Friday, October 4, 2013

If It Ain't Broke, It Ain't Congress

Warning: This blog contains politics. I try to keep my personal politics and religion out of my public blogs, but I couldn't help myself this time, and since it's been so long since I've posted here, I had to post something.

In case you hadn't heard, the government packed it in and called it a day Tuesday morning at 12:01 am. Depending on who you ask, it's all the Democrats' fault or it's all the Republicans' fault. Either the Dems acted like pissy teenagers and stubbornly refused to budge on the Obamacare issue, or the Pubs acted like pissy teenagers and took their shit and went home since they couldn't get their way.

Congress: that great, benevolent asylum for the helpless

There are arguments to be made on both sides (though admittedly, not all of them good). Personally, I think that while there's plenty of blame to go around, the Pubs can carry the lion's share of this fiasco. But I'm not so closed-minded as to think some of you out there don't feel exactly the same way about the Dems.

The whole fiasco seems doubly stupid given that so many opponents of Obamacare are in favor of the Affordable Healthcare Act. But this post isn't really about Obamacare, nor is it about the shutdown (so, yeah, flamers and trolls, please don't turn this into such a debate in the comments section, if you can absolutely help it, thanks).

This is about politics in general. It's about what's wrong with both parties, which can best be summed up by Marx (no, the other one):

There should be nothing at all surprising about this recent turn of events. Partisan politics has grown increasingly more vehement for the last thirty years. The truth is the problem isn't really Democrats. The problem isn't really Republicans. The problem is the two-party system itself. Ever since Newt Gingrich discovered C-Span in the 1980's, partisan politics has gotten more and more divisive and less and less cooperative.

Say what you like about his whack-a-doodle politics, I think we can all agree that the man had some groovy hair.
The advent of conservative talk radio, and its liberal cousin, have not helped matters.

However, it doesn't matter how long Dems and Pubs have been at a virtual impasse. The fact remains that for the most part, both parties absolutely refuse to work together. Oh, both sides say they want to work together. Both complain that the other refuses to sit down with them and talk. But this sounds more like an estranged married couple trying to explain why the divorce settlement isn't going well.

I blame the word compromise.

compromise (for most sane individuals and the rest of the civilised world): an agreement reached by mutual consent:

So who's going to argue with Atticus Finch? Lawyers and politicians, apparently:

compromise: a) giving up your own misguided thoughts and beliefs and agreeing with my clearly superior beliefs, b) being forced to give up my clearly superior beliefs just to appease you and your misguided worldview, c) fuck you

Somehow we have come to the point where both sides have decided compromise is a synonym for weakness. 

And it seems both sides have taken these words to heart, so we can really blame Jon Stewart for this fiasco, I guess.
Again, this is not about Obamacare here; there are plenty of examples of the two parties refusing to compromise, which I'd love to link to, but apparently googling "Congress," "compromise," and "refuse" brings up primarily Obamacare and shutdown topics with a handful of historical Great Compromises (curiously, none of which are more recent than the late 1800's), and I am just too lazy to keep trying. Just trust me on it or read a history book.

Both parties seem to demonize the other as either rich white men manipulating the poor white men through racism, sexism, and religion or lefty socialists who want to destroy the very fabric of our great nation and rip away our god-given rights to be bigots. 

So this is what we have reduced ourselves to: insults and name-calling. Kurt Vonnegut once claimed that adults tend to behave pretty much the same as teenagers, but he was being generous in regards to politicians. 

They behave exactly like elementary schoolchildren.

Just ask Sesame Street.

And they will continue to as long as there are only two powerful political parties. Nothing can ever get accomplished, really accomplished, without compromise. And as long as politicians continue to act like spoiled pissy brats, nothing can ever get accomplished in a Congress that is almost always roughly split down the middle (Yes, I know we have majority parties and minority parties, but there's never really more than a minor majority). It's too much to hope that politicians will start acting like grown-ups, so if we want to make Congress work (I'd say work better, but there's a government shutdown on), the only thing we can do is crowd the playing field some.

Which is why I have become a Democrat who votes Libertarian. I do not agree with all of the Libertarian platform. I don't have a problem with universal healthcare, for instance. I have no problem with government regulations on businesses and food inspections (and no, I'm not going to debate these things with you in the comments if you don't agree with me. I can't convince you, you can't convince me, so what's the point?). 

But I fervently believe that nothing in the government is going to change until we have at least three parties in both houses of Congress. The Libertarian party is the third largest political party after the Pubs and Dems, so I have begun throwing in my hat with them.

I catch flack from my Democratic friends sometimes. They tell me I'm "wasting" my vote on a party that cannot win.

I live in the deep South, any vote I cast is wasted. My vote for the Democrats is equally wasted on a party that cannot win, and the Pubs will win my state whether I vote for them or not. 

In actuality, if I want my vote to not be wasted, the only party I can vote for is Libertarian. Sure they won't win my state either, but if more Southern Democrats and more Northern Republicans voted Libertarian, they'd actually have a chance at gaining enough of a percentage to qualify for the same federal funds as the other two parties for the next round of elections. It would then be conceivable that we could, one day soon, have a third party in Congress, which would also mean fewer seats to both of the other parties. No one party can get a clear majority in this situation, and thus all parties would have to work together whether they wanted  to or not. 

At least I hope so, children are not known for their keen reasoning skills.

Nice words, Jack. Did you try them on Jackie O when she found out about Marilyn?


  1. So The government was working before Tuesday? Who'd have thunk it?

    1. Oh no. Tuesday was just the culmination of years of non-cooperation.

  2. I have to disagree with you about Newt's hair.

  3. Are you kidding?? Do you know how many Lego mini figures would kill for that hair?