Saturday, September 3, 2011

Partisan vs Politics and the Loyal Opposition.

Every once in a while, someone will dismiss something as 'just politics'.  By that they mean it is not really going to effect their lives.  But politics is real and it does effect their lives.  What they usually mean is "it's just PARTISAN politics", as opposed to general politics.

General politics, whether it is local, state, national is about three things:  1) What activities we want the government to charge fees/taxes for doing (and how much),   2) What activities we want the government to severely punish people for doing (and what that punishment will be - jail/torture/death),  and 3) What we want the government to do with the money it collects.  All three of those things are EXTREMELY important - at least if you don't want the government to tax you $150 for going to the bathroom, break your hands for saying "Recall Election", and buy underage sex slaves for all Congressman.  

Partisan politics are generally not important.   Partisan means you are doing something for your faction, not for the good of the country.  Usually it involves Ad Hominem (attacking a person instead of his logic).

 There are two cases where Partisan politics becomes obvious:  The Flop and the Ignore.   The Flop is when a politician that has previously supported something (like say healthcare, GOP) proceeds to object to a plan that looks a lot like what they used to support because it is now being offered up by their opposing party, that is "partisan politics".   The truth is, if that person had been in power they very well might have made the same plan, or one very similar to it.

The "Ignore." is when when a politician that has previously attacked something (like Guantanamo Bay, DNC) suddenly becomes quiet when his own party starts doing the same thing.   The truth is, they were just using is as a weapon, they really did not see how to do it any better. 

Partisan politics is not very interesting (with the exception of a good sex scandal).   It tends to be boring because most of it consists of rather stupid lies. Unless of course you belong to that faction.  Then you swear it is the most important thing in the universe.   

But the rest of us know better.

Real politics is about real disagreements on how to do things, as opposed to simply who gets the credit, or the discredit.  When someone says they are devoted to getting X done, even if their opponent gets the credit, that is real politics, without the slightest taint of partisanship.

One of the problems I have had with the GOP is that they have become overtaken with partisan politics.  They vilify everything their opponents say and do - even when it is almost a carbon copy of what they said not that long ago.

For example, one man said all of the following quotes -  "I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself. "

 "I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary.

"It doesn't do good to open doors for someone who doesn't have the price to get in. If he has the price, he may not need the laws. There is no law saying the Negro has to live in Harlem or Watts."

"It's difficult to believe that people are still starving in this country because food isn't available. "

The Negro bit makes it obvious that they are a bit old.  But they still make a lot of sense.  Can you guess who said them?  A Democrat, a Republican, or maybe what the GOP calls a R.I.N.O (Republican In Name Only). 

Need some help?  How about one more line:  "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall! "  Yes, Ronald Reagan said all of those things. 

Won't catch a Republican saying any of that stuff now for fear of being called a RINO.    Similarly, Democrats don't object to the Guantanamo Bay or the loss of our rights in the name of Homeland Security- all for Partisan reasons.  To quote Benjamin Franklin (correctly): "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."     But the Democrats don't talk about it anymore.  Why?  Because of Partisan politics - the GOP (and the DNC to a lesser extent) are supporting their own personal agendas above the good of the nation.

In the 1800 US presidential election, something most unusual happened - Vice President Thomas Jefferson defeated the existing President John Adams.   Back then, the Vice President was whoever had the second highest vote tally, not an add on selected by the presidential candidate.  This was the death knoll for the Federalist Party and began the rule of the "Democratic-Republican Party". (Note this political party eventually became the Democrats, even though at the time it held a point of view that was closer the current "Republican Party")   During this time, despite a hard fought partisan fight, between Jefferson and Adams, a new term came about: "Loyal Opposition".

Loyal Opposition was originally created by the opposition (the Federalists) to show that while they dislike Jefferson, they were still loyal to both the Country and the political process.   Later, it became accepted as the norm.  It helped prevent extreme partisanship that can cause a Civil War for 60 years - despite clearly have dramatic differences that could not be solved without a Civil War.

But the recent partisan politics is destroying the idea of the Loyal Opposition.   When the conservatives claim that the Democrats are Socialistic (we actually have one socialist - Bernie Sanders of Vermont - in Congress but he refuses to join the Democratic Party because he does not agree with their politics - The Democrats run candidates against him and fail to unseat him - as does the GOP), engage in treason, or call for "Second Amendment Solutions", they are not being a Loyal Opposition.  They are in fact engaging in Partisan politics to the extreme, just short of Insurrection.

Look, part of the problem is that some really evil men have in the past claimed that they were just exaggerating and they did not really mean the obvious violent consequences of their untrue statements.   Then we found out that they were not exaggerating but were in fact hiding the true extent of their evil.   It is EASY to lie and say "I didn't mean it that way.", even when that is exactly what you meant.

More importantly, politics evolve.  What you propose as a sneaky bit of propaganda, if it is successful, gets BELIEVED by the next generation.   That is part of the success of the Civil Rights.  We got people to publicly state that they believed blacks, Jews, women etc. were equal, even though they did not believe it.  This led to the next generation actually believing it - at least a little bit more. Go through 2 1/2 generations later and we had a fight between a black man and a white woman for the Democrat Presidential candidate - and the black man became President.

That is the real danger with partisan politics.  When you lie about what you believe, calling it "an exaggeration", the next generation starts to believe it.  If the lie/exaggeration gets people elected, the next time they repeat the process, making the exaggeration even stronger.  And you are not going to like what they end up believing - because if it worked once, it will become VERY extreme until it becomes blatantly obvious false.

That is the real secret to the rise of the Tea Party  For a long time the GOP claimed they were all about Fiscal responsibility and that the DNC were fiscally irresponsible. The GOP talked about how the DNC was wasting massive amounts of money on social programs that Americans did not want.  The people that started these lies knew they were lies but said them anyway as good propaganda.  They did not realize that their core constituents would believe them and eventually rise up and demand they take real action to fix the situation. 

Right now the GOP is discovering what happens when the lie about the US budget becomes so obviously false.  They said we are wasting money and now the public is demanding we stop wasting it.  Cuts will be made and later the public will realize they were not cutting fat, but instead cutting muscle and even bone.  If too much damage gets done, it could kill the GOP and hurt America for a very long time.

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