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george wrote:I have the perfect solution for choosing our politicians. A lottery! We could sell lottery tickets for all offices to include the president and whatever the winner purchased is the office he would get. Anything would be an improvement over the system we have now. George Will- I would rather have the first one hundred names in the phonebook than the Harvard faculty running this country. Ferlin, you might just get elected by supporting an issue like that.
ferlin wrote:I will begin with a paraphrase of an observation by H. L. Mencken, a great American all-around curmudgeon and know it all who had an opinion on everything and never had a thought he didn't write down. I try not to emulate him too closely, but I digress.
The observation was: About five percent of Americans actually think. Another ten percent think they think. The rest would rather die than think.
Now, to introduce another paraphrase, this time from Mein Kampf and a certain Herr Hitler (I am nothing if not eclectic). He said something like this: The masses of people do not reason. Like animals, they are driven forward by fanaticism and hysteria.
Those two observations demonstrate, in a nutshell, what has always been wrong with American politics. The trouble is, that problem has never been more serious than in recent years, starting with the 1960s and increasing and worsening with every change in communications technology since. And that problem is, those who think, or at least think they think, try to gain power through the ballot box. But the ballots are cast, for the vast majority part, by those who would rather die than think. And the changing communications technology has meant that, increasingly often, those who would rather die than think can make themselves heard very clearly. Which makes it harder for those who think (or think they think) to control them. And, increasingly often, those who would control the masses who do not think find themselves speaking in the same language as the ones that do not think.
Before this ends up in the realm of babble, I will take a break and regroup and try to demonstrate the sense in what I am saying here.
Further observations along this line.....
When I was in junior high back in the early 70s (I guess they call that "middle school" now), the social milieu was organized by an interesting method. (I hear my campaign advisor shouting into my earphone, "Don't use words like 'milieu.' People will think you're an academic nutcase!").
The students inevitably found themselves projected into one group or another whether they liked it or not. The hierarchy (stop yelling into my earphone!) within the individual groups, and that of the various groups in the school, were determined by a process we students referred to as "calling caps." The process was simple. One individual within the group, an individual who wanted to be recognized as the leader, would issue a challenge to someone perceived as being the leader (or potential leader). It would be a comment designed to serve notice of challenge. If the challenge was completely ineffective, everyone would just walk away. Challenge would not have to be accepted. But if, in the opinion of the listeners, the challenge was one that had to be accepted (demonstrated that the leader had indeed been "served"), one or more of the crowd would shout "Boge" (with a hard G sound, as in Bogart). The leader now had to respond. If he responded with something not sufficient to the challenge, one or more of the crowd would shout "lame." Challenge had not been met. Challenger would now issue another serve. Leader better give a better answer now or start to lose face and therefore position. If the recognized leader gave a response the crowd thought sufficiently strong, one of more of the group would shout "Cap!" Now the challenger had to respond, or lose the challenge. If he came up with something that made enough students call "Cap!," then another round would be performed. This continued until it was generally recognized that someone had "won." That someone was now the leader. Until the next challenge. And such would be the workings of each group in the school. Multiply that by the number of groups within the student body, and that's how the social hierarchy was established. And things remained the same, or changed frequently, as long as the proclaimed and recognized leaders maintained the ability to win at Caps or moved on to the next school.
And that is how modern politics works. Just exchange the terms "officeholders" or "incumbents" for "leaders" and "candidates" for "challengers," and you have it down.
george wrote:Well, you still got my vote. The first thing we need is a place to stash your campaign donations. I know Jerry Spence quite well....I wonder if he is still alive, I haven't seen him for a long time.....If he is he would have some good ideas. You need some good ideas, times have changed since your last run. You need to learn to speak spanish, Of course the media will want to know how many gays you will have in your cabinet, The welfare set will want to know if welfare money can be used to buy dope, Your foreign policy will have to include chasing girls around Nigeria, Bundy will want a tax credit for all the cows he has been grazing on public land, Don't worry about what the taxpayer thinks about anything because they are now a very small minority. I would still like to manage your campaign finances. Let me know so I can get ready to move to Brazil.
ferlin wrote:A brief review of what I have covered so far, in describing how American politics tends to work.
First, five percent of the people actually think. Another ten percent think they think. The rest would rather die than think. The ones that actually do think, or the ones that at least think they think, attempt to gain political power by winning elections. They do so by appealing to those that would rather die than think. The ones who would rather die than think make up the masses of the voters. So the winners need to get enough of those as possible in order to win election.
Second, the masses of people do not reason, but are driven forward by fanaticism and hysteria. So one has to motivate the fanaticism or the fear in the masses, then manipulate that to gain votes and win elections.Unfortunately… this is largely what our media has devolved into; the motivator of fear and fanaticism. Those best able to do so get the largest microphones. The people who don't really like to think need someone to tell them what they think in case someone asks AND the people who need to motivate the fear and fanaticism are pretty good at finding and paying well those who can best do it.
Third, the one who is best a "calling caps" tends to be the on best able to achieve the best results. The ones that are really good at it, or listen particularly well to those able to do so, win elections and stay in power.
So, in the end, politics in America has become something of a poser pageant, in which the ones who look best and are better at soundbite banter drive the masses of voters anbd gain electioneering success.True enough…. we have had some people who were very good at acting like presidents, congressmen, senators, and the like. The sad part is that many of those we elect can't even get the acting part down very well.
I was trying to think who the last president we had was that was an actual leader and not someone acting like a leader….
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