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VegetableMan
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10 Jan 2022, 1:01 pm

I'm on my second Chris Hedges book, 'America: The Farewell Tour' which paints a very grim picture regarding the state of the U.S.. Once you begin to replicate the model of late-stage empires, the end is not very far down the road, perhaps just a couple of decades. Having spent 20 years as a war correspondent, Hedges has seen the collapse of many authoritarian regimes around the world. He adeptly puts the current state of the American empire into historical context.

Once the government was hijacked by the ruling elite, voting became a meaning activity as effecting any meaningful change. No good candidates can ever rise to the top because the entire system, including the media, is invested in maintaining the corporate state.

So is there hope? Yes, but it's going to require a massive awakening of the people to stop playing the game they've been programmed to play. We can't continue to hold our noses every few years and pick the candidate that seems the less objectionable. All we're doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic ( and perhaps adding a few pretty potted ferns.)

It will take a massive resistance on a scale we haven't seen since the the 1960s. As much as I'd like to disagree with Hedges' assertions, I can't. It's not a terribly positive message and not particularly palatable to most people.

I do applaud the author for his courage in the face of rampant censorship and narratives that are designed to keep the masses in a state of perpetual ignorance.
.


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roronoa79
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10 Jan 2022, 5:00 pm

Impose term limits.
End gerrymandering.
Fight for unions.
Stop acting like America is a special snowflake country that is more special and better than every other country. You're not that special. We're not that special.
End the two-party system through election reform.
Reform campaign finance; end the lie that "money is speech".
Actually make sure the wealthy are paying what little taxes they're legally obligated to pay.
Decrease bloated spending on the military.
Invest in public education.
Stop with the forever wars abroad.
Give immigrants an easy, fast path to citizenship.
Welcome immigrants into unions so they do not have to become scabs to feed their families.

Surely people on #BothSides can agree to at least some of these.

Don't like the corporate elite? Maybe stop blindly worshipping capitalism. The elite get off on your unwillingness to believe that there is any alternative to centrist, laissez faire capitalism.


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Δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν
Those with power do what their power permits, while the weak have no choice but to accept it.

- Thucydides


roronoa79
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10 Jan 2022, 5:12 pm

Stop romanticizing America's past.
Stop worshipping the Founding Fathers (blessings and peace be upon them) like they are demigods.
Stop treating the Constitution the way Christian fundamentalists treat the Bible.
Stop buying into Outrage News for Profit.
Stop lamenting that #BothSides are to blame then sit on your apathetic civic-rhetorical a** and do nothing to challenge the elite.
Stop acting like there is a moral equivalency between rioters protesting government violence and rioters who want to intimidate congress into not certifying an election.

(Edit: disclaimer that this is not directed at OP, this is all directed at my fellow Americans)


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Diagnoses: AS, Depression, General & Social Anxiety
I guess I just wasn't made for these times.
- Brian Wilson

Δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν
Those with power do what their power permits, while the weak have no choice but to accept it.

- Thucydides


VegetableMan
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10 Jan 2022, 6:34 pm

^^^My biggest fear is that Americans have been do systematically propagandized for so long, and anesthetized by entertainment, that it may be next to impossible to build the movements needed to bring about the changes you're taking about.

I agree on pretty much all your points, though. Is there any hope or are we pretty much screwed.


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roronoa79
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10 Jan 2022, 9:54 pm

Yeah I struggle to think of anyone I've met who does not think we should have congressional term limits. Do something like. I don't know. Limit 2 terms for senators (12 years) and limit 4 terms for Reps (8 years).
The main people I have met who oppose this are constitutional originalists who fear that with term limits Congress might lose objectivity and get swept up in a given time's Zeitgeist. (A stance which boils down to: "We need entrenched elites so they won't face consequences for ignoring the will of the electorate". It's paternalistic).
To which I would counter that I would rather be governed by people who live in the present--not fossils who have been in power since before I was born.

But instead of focusing on getting this very basic, simple s*** done that almost anyone can get behind, we bicker over culture wars and spending bills.


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Diagnoses: AS, Depression, General & Social Anxiety
I guess I just wasn't made for these times.
- Brian Wilson

Δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν
Those with power do what their power permits, while the weak have no choice but to accept it.

- Thucydides


slam_thunderhide
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11 Jan 2022, 11:50 am

VegetableMan wrote:
I'm on my second Chris Hedges book, 'America: The Farewell Tour' which paints a very grim picture regarding the state of the U.S.. Once you begin to replicate the model of late-stage empires, the end is not very far down the road, perhaps just a couple of decades. Having spent 20 years as a war correspondent, Hedges has seen the collapse of many authoritarian regimes around the world. He adeptly puts the current state of the American empire into historical context.

Once the government was hijacked by the ruling elite, voting became a meaning activity as effecting any meaningful change. No good candidates can ever rise to the top because the entire system, including the media, is invested in maintaining the corporate state.

So is there hope? Yes, but it's going to require a massive awakening of the people to stop playing the game they've been programmed to play. We can't continue to hold our noses every few years and pick the candidate that seems the less objectionable. All we're doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic ( and perhaps adding a few pretty potted ferns.)

It will take a massive resistance on a scale we haven't seen since the the 1960s. As much as I'd like to disagree with Hedges' assertions, I can't. It's not a terribly positive message and not particularly palatable to most people.

I do applaud the author for his courage in the face of rampant censorship and narratives that are designed to keep the masses in a state of perpetual ignorance.
.


I haven't read Hedges' book, and the complaints in your post seem rather vague to me, but it did seem to me that your views could be similar to my own until I got to the bit about the 1960s - although I could be misunderstanding what you meant by that bit.

Basically I would say this to anyone who dislikes the current state of America and who looks back with fondness on the upheavals of the 1960s: they should understand that the 1960s was just about the time when the current power structure tightened their grip and when their vision for America became entrenched, although (contrary to what some conservatives might argue) I believe the process started decades earlier.

It's pretty obvious to me why the system in the US (and in many other countries) is stacked against the majority of the people who live under it - my views on this are probably quite different to yours, and I know I couldn't say too much about it in here without my post getting removed.



slam_thunderhide
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11 Jan 2022, 12:00 pm

roronoa79 wrote:
Stop romanticizing America's past.
Stop worshipping the Founding Fathers (blessings and peace be upon them) like they are demigods.
Stop treating the Constitution the way Christian fundamentalists treat the Bible.
Stop buying into Outrage News for Profit.
Stop lamenting that #BothSides are to blame then sit on your apathetic civic-rhetorical a** and do nothing to challenge the elite.
Stop acting like there is a moral equivalency between rioters protesting government violence and rioters who want to intimidate congress into not certifying an election.

(Edit: disclaimer that this is not directed at OP, this is all directed at my fellow Americans)


Do you agree with the OP's claim that voting in America is a meaningless activity?

If not, then fair enough, but if yes, then why should it bother you if people try to overturn the result of an election? Why should an election result be sacred if the whole electoral system is a sham?



VegetableMan
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11 Jan 2022, 12:57 pm

slam_thunderhide wrote:
roronoa79 wrote:
Stop romanticizing America's past.
Stop worshipping the Founding Fathers (blessings and peace be upon them) like they are demigods.
Stop treating the Constitution the way Christian fundamentalists treat the Bible.
Stop buying into Outrage News for Profit.
Stop lamenting that #BothSides are to blame then sit on your apathetic civic-rhetorical a** and do nothing to challenge the elite.
Stop acting like there is a moral equivalency between rioters protesting government violence and rioters who want to intimidate congress into not certifying an election.

(Edit: disclaimer that this is not directed at OP, this is all directed at my fellow Americans)


Do you agree with the OP's claim that voting in America is a meaningless activity?

If not, then fair enough, but if yes, then why should it bother you if people try to overturn the result of an election? Why should an election result be sacred if the whole electoral system is a sham?


I know this comment wasn't directed at me, but I have a few thoughts.

Voter fraud and the rigged electoral system are two seperate issues. Regarding the latter, it is impossible for good candidates to rise from the slime because the system is engineered to take them down. The former is an issue of actual shenanigans in the counting of votes. Obviously we can't ignore that if it is proven it takes place, otherwise, it's a complete surrender to the ruling elite.

Getting rid of Trump was a very, very short term gain. But the long term consequences of not attacking the system that produced him will be beyond devastating.


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roronoa79
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11 Jan 2022, 7:37 pm

slam_thunderhide wrote:
Do you agree with the OP's claim that voting in America is a meaningless activity?

If not, then fair enough, but if yes, then why should it bother you if people try to overturn the result of an election? Why should an election result be sacred if the whole electoral system is a sham?

Voting both is and isn't meaningless.

It is meaningless in that both candidates are almost certainly going to be centrist capitalists who will maintain the status quo in Washington. Their differences lie mainly in rhetoric--not in legislative practice.

Voting is meaningful because voter apathy benefits the status quo. Voting is how you get career politicians out of office. Voting is how you get people into office who have a snowballs chance in hell of changing things.

You need to support and vote for candidates who will not be more capitalist shills and do-nothing career politicians.
The fact that we have self-described socialists in Congress has reinforced to me the importance of voting, because for all the forces working against those who challenge the status quo, those people can still win if enough people get behind them and do not give in to apathy.


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Diagnoses: AS, Depression, General & Social Anxiety
I guess I just wasn't made for these times.
- Brian Wilson

Δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν
Those with power do what their power permits, while the weak have no choice but to accept it.

- Thucydides


Dox47
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12 Jan 2022, 12:53 am

VegetableMan wrote:
The former is an issue of actual shenanigans in the counting of votes. Obviously we can't ignore that if it is proven it takes place, otherwise, it's a complete surrender to the ruling elite.


I've found that something along these lines tends to get lost in the 1/6 arguments, that if those people truly thought the election had been stolen, which I tend to think they did, then they weren't trying to overturn a democratic election, they were trying to save one, even if they were factually wrong about it. To me, that's a good illustration of the double edged sword of Americans, our national character leads both to great things as we pursue outlandish goals and sometimes succeed against the odds, and also makes us difficult to control and dangerous in ways that make the day to day function of the country more difficult; personally, I think it's a fair trade off, but not everyone agrees.


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The_Walrus
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12 Jan 2022, 2:42 pm

roronoa79 wrote:
slam_thunderhide wrote:
Do you agree with the OP's claim that voting in America is a meaningless activity?

If not, then fair enough, but if yes, then why should it bother you if people try to overturn the result of an election? Why should an election result be sacred if the whole electoral system is a sham?

Voting both is and isn't meaningless.

It is meaningless in that both candidates are almost certainly going to be centrist capitalists who will maintain the status quo in Washington. Their differences lie mainly in rhetoric--not in legislative practice.

Voting is meaningful because voter apathy benefits the status quo. Voting is how you get career politicians out of office. Voting is how you get people into office who have a snowballs chance in hell of changing things.

You need to support and vote for candidates who will not be more capitalist shills and do-nothing career politicians.
The fact that we have self-described socialists in Congress has reinforced to me the importance of voting, because for all the forces working against those who challenge the status quo, those people can still win if enough people get behind them and do not give in to apathy.

It's plainly untrue that both candidates are likely to be centrist capitalists. They will probably both be *capitalists*, but the Democrat will probably be a liberal social democrat and the Republican will probably, at best, be socially conservative, and could quite possibly be a Trumpian nut.

Also, let's be honest - the major problem in American politics right now isn't career politicians, it's the random extremists who wander in and cause genuine chaos. Give me Chuck Grassley over Majorie Taylor Greene any day. Give me Barack Obama over Donald Trump.

If your complaint is that neither of them represent your far-left ideals, then OK, you are at least advocating for the sort of electoral reform that would allow you to vote for candidates you like without risking - but complaining that "both parties are the same" is obviously wrong. Generously, it's a deeply biased position. Less generously, and I don't think this is true in your case but it is in most people who say it, it betrays an unfamiliarity with politics.



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12 Jan 2022, 2:53 pm

Oh, I'm sure they believed there was election fraud, no doubt about it in my mind. I'll get attacked for this, but I would say their hearts were in the right place, even if their brains were out to lunch.

I posed an interesting question to a friend of mine awhile. I asked her, "If you had uncovered empirical evidence of election fraud in 2020, would you expose even if it meant Trump would serve a second term." She said she wouldn't because it was more important to get rid of Trump.

Personally, I think election fraud on that scale is just wee bit more dangerous that Trump in the WH for another four years.

This post was in response to Dox47's post. I did not notice that Walrus had posted before me.


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Last edited by VegetableMan on 12 Jan 2022, 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

roronoa79
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12 Jan 2022, 5:11 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
It's plainly untrue that both candidates are likely to be centrist capitalists. They will probably both be *capitalists*, but the Democrat will probably be a liberal social democrat and the Republican will probably, at best, be socially conservative, and could quite possibly be a Trumpian nut.

Also, let's be honest - the major problem in American politics right now isn't career politicians, it's the random extremists who wander in and cause genuine chaos. Give me Chuck Grassley over Majorie Taylor Greene any day. Give me Barack Obama over Donald Trump.

If your complaint is that neither of them represent your far-left ideals, then OK, you are at least advocating for the sort of electoral reform that would allow you to vote for candidates you like without risking - but complaining that "both parties are the same" is obviously wrong. Generously, it's a deeply biased position. Less generously, and I don't think this is true in your case but it is in most people who say it, it betrays an unfamiliarity with politics.

I didn't say it clearly, but when I said centrist capitalists the "centrist" was modifying capitalist more than the politician in general. Politicians in this country differ mainly on social policies--but I have grown very tired of this being the main point of difference. Mainstream Democrats are vocal about social inequality--but very few are willing to talk about economic inequality and how the two reinforce each other.
This difference in social positions will hopefully become less pronounced as socially-liberal positions continue to become the norm.

Even if I weren't a leftist, I struggle to see how people expect the right (or in my case, the center too) will hope to reform the system. Centrist insider politicians have shown themselves to be incapable or unwilling to make any but the most incrementalist, ineffectual reforms. They refuse to rock the boat and it disenchants more people with each passing day. They refuse to be truly laissez faire, because their corporate donors expect preferential treatment from them. They refuse to call for strong regulation, because that would alienate their donors and the all-regulation-is-socialism crowd.
Centrist politicians are imo unlikely to support term limits or reforms which might make us a multi-party democracy, because it would undermine their duopoly on power.


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Diagnoses: AS, Depression, General & Social Anxiety
I guess I just wasn't made for these times.
- Brian Wilson

Δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν
Those with power do what their power permits, while the weak have no choice but to accept it.

- Thucydides


VegetableMan
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12 Jan 2022, 5:20 pm

There is no way to reform the system from within, only without. Voting will not impede our steady decline.


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Dox47
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12 Jan 2022, 7:36 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Also, let's be honest - the major problem in American politics right now isn't career politicians, it's the random extremists who wander in and cause genuine chaos. Give me Chuck Grassley over Majorie Taylor Greene any day. Give me Barack Obama over Donald Trump.


Eh, I'd say they are different problems, and it's the cynicism and opportunism of the careerists who make the weirdos seem viable to a public who's desperate for a change, any change.


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