Wednesday, January 27, 2010

it's broken, people

Schism I by Lydia Lynaug

The State of the Union speech is tonight.  We turned it off when the talking heads started analyzing the coming speech based on the color of Michelle’s dress.  seriously?  

Personally, I don’t think it makes much difference what the President says.  The two party system doesn’t work anymore.  We have outgrown it only no one’s really realized it yet.  My friend John Kurman over at Random Walks did an excellent post today, Wither America .  He has an interesting perspective.  Most people in the country don’t vote for either party, they vote for None of the Above (see John’s post).

This country is so deeply and irrevocably divided that even when you get someone who genuinely wants to do something to fix the underlying problems, it is impossible to actually do anything.  Immediately the party not in power spends all it’s influence and resources undermining the party in power.  And, if the politician strays too far to the center in order to attract support to actually accomplish something, then his own party arrays against him.  Good ideas never enter the picture because it’s not about actually fixing anything, it’s about being in power.  In this, both parties are exactly the same.

The thing is, if we as a people don’t rise above this division, then the people are going to be wishing things were as good as they had been in 2009.  2009 will seem like a picnic.  Because if this continues, we’re all going down.

I was telling Marc earlier that I think the only way to reconcile this country is to divide.  

“Oh, you mean like Pakistan and India?” he asks.

Well, I would hope we would be a little more civilized about it.

He thinks, though, that our generation will have to die before any compromise can take place, before the country can heal itself.  That the division, the schism that occurred in the 60s is too deep and too ingrained for us, the baby boomers, to be able to rise above.

A pretty sad legacy for the summer of love.


  1. We all need more civility, more compromising. We can't stand behind the banners. We need to get in front of an issue and look at how we can all get the best solution for our bucks.

  2. I agree, it really is a problem for BOTH sides of the fence. If I turn off the actual content in nearly any debate between so-called liberals and conservatives, they're almost impossible to tell apart. Neither side listens, both sides sling the rhetoric, both sides label the other PoV as stupid/ dangerous/ deadly.

    I get conservatives being opposed to change, but I've been terribly disappointed that liberals seem just as resistant. There's merit and bullshit on both sides of the fence; it's not "compromising" to listen (really listen) to both and make up your own mind. I liked what Obama started with, I was afraid that both sides would porkbarrel it into oblivion, and that's just about what's happening. I think we're in a situation now where neither side wants to lose face by admitting the other might have a point. How playground.

  3. Wow. That was sobering. I caught the tail end of his speech, and it was some mighty fine statesmanship. Echos of Kennedy's call to service and sacrifice. The man has an impossible job, but he reminded us that he's one man in a nation of 300 million. I'm hoping to do my part, but the points you make cannot be denied. Like Obama, however, I'm not giving up.

  4. It is not a popular view, but i personally believe the country should have divided during the Confederacy. I realize that this wouldn't have been good for a lot of people, & i'm sorry about that (no i don't support slavery of any kind). But i do believe the country would have been better off politically had it divided & i don't believe Lincoln had any Constitutional basis for starting that war.

    That was the beginning of the slippery slope of losing many of our freedoms.

  5. It is very similar over here. So few vote these days and an increasing number that do vote do not vote for the major parties.

  6. I so agree with you!! We are hopelessly divided with no healing in sight. I watch the Rep. and Dem. and they are so juvenile! Our whole system is becoming a joke. Tragic for sure.

  7. hey ellen - we suffer much the same with a three (plus) party system. democracy doesn't work as it's currently set up. the first act of any entity is to ensure its own survival and that usually runs counter to its best intentions. a sorry fact of political life. in much the same way as environmental awareness has and is and will take forever to reach action because of the vested interests so it has, is and will be in politics. so i ignore politics and live my own life as i think that can be done best. oh, and trust in change as a long ter, piece - it'll come. steven

  8. The Republicans could always fire on Fort Sumter. It's been done before.

  9. Ellen, politics is such a slippery slope. I know the ideal of the two party system is good, but I'm afraid you're right... it's just not working. There are too many agendas, too many lobbyists, too many special interest groups, too many scared politicians seeking re-election who instead of serving their constituents, pander to the general electorate.

    You know I'm not a fan of Obama. But what his Presidency has done so far is prove what's wrong in this country isn't all George Bush's fault, after all. I'm not saying George Bush was perfect, but he wasn't solely responsible for the economic meltdown and it turns out, he's not the anti-Christ.

    The only thing that matters now - regardless of who is President and whether or not there is a super majority is fixing what's broke. However, whoever, whatever it takes. Pipe dream? I sincerely hope not.

    Awesome post as usual.

  10. It is always fascinating to see inside your mind.

  11. The Audacity of Nope, an article in the washington post yesterday by Joel Achenbach says the same thing. Yes we are split in two. We've hit an iceberg and we're going down. How do we want to sink? Gracefully or not?

    Most empires implode. Seems we'd rather explode. Who knows?

  12. Cynthia, I agree that the us vs. them thing feels and sounds the same from both sides.

  13. I wish there was a way to apply logic & common sense to the issue. Can't we elect Spock so he can take our human crazy & do what's best for the greater good?

  14. I'm going over to Random Walks and read your suggestion; however, You have put this situation so eloquently; I so agree with your assessment of the state of the union...

  15. I so see that! We are broken, not making sense, not clear headed- ill educated with guns...falling to the lowest common denominator and maybe we must for a while. Allow the ignorant to take charge and really sink this is out of control and though we have given it our best shot, broken the rules, challenged authority, read everything, tollerated "free speach" from those who have no buisness ever speaking,let alone breathing...the right to bear arms for every idiot whose brains are squirming like toads- our best shot was not good enough to stablize the country, Money and coorporations, greed seem always to be the bottom line.When Obama was elected I of course was jubilant and then sat down and said " Damn, he is such a good man with such a stellar family- this will ruin his day".

  16. Like you, I could care less about the first ladies attire! We need a giant do over. We need politicians who will truly serve the needs of their constituents and not those of the lobbyists........ I could go on, but what is the point?

  17. Actually, Reya (The Gold Puppy,,I came here from her post) inspired my post today. I find her writing very inspiring eventhough (as i have expressed to her), I know we have different political views. We are facing a very real danger. your post is right to the point. I posted on my "political" post "There is NO HOPE without TRUTH in Government" Each is welcome to comment.

  18. Ellen, I totally agree with every word you wrote and could not have found a way to say it as well as you did in the paragraph beginning with: "even when you get someone who genuinely wants to do something to fix the underlying problems..."

    I know this is the way politics is played but when the republicans sat there refusing to even clap for one or two issues or ideas spoke of I thought, REALLY? Is this what you all are doing when we're in THIS much trouble? REALLY? Aren't your kids growing up here too? Aren't you going to have grand kids who will live on in this place? Aren't we grown ups now? Didn't we learn to play nice in kindergarten? I don't need them to stand up or give an ovation to every idea but, well, I thought it was pitiful.

  19. I remember - some had plans to put ousley brother's product in the water supply system...might be worth considering now...

  20. it sure is broken
    I think I under estimated how uninspired this country is and how selfish and unwilling to yield so many are

    I think Bush did horrible horrible harm to this country by allowing zealots to become so powerful

    and the corporations and the banks!!

    I've been saying - in a small and worried voice - that this country needs a revolution.

    I am afraid that may be true.

  21. Yes. There is no wish I wish more sincerely for our dear American neighbors than for a healing of the country's divisiveness.

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  23. I so agree with you. Maybe since I'm older & have been frustrated off & on with how the two parties don't try to do anything. Always looking over their shoulder to see if what they do will get them re elected.

    I voted for Obama. I usually am demo but I vote who I think is the best one for the job. And, whether my vote gets in, I expect the person who got the job to do the job.

    I saw some of the faces during the speech. How old are some of those guys ? 80

    I so hope they let O do some of what he needs to do to help our country.

    (I wish the other side would remember why they ran in the first place. I hope it was to help not just to be popular)

  24. I'm with Marc, actually. The sort of thing that gives me hope is the sense that the younger folks in the pipeline now have more nuanced views. Perhaps it's "none of the above" - or perhaps it's "some of all of the above." And I also don't think that the truest change will come about through electoral politics, but through a combination of personal choices, popular culture, spiritual practices, and world-wide communication - which is a good reason for blogging!

  25. I can hardly bear to watch or read the news.

    I was encouraged yesterday though after Obama's powow with some of the Congressional Republicans at their retreat yesterday. I actually heard some of them on the radio say they would try to help with what they agree upon with the President.

    We have SUCH a frustrating system. Sometimes I wish for multiple parties that all have a chance at winning elections, but when I look at India, for instance, their system is another kind of joke, and out of protest people just don't vote.

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  28. As scary as it is, you're absolutely 100% correct. Our politicians could care less about the needs of their people...all they care about is the power.

    Obviously, if the Republican party is willing to use Sarah Palin as their 2012 presidential candidate...they must be hard up for popular leaders. Ye Gods is that woman a moron.

    This scares me...for my children. What kind of country are they going to grow up in?


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