Democracy and humanity

Democracy has fallen into the trap of all power. It’s become about the wielder of power not about the people.

The idea of democracy is an ideal. It is a hope that giving the people a voice and a choice would motivate them to build a better world not just with other political bodies but with each other. To create connections to each other which would transcend the tribal(us vs them) and become a collective we. Thus we the people. It clings to the idea that the individual can both work towards their own goals while attempting to give others the best chance at good.

But it is here that is the first danger. What is good for me, individually, may be dangerous or disastrous for others.

The second danger is that of the collective. As people grow in numbers, in groups, it is less and less that the logical or those with ideas are leaders and more about charisma and how many people can you sway to your way of thinking.

The first was fought by creating the position of a representative who will take the idea of the collective good and represent that idea to create laws and a nation. With the understanding that failure to represent the will of the individuals who elected them will result in their being replaced. But the hope was that this representative would act in the best interests of the people. Not just give them what they said they wanted. In fact, it’s a bad idea to give people exactly what they want. Our stories are littered with the consequences of doing just that. The destruction of acquiring what we want is recounted over and over. It was the hope that a representative would see what we need to get some of what we want and work towards that.

But we are humans. And representatives almost immediately split into factions and those factions began to shape laws which benefitted those in power. Themselves. While occasionally throwing some bits and pieces to the groups that got them there. Those representatives gave power to these factions to enhance their own power but instead stripped themselves of the autonomy which allowed them the freedom to operate in both their own and their constituents best interests. Instead owing allegiance to the party rather than the people.

So the first danger falls prey to the second and we are thrust back into factions. And worse, we become beholden to them for identity. Because we as humans are swayed by what we are included into rather than a greater idea of self. Most people just want to live lives which are just hard enough to be interesting but not so difficult that there is struggle. So they allow others who want that power, want that struggle to become their rulers.

The only benefit in a democracy is that sometimes people can be motivated enough to act in their best interests and vote to remove those causing them harm. Stripping them of power.

But here is where the faction comes into play. By excluding other voices from the election and allowing only those who they know will act in good faith for their interests. Parties are the very definition of special interest groups yet are always pointing outside themselves at the other.

I don’t have a solution. Because this is extremely complicated and how do we create a system which both minimizes and weaponizes human self interest while allowing for the human need to be a part of a group without giving control to that group while giving enough power to make decisions which will effect other people.

Democracy is fucked up. But it must be ruthlessly preserved even against itself. And it must be brutally examined. Are your ideas for all of the people or only for your self interest? Do you act because you must for the greater good or because it will please your party or your friends? We must be willing to accept that other people and other ideas may be better than our own or our groups and work towards a common good.

This increase(some would say, inevitable increase) in factional power undermines the goals of democracy. And the thought may be to outlaw factions but I would counsel against driving factions underground. It is much easier to fight what you can see.

My hope is that people who seek office will use the parties to gain access to power then use that power against the factions in the interest of the entire group they represent rather than merely for those who elected them.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic.

Divisive enough for you?

It should be clear to everyone that I am political. That I engage people on issues and talk about the news of the day.

So, what is the news of the day?
Well, I voted. In fact, I voted early and received confirmation that my signature matched, which means my vote will be processed.

If nothing else the orange shitgibbon has inspired a new generation to vote, if the early numbers are to be believed. I just hope it takes and that cancer is cut out. Of course if his puppet master McConnell is not ousted it may go as poorly and if Barr and everyone involved in his presidency is not put on charges it will be an indication that we as a country allow this trash to happen.

So, that’s the state of things. Go vote. Clear Republican bastions are swaying. Punch drunk. Keep hitting till they go down. If you can vote and don’t, then you have only yourself to blame for whatever policies impact you and your families.

The tyranny of the commons

The tyranny of the commons

This tendency to emphasize the needs of the many against the needs of the few serves to highlight how little politicians and leaders understand the psychology of the individual.

It is a rare person who sees the broad collective good as both aspiration and moral imperative. Instead we have people who seize upon the aspirational. The glowing benefits of the end of struggles which are personally impactful.
This is the trap of the idealist.

I say trap because many idealists fall away from the struggle for better in the persuit of best. Discarding incremental lasting change in order to create the large mediapathic spectacle of demonstration or sweeping, one stroke changes. The failing is this: such actions and changes are fragile. They have no foundation and unless such change is shored up after the fact, they are poised to fall.

But the idealist fails to see this. Instead of a step on the road, one triumph is declared victory. The bulk of those seeking change look to these idealists as leaders and they fall away from movements because of this.

Without the implicit and expressed moral imperative for changes, our leaders will rest on their laurels. Waiting for new people to take up the fight.

The second concern is this: That in seeking large sweeping change we set ourselves up for the trap. By excluding anything but full and sudden action from our success criteria we set ourselves up to fail. And as those failures drag on, we ablate away the less resolute supporters. Support which is required to push these agendas forward.

So the question becomes, how do we mobilize for changes which require a large percentage of the population to agree with those changes as neccesary?

Politicians would say that voting for them at the national level is vital. And they aren’t wrong but they aren’t right either.

What is neccesary is the creation and motivation of small grassroots efforts. Ones which are united enough to push forward but small enough or embattled enough to resist outside influence. We see that when a grassroots movement gets large enough it becomes vulnerable to takeover. We saw that with the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the Tea party movement. Both started as small grassroots organizations which as they metastasized radically shifted into organizations which were often at odds with their founding principles.

This is not victory. This is the pause before the storm

What can I say in the wake of the news?
I suppose only to be vigilant. This changes nothing. Pence as president would be just as bad as Trump. Worse, perhaps, for the second term. Geared up to for one fight, we may loose another with different tactics. So we must remain vigilant. We must all vote and try to get all of those who are decided but won’t vote TO vote.

This is not a reprieve. This is a call to action. It must be. For the fight has not changed. This is still a war for the soul of our nation. We cannot be complacent in the final month. We must stand ready to vote out an administration which has made it its mission to dismantle our democracy. Before we lack the freedom to do so.

Schisms in the wake of the fall

I was a conservative in my youth. It’s how I was raised. How I was indoctrinated. And it’s really odd. Because when I was young my parents weren’t religious. Their positions weren’t anointed by the false images of a god that never was. So they justified them with science and opinion. And my mom was fiercely feminist. Like hardcore feminist. So she would talk and I respected the strong women in my life forever because of her. They used to be Democrats. They’d declare it that after Jimmy Carter they lost faith. That’s how they described it. Like politics was religion. And that is the key, isn’t it? They viewed their politics as religion and they rolled into the 80’s doing well economically. So they’re religion became money and their presidents became saviors. Each one inviolable. The opposing party, a villain. The face of the adversary. And that’s how they raised us. I was never comfortable with it. I argued and that original politics as science is what sunk in. And science, science changes. It looks at the world. It looks at the evidence and it shifts. By the time I was 18, I’d shifted to Libertarian. The platform not the individuals in it. The people that are in it are fringe. The ideas fringe. Maybe, I read too much Heinlein. But my thinking shifted. And my relationship with my parents became double sided. On one side they were my parents, and on the other they were adversaries. But ones who I still had some things in common with. Those commonalities waned down the years. As my eyes and world grew wider. And science based politics forced my positions and opinions to change. I became far left Libertarian. Until 2016. Until the rubber band broke, and I could no longer affiliate with a party that had anything in common with the Republican party and the monster they endorsed and elected. And I’ve watched as my now so called practicing Christian parents salivate at the thought of doing harm to those who are other than them. Eating up the thinly veiled propoganda of Fox news. And far right radio. Believing everything that Trump says even when it contradicts the things he just said. And I find that I love them. Because they are my parents. And they have never acted against me. Seem to genuinely want the best for me. But, I know that they are my enemies. And that hurts. That loss of safety. Because I can never be sure now that I will be supported. And maybe it’s dumb for an adult to need them still. But I’ve seen them be better people. And I wish they would come back.

Monetization of the human soul

I totally wish I was asleep right now
Huddle in a blanket
A little too warm but oblivious because I am about to be oblivious
I completely get why I’m not
I have to get up
I have to get ready for work
So that they keep paying me
So that I can pay bills
So that the lights stay on
So I can live in a house
Not the street
So that I can eat today and tomorrow
So that my health doesn’t deteriorate faster

And that’s completely why I want to be asleep
Because that
Is bullshit
I have to go to work
So that I don’t die
So that my living conditions don’t devolve
Because there is no basic human state of living
Which our society would support
No level at which safety is guaranteed
There is either working poor
Or super rich
If you stopped working today
How long would it be before you were homeless?
Before you couldn’t eat?
Before this level of belief that you are doing well deteriorates?
Not long
For most of us, not even a paycheck
For many of us
Less than that
The people who have somehow made enough money that they have other streams of income
Many of which are dependent on you going to that job every day
They last longer
But eventually we all fall
And who is left?
The ones who accumulated so much personal wealth that they are themselves nation-states. They personally employ so many people, that their lives are safe…for longer.
But the system is collapsing
In slow motion perhaps
But it’s falling
Because we created tools which influence human weakness on a vast scale
And gave those tools to whoever had any amount of money.
I finally see how the world of Anathem(Neal Stephenson’s book) comes about
How worlds fall and are reborn
But we don’t have a system in place to reboot us
We’ll fall into barbarism
And we’ll pay for the privilege
And the ones with the money will last longer
But when the structure crumbles
The towers fall eventually
But still
I have to go to work
Because I’m not paid to see and speak truth

Starving in the land of plenty

We act like our world is all one way
Blissful or burned by parallel reality
Same universe, same world

But really, how many lives can you see?
Which journeys will take you down roads that branch and branch until you see no way out?
Or end all too abruptly in a grave?
We want what we want and we want it now.
Blinded by our choice to only see those opinions that echo our own.
Unable to change minds because our own are so mired in our mirrors
Reflecting opinions back until anything outside is a foreign body to be attacked

Our opinions are so often lies of those tied to a news cycle
read an opinion and assimilate it rather than form your own
Learn someone else’s philosophy and wisdom, regurgitate
Look am I not wise
I said the same thing the parrots of my political flavor say

Things change but in cultural drifts
In ebbs and flows
Stutters and starts
In conflict
In choices each time we open our mouths
Open our doors

It’s in the quiet words we tell ourselves and in the reason why we shout
I’m here
I’m alive
I matter
Listen to me
Words fade in the cacophony

But be the rock unwavering
and be beaten to sand
A sacrifice
A choice
A stand

Life ends
In our silence
In our fear

Hope dies
Undiscovered in the discarded dross
Of our willful blindness

Take my eyes
I wish to see

In the face of potential disaster

We love who we love. You may not understand why I love the people I do. Or how that love manifests itself. But it is love.

You cannot fix me. I am not broken.
You cannot outlaw me. I have tasted freedom.
You cannot remove my rights. I will fight.

I have loved regardless of gender.
I have loved people.
I have loved individuals.
I love now.
I will love in the future.

I am not alone. We are not alone.

Calm dividing lines

There is a audio file with this spoken as it was intended. You’ll need to go to the site to hear it.

 

 

We calmly accept
our choices are few
left left, right right like some Konami code
choose me
it’ll all be different
but a single choice
works only when all choice is taken

we’re all parishioners at the same fat trough
elections made to break us
choose the choices we chose for you or
throw your vote away
to someone we don’t control
these party lines have all been erased and polarization just makes it easier to herd us
we are young and want a purpose
want our dreams back
but it serves no purpose
cause our choice is the lesser of two evils
all men and women
strawmen in this race of equals
both feeding your fear of the other
lest you vote your conscience
they say they’ll make it all better
but how can corruption and cancer heal our wounds
the lesser of two evils has been killing us we’re electing the butcher to be our doctor
this one takes a kidney and that one a lung
but at least I’m still alive to pay for the privilege
They rigged the system
And we keep tightening our own noose
Red and blue
The choice between blood on the ground and oxygen deprivation
I’d love to be the rallying call
but I’ve been screaming for years
and you still haven’t heard
choosing who holds the gun to your head
doesn’t matter if they’re Blue or Red
dead is dead
the body just hasn’t stopped twitching