Music Break: Ray Charles



Quote of the Day: Bruce Willis

I'm only a Republican if... 

"I'm sick of answering this f*cking question. I'm a Republican only in that I want a smaller government. I want less government intrusion. I want them to stop sh*tting on my money and your money and tax dollars that we give 50 percent of...every year. I want them to be fiscally responsible and I want these g*ddamn lobbyists out of Washington. Do that and say I'm a Republican...I hate the government, OK? I'm apolitical. Write that down. I'm not a Republican."

Bruce Willis
American actor, producer, musician
February 2006
in response to a reporter who asked him a political question

Some Americans Are Unhappy With Each Other

Essentially two segments agree on the problems...

They just don't like each other's political answers to them.

It would be an understatement to say there is an ideological political war going on in this country and in this commentary I'll just use the simple "Left" and "Right" to refer to the opposing sides, although it is far more complex than that.

Basically it seems that the Left wants to preserve and create a lot of the government institutions and social programs that have evolved largely since the sixties. Their belief is that all Americans should pool their money by taxation and that the government should provide broad education and social services, provide health care, insure equality by a quota system and regulate business on a number of levels. The government is the mainstay of society and it is essentially a Statist point of view.

Primarily the Right appears wants to dismantle the majority of current government programs that have developed since WWII and increased over the last 40 years. They believe that Americans know best how to disperse their money and that the government should be limited and small, with elimination or privatization of public schools, social services, health care, Affirmative Action quota systems and allow business to operate in a free market. People on a local level know best how to operate society. It is essentially a libertarian republican (lower case) point of view.

For the most part the opposing sides have aligned themselves with the two major political parties, the Left with the Democrats and the Right with the Republicans. They argue over everything from the economy, social programs, immigration, business, individual rights, the role of government...ad infinitum. We all know the topics we've heard them so much and so loudly. They are both rife with hypocrisy and contradictions on what they believe in and what they do.

This is a huge over-simplification I realize.

In my opinion most Americans who align themselves with one side or the other, do not really pay much attention to the finer points of each side, the contradictions within them or the real implications of what each stands for. Really who could, unless you're a political junkie or social activist? I think a lot of people choose sides for cultural rather than political ideal reasons. Alliance relies more on who they are most comfortable and identify with for social and cultural reasons. Sure, they essentially agree with the viewpoint of their preference but often it is based on language, jingo and perceptions of what they think that party stands for. If you listen to the "base" of each, the complaints about "what is wrong with America," are essentially the same. The fundamental disagreement is how to resolve those complaints.

If I were a betting man, I know which side I would bet on that will dominate the upcoming midterm General Election. I would also bet that the majority of common complaints won't be resolved or if they are, in a manner that the dominating party professes to believe in. I would say the same about the opposing side if they were in that position.

That's because we are not even hearing each other, much less listening, we're too busy shouting down the opposition. There isn't recognition the answer isn't in political solutions to manipulate government their way, it is in resolution by finding common ground based in reality.

There is no reality in current politics. We don't recognize that all sides are Americans and do have a voice, whether we like it or not. It's political football, the winner takes all, but no one really gains anything but a cheap trophy. Politics is interesting to watch to me, but I hold no belief that there is a political answer to the present problems in this country. Power really does reside in the people in these United States of America but it isn't in the political arena and until people realize that, we're deadlocked. It really is in the power of people going out and doing constructive things and making change happen in the real world, without being sidetracked by current political party machinations. Our government was structured that way originally...to allow people the freedom to do these things. Early on in our history political parties got in the way but in the past 30-40 years they have all interfered too much and gained too much control. We allowed that. The Political Class has gained a power it was never meant to have and people will have to pay attention to stop that.

It remains to be seen if the Political Class, in my lifetime, is reduced to being representatives of average people, but not impossible.

Both major parties are failing, although it isn't obviously apparent now. If the party not in power now does regain the upper hand in the upcoming election, I would also bet their weaknesses and failings will be displayed (and exploited) in the same manner as the current majority party.

That could be the start of the recognition that neither party serves the American people well and that "the lesser of two evils" is not acceptable any longer. Is it possible for a third alternative to rise up in the near future? 

American Points of View

Across the cultural opinion spectrum...

What We Saw at the Glenn Beck Rally in DC
reason.tv 08/28/10


What We Saw at the "One Nation Working Together Rally"
reason.tv 10/02/10