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Buz
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 7:00:22 AM

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Location: Atlanta, United States
Many people call the United States a democracy. It is not a democracy and has never been one. The United States of America is a republic. In a republic citizens elect officials to represent them in government, hence we have the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives. I know that the logistics of the thing make a true democracy impossible in anything other than a tiny small populated nation. However, wouldn't it be great to have more democracy established in our system?

We do have some forms of actual democracy at the state, county and city levels when you end up with referendums on election ballots. Can you imagine if the decision to involve the US military on foreign soil for anything other than a direct attack on us, had to be decided by a national referendum?

Would the war in Iraq have happened? How would you have voted given the information at the time?

If a member of congress proposed that the USA send our military forces to dispose of Kony in Africa, how would you vote?

Another great idea for referendum by the voting public would be whether or not members of Congress or the president could get a raise. As it is, every time a pay raise for Congress is proposed, our elected representatives vote favorably to give themselves a pay raise.

What do you think?

charmbrights
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 2:26:09 AM

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Location: Tirphil, United Kingdom
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Winston Churchill.

News of ALL my novels (and where to get free copies) on charmbrights.webs.com/novels.htm.
DLizze
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 11:11:26 AM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 4/23/2011
Posts: 2,552
"The people, Sir, are a great beast ..." Alexander Hamilton, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

Hamilton and Jefferson were debating whether the new constitution should create a republic or a democracy. Hamilton argued for the former, Jefferson, the latter. But neither of them ever considered allowing universal sufferage.; only land-owning caucasian men were to be allowed to vote.

"There's only three tempos: slow, medium and fast. When you get between in the cracks, ain't nuthin' happenin'." Ben Webster
ArtMan
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 12:14:58 PM

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Location: South Florida, United States
DLizze wrote:
"The people, Sir, are a great beast ..." Alexander Hamilton, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

Hamilton and Jefferson were debating whether the new constitution should create a republic or a democracy. Hamilton argued for the former, Jefferson, the latter. But neither of them ever considered allowing universal sufferage.; only land-owning caucasian men were to be allowed to vote.



And even that was considered quite liberal at the time.

You are invited to read Passionate Danger, Part II, a story collaboration by Kim and ArtMan.
http://www.lushstories.com/stories/straight-sex/passionate-danger-part-ii.aspx

TransitionalMan
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 12:17:23 PM

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Joined: 12/27/2009
Posts: 108
Location: Ohio, United States
None of the questions Buz asked can really be debated in a 90 seconds, which seems to be TVs idea of attention span. But yes, I do consider the U.S. a democracy because I think it unworkable for 300 million people to hold a plebiscite on everything, particularly when small issues of language can change matters greatly. The devil in politics is often in the details, and if people aren't willing to spend thirty minutes a day, minimum on the news, how are they going to be expected to read a budget before they vote on it?

The issue today is more that our election system is 1) entirely too dependent on money which shifts power toward those who have it, and 2) that our system is designed to create mass, ideologically heterogenous poliitical parties with a local focus, and one of them, the GOP has become a purely ideological party thanks to the right-wing media and the take over of the nomination process by ideological conservatives. GOP moderates have for some years now been terrified of making sense lest they be accused of being RINO's and facing a primary challenge from the right, the sort of which defeated long time Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Spector.

Congress exists to slow down government to ensure that things America does are wanted by the country as a whole but it has long been known that a determined minority can wield power outside their numbers. But compromise is essential if we want issues dealt with. I am far more frightened by a man who has never crossed the lines then a man who has "always stood by his principles". IF we want our government to work well, the real solution is about four elections in a row where the GOP loses big, which will force them to choose between their hard right and power.

America needs an opposition party, but it can't get on when one party is run by fanatics and one is not. Right now our debates rarely center on reality, we need to return to reality of we are to move forward.
ArtMan
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 12:28:09 PM

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Location: South Florida, United States
TransitionalMan wrote:
America needs an opposition party, but it can't get on when one party is run by fanatics and one is not. Right now our debates rarely center on reality, we need to return to reality of we are to move forward.


If you think one major party is run by fanatics and the other is not then you are very naive, uneducated or a fanatic yourself and don't know it

You are invited to read Passionate Danger, Part II, a story collaboration by Kim and ArtMan.
http://www.lushstories.com/stories/straight-sex/passionate-danger-part-ii.aspx

Rembacher
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 7:29:07 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 10/16/2008
Posts: 1,106
We are probably back to an age where a true democracy is logistically possible. The problem is that while the internet would allow every citizen to vote as they did in ancient Greece, the issues are far more complex today, and the average citizen does not have the educational background, nor the desire to immerse him or herself in truly understanding the issues at hand, and how the wording of a bill can change its effectiveness. I suppose you could still have an effective government if you hired public servants to research the issues of the day and craft proposals for how to solve the problem. I would want 3 different groups working on each issue, so you can have a variety of options for the public to then pick the one they prefer. But even this still requires the public to spend at least half an hour a week participating in government, and hopes that the voters are actually educating themselves.
beowulf69
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 9:24:41 PM

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Location: Cocoa Beach, United States
Why not be able to vote on at least a few important issues? We can't trust the people we elect to vote in our interest.

My first story for Lush is posted, The Goodbye Fuck.
http://www.lushstories.com/stories/straight-sex/the-goodbye-fuck.aspx
charmbrights
Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012 4:06:24 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 9/2/2011
Posts: 192
Location: Tirphil, United Kingdom
beowulf69 wrote:
... We can't trust the people we elect to vote in our interest.

But what is in "our" interest. Virtually every new piece of legislation is designed to favour one part of the population over another.
For example:
taxes are taken from those with higher incomes (at least in theory) so that the state can provide services for those who can't afford them;
the abortion laws are set in such a way as to favour one set of beliefs over another;
the homicide laws are set to stop people killing other people who do things of which they disapprove;
the fair trade laws are set to make companies deliver what they promise the customers who usually cannot check for themselves.

This means some people will vote for and some against each proposition. Do you really believe that the majority is always right? Would the majority have voted for the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution? Were those in favour of the 18th Amendment right, or were those in favour of the 21st?

These are not trivial questions - just after 9/11 I would bet that a majority of US citizens would have voted to expel ALL Moslems, irrespective of guilt or innocence. Would that have been right?



News of ALL my novels (and where to get free copies) on charmbrights.webs.com/novels.htm.
MissyLuvsYa
Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012 8:24:17 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 543
Location: somewhere on the coast, United States
charmbrights wrote:

But what is in "our" interest. Virtually every new piece of legislation is designed to favour one part of the population over another.
For example:
taxes are taken from those with higher incomes (at least in theory) so that the state can provide services for those who can't afford them;
the abortion laws are set in such a way as to favour one set of beliefs over another;
the homicide laws are set to stop people killing other people who do things of which they disapprove;
the fair trade laws are set to make companies deliver what they promise the customerd who ususally cannot check for themselves.

This means some people will vote for and some against each proposition. Do you really believe that the majority is always right? Would the majority have voted for the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution? Were those in favour of the 18th Amendment right, or were those in favour of the 21st?

These are not trivial questions - just after 9/11 I would bet that a majority of US citizens would have voted to expel ALL Moslems, irrespective of guilt or innocence. Would that have been right?



So do you believe that a minority should rule over the many?
standingbear
Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 3:50:22 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 9/27/2010
Posts: 195
Location: the twilight zone
Buz wrote:
Many people call the United States a democracy. It is not a democracy and has never been one. The United States of America is a republic. In a republic citizens elect officials to represent them in government, hence we have the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives. I know that the logistics of the thing make a true democracy impossible in anything other than a tiny small populated nation. However, wouldn't it be great to have more democracy established in our system?

We do have some forms of actual democracy at the state, county and city levels when you end up with referendums on election ballots. Can you imagine if the decision to involve the US military on foreign soil for anything other than a direct attack on us, had to be decided by a national referendum?

Would the war in Iraq have happened? How would you have voted given the information at the time?

If a member of congress proposed that the USA send our military forces to dispose of Kony in Africa, how would you vote?

Another great idea for referendum by the voting public would be whether or not members of Congress or the president could get a raise. As it is, every time a pay raise for Congress is proposed, our elected representatives vote favorably to give themselves a pay raise.

What do you think?


With most of congress bought by corporations and special interest, it isn't really a republic anymore either. It is more of an oligarchy. It is becoming less a meritocracy than it was in the past as well. With more and more wealth concentrated into fewer and fewer hands there will be less opportunity for intelligent talented people who are not born into wealth or privilege to rise in society.

We may have some form of actual democracy at the state and local level, but even at the smallest level of government there is growing corruption and rule by an elite few. People who think that they know what is best for me are running every aspect of the country, including the people locally who believe that they know how I should keep my lawn and yard and how many cars I should park in public.

Whatever we call the system of government we're living under, personal freedoms are on the down hill slide.

I agree with Buz that the people should have a direct vote on how much members of congress are compensated, and how much they can raise and spend to be elected. Congress should be an institution for all the people, not just the ones who can afford to give huge sums to candidates.

"Happiness is doing it rotten your own way."Isaac Asimov (1994)
charmbrights
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 3:21:32 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 9/2/2011
Posts: 192
Location: Tirphil, United Kingdom
MissyLuvsYa wrote:
charmbrights wrote:

But what is in "our" interest. Virtually every new piece of legislation is designed to favour one part of the population over another.
For example:
taxes are taken from those with higher incomes (at least in theory) so that the state can provide services for those who can't afford them;
the abortion laws are set in such a way as to favour one set of beliefs over another;
the homicide laws are set to stop people killing other people who do things of which they disapprove;
the fair trade laws are set to make companies deliver what they promise the customers who usually cannot check for themselves.

This means some people will vote for and some against each proposition. Do you really believe that the majority is always right? Would the majority have voted for the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution? Were those in favour of the 18th Amendment right, or were those in favour of the 21st?

These are not trivial questions - just after 9/11 I would bet that a majority of US citizens would have voted to expel ALL Moslems, irrespective of guilt or innocence. Would that have been right?


So do you believe that a minority should rule over the many?

Yes, in some circumstances. It is possible to whip up considerable public emotion on certain topics which would allow laws to be passed which might have an effect which was unforeseen and generally considered undesirable, as happened with prohibition.

One example. I do not know whether you believe in "a woman's right to choose " or "the sanctity of life" but whichever side you are on, would you happy to abide by a decision taken with every US voter being consulted and the final majority being wafer thin, one way or the other, and finally decided on "hanging chads"?
And what if a majority of the men voted one way but a majority of the women voted the other? Is this a topic on which only a part of the nation should have a say?


News of ALL my novels (and where to get free copies) on charmbrights.webs.com/novels.htm.
Jack_42
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 6:44:54 AM

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Joined: 8/21/2009
Posts: 986
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Whatever systems is in place never truly works the word politician in my mind is synonymous with charlatan. I would like the next president of the USA (which is not my country but mine seems to be sort of subservient to it ), to be a black lesbian atheist in a wheel chair. I might possibly start believing in democracy then.
She
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 2:32:14 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 3/24/2010
Posts: 2,160
Location: Europe
Buz wrote:

What do you think?



I will go a bit off the subject and not talk about USA..
Few months ago there were elections for prime minister in my country, my European democratic country. Results of elections were as they were, however Parliament didn't like nor approve people's choice, so what they did is that Members of Parliament voted for and choose another one. Basically they didn't do anything illegal, after all it is in our constitution.
I don't see much of a democracy there. People should have right to vote and their voice to abide by a law. Minority shouldn't rule to majority.

That being said, I don't think nor believe that individuals, who has no knowledge about politics, should have any right to make any political decisions, that's why their voice must be recognized on the elections. Somebody is representing us. System won't fail us, people do and personally I don't think that system needs more democracy. It would be total chaos if everyone would be able to make final decisions. We as individuals, don't have enough time to learn about every information politicians have, to make any kind of foreign policy decisions.
Our last prime minister in his last year requested for 7 referendums. Of course they were all declined by Parliament, with every right so. He was elected, he was reciving paycheck and he should do his job as good as possible and not be afraid of making decisions. He was obviously not up for the job, but it was voice of people and that is how it should be.

But what really bugs me lately, is how in the name of democracy people can act however they like, they will say whatever they like, without thinking about consequences. 'It is my right', is their famous beginning of the sentence. Yes, it is your right to say, do what you want but we have duties and obligations as well not just fricking rights. If this attitude will continue, democratic world will slide into anarchistic one.






hobbhorn
Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012 6:29:56 PM

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Posts: 320
Location: Andrews
In a country as large as the US, it would normally be too expensive and unmanageable to have a "vote" or referendum in which the entire population of voting-age people could get their individual say. I believe the answer to the question "do we have a TRUE democracy" is NO. Others have commented on the lobbyists and the big corporate money that puts so much of the governments agenda in the hands of the oligarchs. This is wrong, and somehow needs to be changed - but how? The second big beef I have with how many governments work (not just the US) is that individual representatives - whether in congress, senate, parliament - seldom get a "free vote", where they can choose NOT to vote along party lines. Our representatives are elected locally - these people should be our democratically selected representatives and therefore they should be able to speak to - and vote on - issues as they feel best represents their constituents. The idiocies in the current system do not allow sensible governing of the country - simply put.
beowulf69
Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012 9:18:55 PM

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Location: Cocoa Beach, United States
In social studies class they taught us that in a democracy everyone gets a vote on all the issues but in a republic the people elect someone to be representatives to vote. We were taught that America is a republic. Our representatives are the 2 houses of Congress an the President. The voters do elect them. Vote them out if you feel they are not representing you. When I last voted there were 2 or 3 more party candidates on the ballot besides the Democrat and Republican and if you wanted, you can vote a write-in. If you didn't care enough to vote them why even complain?

My first story for Lush is posted, The Goodbye Fuck.
http://www.lushstories.com/stories/straight-sex/the-goodbye-fuck.aspx
She
Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2012 9:17:21 AM

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Posts: 2,160
Location: Europe
beowulf69 wrote:
In social studies class they taught us that in a democracy everyone gets a vote on all the issues but in a republic the people elect someone to be representatives to vote.



Actually that is not quite truth. What you are saying is fact for ancient Greece, specifically for Aten's polis, where everyone (at that time only adult men, with permanent residence in Atens) got a vote on all issues- decisions were made on the spot (square, in the middle of the city-polis), and they closed the case and moved to next issue. Ancient Greece is beginning of democracy we know today.
In modern democracy and in the countries organized as republic, we have someone who is representing us, difference is that in democratic system minority cannot overrule majority, which is the case for republic system.

Didn't have time to search online for sources, but here is one

http://www.1215.org/lawnotes/lawnotes/repvsdem.htm
http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/aspects/demrep.html
CharlotteRusse1
Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2012 2:06:13 PM

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Joined: 1/9/2011
Posts: 202
Location: United States
In a limited move towards more direct democracy, I'd like to see the Electoral College dismantled, or at least made obsolete. It gives undue influence to small populations in "winner-take-all" swing states. One way to do this, is a measure which several states have already put in place: Give all the states electoral votes to the winner of the overall national popular vote.

The way we have it set up right now, we're far from one-man-one-vote when it comes to presidential elections.

Writer of amateur erotica since 2011..See the latest at:

Guest
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2012 8:00:53 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 537,775
We've still not learned.

Even within this piece, there is a call to a symbiosis of capitalism with democracy. Capitalism has become, in my mind, a new form of slavery upon the nation, and transparent, colonialism, as to our dealings abroad.

We'd like to think ourselves higher in the grand scheme of things, but old ideas just have a way of festering, and then politicians and businessmen rehash it in a way that is palatable. We'd also like to think that we are rationale and seeking a higher truth and existence. We'll then, I dare say, many of us are more liberally minded than we want to confess.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2012 9:30:34 PM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,301
Location: Cakeland, United States
eviotis wrote:
We've still not learned.

Even within this piece, there is a call to a symbiosis of capitalism with democracy. Capitalism has become, in my mind, a new form of slavery upon the nation, and transparent, colonialism, as to our dealings abroad.


Excellent movie:


If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Guest
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2012 11:01:02 PM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 537,775
I've not seen that one yet, nor plan to. Just a musing by me and a co-worker who see the system as a form of slavery. I remember when in college, the credit card companies were always present during the first month of RUSH week, and getting to know you time, and then here comes the man with a card that open lots of doors. Including an introduction to debt.

We all are, I hope, privy to the reality that democracy is not what it's touted to be. And in some cases is used as a Trojan Horse to lull one's defenses, left or right, to a calm notion of democracy while being the pawn in a game that is networked beyond our palpable senses.

No conspiracy, no Matrix, just dollars and sense.

charmbrights
Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 2:32:36 AM

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Joined: 9/2/2011
Posts: 192
Location: Tirphil, United Kingdom
An aspect of this debate is the desire to spread the western form of government (republican, but misnamed democracy) to the rest of the world. Bad news folks - IT WON'T WORK.

If you take a random citizen of one of the Western Democracies (e.g. US, UK (excluding Northern Ireland), France, Germany) and write down all that is known about them, it is relatively difficult to predict accurately which political party (s)he will vote for.

In strongly tribal areas (e.g. Africa) the political parties will correspond exactly with the tribal geography, and voting for the candidate from your tribe will matter more than the policies being offered.
In strongly religious areas (e.g. Northern Ireland, the Middle East) the political parties will correspond exactly with the religious divide, and voting for the candidate from your religion will matter more than the policies being offered. Thus politics (as we in the WDs know it) cannot exist, since policies do not matter, even if the elections are completely "free and fair".

The more fanatical Islamists are doing their best to make the WDs work in the same way, since their only policy is the introduction of Sharia law universally.



News of ALL my novels (and where to get free copies) on charmbrights.webs.com/novels.htm.
Dirty_D
Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 11:16:51 AM

Rank: Head Nurse

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,227
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
and if we allow those from other regions to impose their values on us then we loose the things that make us unique.


WellMadeMale
Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:24:47 PM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,301
Location: Cakeland, United States
naughtynurse wrote:
and if we allow those from other regions to implse their values on us then we loose the things that make us unique.


What does it matter? I mean... who exactly is it that you are afraid of?

And why?

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
ArtMan
Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:57:17 PM

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Other regions? I imagine you mean other cultures, other continents. I say leave them be. If they want to buy and sell with us fine, but leave their politics, values, religions and culture alone. They will only resent and resist our involvement. We here in the USA should use our resources to take care of our own economic, business and political situation.

You are invited to read Passionate Danger, Part II, a story collaboration by Kim and ArtMan.
http://www.lushstories.com/stories/straight-sex/passionate-danger-part-ii.aspx

She
Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 1:24:20 PM

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Joined: 3/24/2010
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Location: Europe
naughtynurse wrote:
and if we allow those from other regions to implse their values on us then we loose the things that make us unique.


You are aware that one of the reasons why USA is so unique, is because it has different values which came together with great immigrations, right? ..and there would be no USA without those immigrations
dbn1967
Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 8:13:24 PM

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working with our government for over 20 years of my life this is a great topic. i believe that the government has forgotten that it is " WE THE PEOPLE" BUT ALSO THE PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN TO DO THERE PART now the Republicans and the Democrat have lost touch with the people because for the most part the people don't want to get involved with the process or take time out of our busy life to contact them or voice a opinion to them. i attend our city council meeting every Monday afternoon or if i cant make the committee meeting i attend that night meeting.my grand parents taught me from a very early age to be involved with are government and at 25 i was asked to fill a post as percent committee person on the on the democratic county central committee then was elected to two four year terms. in ten years i never miss a city or county government meeting, and now work for the democratic party at the state and national level for the last 6 years.
it is my belief is that the three pillars of government are to close tied together and need to separated again just as our forefathers intended them to be as they were set up as check and balances on each other but they do not work that way anymore.
Dirty_D
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2012 2:13:28 PM

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Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 7,227
Location: Soaking up the sun, United States
ArtMan wrote:
Other regions? I imagine you mean other cultures, other continents. I say leave them be. If they want to buy and sell with us fine, but leave their politics, values, religions and culture alone. They will only resent and resist our involvement. We here in the USA should use our resources to take care of our own economic, business and political situation.


Just saw these: I am not worried about immigrants. I was referring to people in different regions in our country. I grew up in the Midwest. We tend to have different values on different things then say someone from NYC, or people from where I currently live(fl).

The point I had tried(although not well) to convey is that things I hold to be true are not lessened by your believing something else. My choosing to eat meat does not make someone else wrong to choose to be a vegetarian. My appreciation for wide open spaces does not make it wrong for someone else to live in a city.


ArtMan
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2012 2:26:47 PM

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I understand what you are saying NaughtyNurse. Good point, I agree.

You are invited to read Passionate Danger, Part II, a story collaboration by Kim and ArtMan.
http://www.lushstories.com/stories/straight-sex/passionate-danger-part-ii.aspx

LadyX
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2012 2:41:02 PM

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Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,827
ArtMan wrote:


If you think one major party is run by fanatics and the other is not then you are very naive, uneducated or a fanatic yourself and don't know it


I agree with you. I think the difference is largely tone.

Democrats' far-left radical ideas are usually presented by polished career politicians as a means to help, to provide security, to reign in what many feel to be the free-pass given to corporate and entrepreneurial barons. It doesn't mean that the nuts and bolts of those ideas wouldn't mean a restructuring of the entire country and economy into something far different than what the rank-and-file would find palatable at first blush (if ever).

Republicans' far-right radical ideas are often presented by perceived crackpots, technocratic politicians, or career businessmen, with little experience with or patience for measured delivery. They often involve 'dog-whistle' techniques of implying inflammatory things without explicitly saying them. They often involve antics like taking guns to rallies, and rhetoric that's easily interpreted as heartless, corporation-friendly (at the working man's expense), and without concern for the "other half". It doesn't mean that some of the nuts-and-bolts ideas don't have merit, but it's disingenuous and/or myopic of Republicans to say that Democrats/Liberals mischaracterize their proposals. PR-wise, they're already their own worst enemy.
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