Archive for March, 2011

What the fuck is going on?

Usually I try to make my titles more witty than that, but that’s the question that has been on my mind lately: What the fuck is going on? America is imploding, is part of what is going on, and it’s fucking scary. Not in the same way that what’s going on in Japan is scary. Politicians are destroying America piece by piece. And while conservatives/Republicans are mostly to blame for this (don’t worry, I’m bringing evidence in a hot second), liberals/Democrats are helping by being too polite to stand up and do anything about it.

The more I follow the news, the more I think that we need a massive overhaul. And I don’t mean by the Tea Party, which doesn’t have two fucking brain cells to rub together (“Keep government out of my personal life! Except make abortion illegal and make laws about who people can marry and I still want Medicare but keep government out of my health care!” Fuck off, all of you). I mean by the people who really want change, who realize that the Constitution, while great in many ways, is a flawed document that was never meant to remain significantly unaltered for so long. While the “founding fathers” may have had a great deal of foresight, they didn’t have 300 years’ worth of it. I mean, they had enough foresight to realize they hadn’t added everything in and put in amendments after writing the document. Yet America clings to this document like a script, at the very moment when we should be embracing its strengths and fixing its flaws.

But I don’t plan to convince many people of that, so I’ll start here instead: we need to get rid of every single politician currently in any office, anywhere. There needs to be term limits for EVERY SINGLE OFFICE, because this shit is getting ridiculous. We have senators who have been around for decades, and new senators are expected to always defer to them, thus stifling any potential for change. There are too many formalities involved and too many politicians who are enamored with the power and money they get to realize that some of these traditions are too much of a hindrance to the greater good. Not to mention that most of them are owned by corporations or lobbyists and are more interested in their kick-backs than their constituents.

Just last year, the Supreme Court said it was OK for corporations to donate to political campaigns. And many members of the public are dense enough to defend this decision! What’s to stop oil corporations from buying politicians? With millions of dollars to spend on campaigning, it wouldn’t matter who was running against these corporate candidates. And it doesn’t matter if I support clean energy or not: my point is, I don’t want someone representing me who has been bought out by any corporation. Corporations deserve certain rights, but donating to a campaign as if the company were an individual is obscene. It essentially grants the board of directors an extra vote. And last time I fucking checked, every American citizen is only entitled to ONE VOTE. Also, the argument that this upholds the First Amendment is asinine because although the people involved in corporations are individuals, and thus deserve to have uninhibited free speech when it comes to politics, a CORPORATION IS NOT A PERSON, AND THUS IS NOT ENTITLED TO AMENDMENT RIGHTS IN THIS WAY. They are NOT allowed to funnel millions of dollars into political campaigns under the First Amendment. That’s a stretch of the imagination if I’ve ever seen one.

Significant Other and I have discussed this heatedly for a long while (although we both agree, we both just get passionate about it). And we’ve come to an agreement and a solution. First, politicians should not be paid, in any way, for their service. It should be considered a volunteer position, with the public choosing who they think is the best of the volunteers (via voting). Then, expenses related to the job will be paid for by taxpayer money, as now. But there should be no salary. Lobbying should be banned. And anyone who wants to donate to a political campaign has to donate to a general campaign fund that is then SPLIT EVENLY between ALL the candidates—of every party. I don’t mean there’s a separate democratic fund and republican fund and independent fund, etc. I mean there is ONE FUND, and anyone who wants to donate does so, and then all that money is split evenly to give EVERY CANDIDATE an equal chance of getting their message across. The candidates are not allowed to use private funds to campaign. They only have whatever has been donated and split. That way, anyone truly CAN run for an office and not have to be worried about being beaten purely because their opponent had millions of dollars from a corporate backing or personal fund.

I can imagine conservatives recoiling in horror. I find this funny, because when there dares to be an intelligent candidate, like Obama, they bemoan how they want someone they could “drink a beer with,” like Bush. But Bush would never fucking drink a beer with any of those people, because he’s a fucking rich asshole. So if they really wanted someone running the country that they “could drink a beer with,” my plan would be ideal because it allows that type of person—their neighbor, friend, co-worker—to run for office. Yet people are consistently fooled by these images politicians put forth. None of them is what they seem. They have vast public relations staff to manufacture an image for them. If they’re smart, that image is close enough to the truth that it’s easy to maintain. But I can’t believe anyone EVER thought that Bush would deign to drink a beer with a blue-collar worker. You have to be truly gullible to buy that.

Not to mention the fact that I wouldn’t WANT that type of person running the country. I want someone who’s a genius to run the nation. I want someone who’s so much smarter than me I can’t even imagine it. Because it’s an incredible task, a hard task, a subtle task. So I don’t want someone who can’t handle that sort of thing running the fucking country. I don’t care how much fucking money they have. And neither should anyone else. Because while money buys a lot of things, it doesn’t buy intelligence. It might make it so a fool can surround themselves with very smart people, but it doesn’t change the fact that the leader is a fool.

That being said, I believe in everyone’s right to run for office. I just won’t vote for you if I think you don’t have two brain cells to put to use. But let’s be serious: currently, not everyone can run for any office because it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars (at the least; usually millions). And then once you get there, pretty much you are just campaigning to be re-elected from the start instead of doing anything to make society better. So that’s why we need term limits for every office: Mayor, Governor, even Justice. Maybe it’s more than two terms for the latter, and maybe the terms should be six years or something, so a new president doesn’t get the chance to make a fully liberal- or conservative-leaning Supreme Court. But at the same time I don’t think these people should be allowed to preside over the court until THEY choose to leave. Because then one bad choice by a president/Congress has effects over sometimes decades. I don’t think we should have to suffer through that, even if sometimes we, as a nation, might deserve it for electing a fool president. I admit this plan is not perfect, but it’s a start.

All that aside, what else makes me think America is imploding? How about the fact that we were foolish enough to give Republicans control of the House, believing their blatant lies about “fixing things.” And then they say their primary objective is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. While I’m sure conservatives everywhere wet their pants in excitement when this was announced, I can think of two things that are more important and that Republicans promised before regaining control of the House: creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Those should be the PRIMARY GOALS. And, surprise! There is a way to do that with Obama still president. It’s called COOPERATION. I remember a time when Republicans and Democrats were able to work together to get shit done. But now one side is a bunch of uncooperative assholes and the other side is a bunch of spineless pushovers. I don’t know which is worse. Things are falling apart, and the two sides need to come together to fix it.

And then let’s turn our attention to Wisconsin and Indiana, where somehow blue-collar workers, teachers, police and firefighters—and any other group that is unionized—are somehow being demonized and declared part of the problem. That is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever been asked to swallow (spoiler alert: I won’t swallow it). The problem with America is politicians who are out for their own gain or the interests of the corporations who back them rather than looking out for their constituents. I mean, thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of protesters apparently couldn’t convince Walker that perhaps attacking unions isn’t in the people’s best interest. He went ahead and did it anyway, in many ways completely subverting democracy to do so. And a judge ordered a stay on the law, and now the attorney general is trying to appeal that. If that isn’t a blatant disregard for what the people want, I don’t know what is. Also, let me say that people arguing that a judge can’t stop the legislature have a complete and, frankly, embarrassing lack of understanding about how the government—at both the state and federal levels—is supposed to work. Breaking news: This is EXACTLY what a JUDGE is SUPPOSED TO DO. The judicial branch is supposed to keep the legislative branch in check. So if there is even a minor question of the constitutionality of the law or the process involved in passing the law, a judge is SUPPOSED to act on that. So all these people who think Judge Sumi was out of line: Please go back to elementary school and learn how the government is supposed to work. Here: I’ll help get you started.

If all of that isn’t crazy enough, a similar thing is going down in Indiana. The ignorance and insanity is spreading like some kind of disease.

Am I the only one who finds this fucking insane? Pretty much the only thing any of us is guaranteed to have in common with someone else is that we all, at one point, had teachers of some kind. I’m not saying all teachers are great. I’m not saying unions work perfectly. I’m not saying no reform is needed (I pretty much believe that everything needs to be constantly tweaked—nothing is perfect). But demonizing these people is NOT RIGHT. Especially not when politicians are doing the demonizing. And notice that it’s only conservative politicians. So excuse me if I have a little extra venom stored up for conservatives. But it seems like they realized they can’t fix the problems they promised to, as if they got elected and suddenly realized how fucking hard fixing these things might be, and so now they’re trying to deflect the blame. Well guess what? Taking money from people like teachers and police officers, who don’t get paid all that much in the first place, is only going to make shit WORSE. Without teachers, the education system will fail. Without teachers, there will be no skilled workers. Without workers, there will be no economy. No one to produce goods or offer services. So politicians are just making everything worse by doing this. WAY TO GO, ASSHOLES.

And yet the Republicans in Wisconsin and Indiana are just blindly following their leaders (with a few exceptions) instead of using their own brains to think about this. It’s exactly that kind of blind following we DON’T NEED RIGHT NOW. We need people, Republican or Democratic, who aren’t afraid to stand up to their own and say “This is wrong.” THAT is really what we’re lacking. Breaking news: You can still consider yourself a Republican and not buy into these ideas that are truly, morally wrong. There are shades of gray with every political affiliation. Or at least there used to be. When people had brain cells.

But even moving away from this, let’s talk about how now people are attempting to thought police other people, women specifically. I’m sorry, but this is just mind blowing. And it might seem far fetched, but considering that apparently Republicans have decided another of their big goals is to de-fund Planned Parenthood, I don’t find it so hard to believe that they want to thought police women. Because let me tell you a little secret about federal funding for Planned Parenthood: it can’t be used for abortion. No, really. The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976. Go read about it and then come back to me.

So what’s the purpose, then, of de-funding Planned Parenthood? Well, they offer a lot of services to low-income women, such as pap smears and pregnancy tests and birth control. So, frankly, de-funding Planned Parenthood is an attack on low-income women, and women in general. I don’t know what we did to piss off Republicans so much (it was probably when we insisted on being treated like people instead of property, or when we demanded the right to vote! And now we go to schools and get degrees and jobs, even if we get still paid less than men! Where do we get off thinking we deserve all of this?!), but I can’t believe that women still vote for Republicans. I can’t believe there are women out there who still identify, proudly, as conservative. My mom is one of them. Trust me that we’ve had so many fucking arguments about this I can’t even count them.

Apparently even though Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, I’m still not to be trusted with health matters involving my reproductive organs. I’m to expect and allow a bunch of rich, old, white men to interfere in that decision. People who can, inarguably, never themselves be pregnant. So excuse me if I trust my own, and every other woman’s, goddamn judgment on this matter a whole lot more than I trust politicians’. And because they know they can’t win this fight, because women have fought long and hard for these rights, they’re doing it this way instead: attacking women who can’t afford to fight. Attacking women who can’t afford much of anything. And that’s despicable.

And this is why we need an overhaul. This is why we need intelligent people to rise up and take back our government. I don’t mean by using violence or anything like that. We just need to stop voting for fools who are terrified of change. Because this is just getting depressing and ridiculous. How much longer are we going to let these assholes run our country into the ground? How much longer are we going to let them set us back, push us down? Because I’ll be honest. I’m getting to my wit’s end here.

Please tell me I’m not alone.

_____
Some links on other issues, some of which I didn’t talk about here:

Anti-choice is anti-women [STFU Conservatives, which is a Tumblr that anyone with two brain cells should be following, although this post is one they’ve reblogged from another Tumblr]

Seriously, Republicans are waging a war on women [STFU Conservatives; Wonkette, also a site worth following]

Republicans are also waging a war on the poor [Wonkette]

____

I was originally going to post a disclaimer here at the end about how I’m not saying all conservatives/republicans are insane or evil, but you know what? If you’re a sane person who happens to have conservative leanings, or is a fiscal conservative or whatever, you should be embarrassed about what these politicians are doing. You should come up with a different name for your beliefs so you’re not associated with these people.

So I’m not sorry, and I’m not posting a disclaimer. This shit is insane, and it needs to be pointed out and stopped.

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