that will ever filter through the self serving morass of politics. To even begin, we’d need to stand up together with a historically powerful voice and refuse to tolerate the kind of leadership we’ve got. To find that voice, we would need to agree to a large extent on where we should take this country. To agree, we’d need honest information. To find that information, we’d all need to begin by throwing off the sheeple indoctrination. To throw off the mind yoke, we’d have to start by thinking for ourselves. To think for ourselves, we’d need some vitamins and caffeine because we’re all too tired from trying to filter out the endless stream of bullshit from our leadership. And that’s how they keep doing it. 🙂

  2. Jim wrote, “it feels like I’ve been the unwilling receptacle of a streaming fire hose of political mind junk for a solid decade now, and that’s just for the 2012 election.”

    I could not agree more with that statement. Here in Arizona it has been particularly bad with Congressman Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona. All these ad’s remind me of is the line from Orwell’s Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

    This seems to me to be the apparent truth underscoring this entire election cycle. I voted by early ballot day after the last debate and still feel unclean by the choices I made on that ballot. The choices are so limited in reality but watching the average zombies parroting the talking points of their chosen network oracle makes me sick. The America I grew up in and was educated in was one when independent thought, courage of character, and a personal conviction for your beliefs were keys to a functioning and free Republic. Now people who are labeled preppers are mocked in the media and marginalized for their beliefs.

    Well these same people could sit and say I told you so to all those effected by Superstorm Sandy but the true Christians are not doing that. They are out donating and doing their part to help their fellow man not for accolades but because it is the right thing to do. Will they even be given a small nod of thanks? No because in the short attention span in our society due to the 24/7 news cycle this story will soon be surpassed for the next crisis.

    They only way that this country will find its path again is through a Coalition of the Willing. Men and Women who strongly want to bring about the change we want to see in our lifetimes and children’s lifetimes. Changes to improve our lives for us not the ever expanding machine that runs the country back East.

    Message Ends.

      • Its hard finding those that care but we are out there too bad several people that I know who care are technically inept and can barely log into facebook much less put thoughts to screen. I have learned to be the change I would like to see, somedays it goes good and other days I leave forehead shaped dents in the wall from where I bang my head in frustration.

  3. It sort of reminds me of trying to write a good story….and messing it up so bad that erasing and changing parts makes it worse…and the only solution is to wad the paper up and start all over with a clean sheet of paper….

    That is what I fear is the only fix…. and I pissed as hell that we’ve come to this.

    We are afraid to loose what we have now to fix the future…and it will take loosing before winning, I’m pretty sure of that…and that is what scares me.

    • I agree we all need to grab hold of the etch-a-sketch and give it a good shake and fix this nation of ours. It can be done but getting everyone to give up even on of their sacred cows is just not going to happen without a paradigm shifting event to unite us all.

  4. I can’t believe that a lot of what I’m hearing today is just thank goodness the campaigning is over!!!

    Is that the trick? Just iritate everyone so badly for months, that we’re just glad it’s over regardless of the result.

    You know sometimes my fellow Americans really just leave me …. shaking my head and checking my marbles.

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