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How can we fix American politics?
in Politics

By Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 1125 Pts edited February 11
The country is broken. In recent years, everything has been divided across partisan lines, and no matter which side you stand on, one thought is common: The other side is wrong and a threat to the US.

Both major parties constantly demonize and berate the other, they are represented for their specific policies and nothing more. There is no creativity, no variety, either you chose the donkey or the elephant. A simple system for a simple people.

In some other countries their are lots of parties each with their own unique goals and policies. Although this certainly adds to the complexity of the system, it overall produces a more robust and specific set of political ideas and motives, which means that here can be better policies created and examined from more angles.

The founding fathers feared a two party system:

John Adams "There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."

George Washington "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty"

Today we see this despotism in full swing, exactly as the founding fathers feared. It is therefore that I argue that perhaps the best way to fix the country would be to break up the two major parties into many smaller ones, although accomplishing this would be no easy task.

Despite this there are already many indicators of obvious fractures in both parties. The DNC for example is relatively split between the far left socialist types and the more moderate traditional Democrats. The GOP of course is split between populists and traditional conservatives, with many ties to the libertarian party.

This is my opinion for what goals we might set to better the US for future generations.
smoothieZeusAres42
At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
All of that so we can argue about nothing.



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  • I agree with your premise, but if you are suggesting that Trump is this Despot trying to elevate himself with no caring for America, then you are way off base.

    Americans for decades have been crying out for a President who would not be beholden to the corrupt powers controlling every single election and giving us the same corrupt liars who will do the bidding of the powers to be.

    All of a sudden, Trump came out of no where, having enough of his own wealth to run for President without the backing of those powerful entities.

    Both Democrat and Republican politicians hated him, which should be a telling sign that he is not yet one more corrupt stoog.
    Do you know why both sides tried to defeat him? He was what they always feared. Someone not beholden to their influence and money. Someone who might actually end this stranglehold on every election.

    You say we need more Parties, and I do not disagree, but the reason we have so few Parties is because the people seldom vote for third Party candidates. It's up to the people to change America, and when they are so fixated on what free stuff Government can give them, third Parties go nowhere.@Happy_Killbot
    PlaffelvohfenHappy_Killbot
  • @We_are_accountable I didn't mention Trump anywhere. Never even heard of him... Do you mean the reality TV star?

    If everyone hates someone, isn't it a non-sequitur to assume that means this individual isn't corrupt? If they were completely corrupt wouldn't we expect to see the same thing?

    A lot of politicians are wealthy enough that they can do their own things and support their own campaigns. They don't call congress "the millionaire's club" for nothing.

    The people are kind of the problem. Americans are not exactly the sharpest crayons in the shed. How are you supposed to convince people to vote if they have more than two options?
    PlaffelvohfenDee
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • NopeNope 359 Pts
    The problem with the current political setup is it perpetuates a two party system. The current voting system is a good example of this. These systems would have to be alter if the USA is to be able to remain with multiple party's and not revert back to a two party system. Smaller party's can form coalitions to gain support but the coalitions should not be made permanent or you end up with a large party that may have a lack of focus. For example the issue of abortion, Illegal immigration and social programs are not that connected. A side may appeal to certain political ideology. However it has gotten to the point where they are so connected by one party that a stance on one of these issues defines the stance on the others.
    Happy_KillbotPlaffelvohfenZeusAres42
  • It's political polarization and it's huge. In fact, I think I would go so far as to say it's one of the biggest barriers to being able to get anywhere in a debate. There loads of people with dichotomous viewpoints that fail to recognize that political views rest a wide spectrum with billions of people across the globe sharing a mixture of both liberal and conservative views.

    In fact, "dichotomous thinking" is a cognitive bias (a thinking error; not a fallacy in itself although it leads one to make fallacies). And even though we're all susceptible to this bias some are more prone to it than others.

    Black and white thinking is the tendency to think in extremes: I am a brilliant success, or I am an utter failure. My boyfriend is an angel, or He’s the devil incarnate.

    This thought pattern, which the American Psychological Association also calls dichotomous or polarized thinking, is considered a cognitive distortion because it keeps us from seeing the world as it often is: complex, nuanced, and full of all the shades in between.
    https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/black-and-white-thinking#potential-related-conditions

    And in the case of American Politics, these views seem to be rampant. In saying this I am not excluding other countries; just most of my interactions have been with people from the US. Ironically, a lot of the great stuff I have learned has also come from some very great people in the US too.

    One of the ways in which I think we can overcome this is via being exposed to critical thinking skills, how to think about thinking, how to think critically about things that matter and so forth. I think this also helps if we're exposed to this preferably from a young age. It's hard to think critically I think as one gets older and more beliefs become firmly ingrained.
    Happy_KillbotsmoothieNopePlaffelvohfen









  • I said "IF" you are talking about Trump. If you were not, my apology for assuming.@Happy_Killbot
  • First, people should stop catastrophizing everything. We hear this all the time: "This is the crucial time", "The country is falling apart", "We are divided". A society is supposed to be divided on a large spectrum of issues; if it is not, then chances are authoritarianism has already come and subdued the population.
    By pretty much any reasonable metric, we are living in the most prosperous and peaceful time and region humanity has ever had. I find it hard to reconcile this with the claim that "the country is broken".

    Second, politics is not everything. People should stop spending so much time on media, where sensationalism gets out of hand regularly and makes people believe in horrors that, in practice, do not exist and do not affect their lives in any way.
    Yes, politics is messy; it has always been. Yes, perhaps it is messier today than it was a few decades ago. No, it is not going to affect your life significantly, unless you are so invested in it that it has become a part of your reality, whether it affects your actual life or not.

    Third, it does not even seem that bad, in comparison to some periods. What about the McCarthyism era? What about the Civil War? Those periods were extremely partisan, with the most ludicrous arguments on both sides possible, yet we went through them and emerged on the other end, stronger than ever before. 
    People should have a perspective; instead of focusing on here and now all the time, it helps taking a bird's eye view on the situation every now and then. A lot of stress comes away when you do so.

    Forth, in my opinion, the best change you can make is in your own life. Set an example by achieving your life goals, by treating other people well, by having fun in life everyday, etc. Do not obsess over things that you cannot have a strong impact on and target, instead, things that are within your power to change.
    You are not going to change how the two major parties function, unless you have an absolutely killer plan in mind. Life is too short to worry about these things anyway. Talking about them all the time is not going to cut it and is only going to get you frustrated.

    I think more and more these days that the whole politics thing exists only to distract people from what really matters. People spend a crazy amount of time following the media and arguing over things that barely affect them, and have nothing to show for it, as at the end of the day they only have one vote. At the same time, their life suffers, as they could have invested their time and energy in so many better ventures, so when on the deathbed they could say, "I lived my life like a champion and accomplished everything I wanted, and more!"
    These large-scale events are very hard to predict and to affect; one is better served adapting to them and moving on.

    Just my few cents.
  • @MayCaesar In this case, there is hard evidence that the US is divided and more so than at any point in recent history.
    https://www.people-press.org/interactives/political-polarization-1994-2017/

    Politics do have an effect on our lives, if we like it or not. What we can do about it is limited, however a well informed non-voter is always preferable to an uninformed voter.

    I don't think that things being worse in the past unbinds us from our current reality. If things are starting to go south, it is imperative we take action now to avoid further catastrophe.

    I don't have a killer plan in mind, but I would like to have one. Many of my life goals do revolve around making changes like this, and besides I would enjoy the challenge. Life is to short to not worry about these things. I agree that talking about them won't get anyone anywhere, but it is a necessary step in advancing that goal.

    Why merely adapt when you can make the changes you desire? Why be a spectator when you can be a gladiator, caked in mud and splattered with blood, it is not the critique who enjoys the spoils of war, nor the passive who inherits responsibility. Fortune favors the bold, and I'm crazy enough if I knew a way to break up the two major US parties, I would.
    ZeusAres42
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 2803 Pts
    edited February 12
    @Happy_Killbot

    And how many times has this division affected your relationships with other humans, for example? I am certain that, unless most of your friends are highly invested in politics and identify with it, you have rarely had any trouble over it - and if the "unless" case holds, then, again, it all comes down to the same problem as I was talking about: people waste too much time and energy on politics.

    Nothing really is going south. I propose the same experiment I have proposed many times in the past, and did myself: take a month long break from politics, full on. Do not read any media, do not partake in any discussions, etc. Focus instead on other areas of your life.
    You will not recognise yourself a month later, and you will be surprised to realise just how much you used to obsess over things that do not matter. 
    Politics is like a drug: you consume it and think that it is a big deal; then you quit, and a while later you cannot believe you ever willingly consumed it. My father has been hooked up on this his entire life and only recently got off, and I have never seen him as happy and serene before as he is now. It is not a joke; it actually is an addiction, a drug.

    I am not saying that you should not follow the main events and such, but you should not give them more attention than they deserve. Think about the past: how many times did you predict horrors that never happened in the end? Perhaps you are making the same mistake now, wanting to avoid further catastrophe that is not coming in the first place.

    I do want to change the world for the better, but I actually know what I can do for that. I am interested in going after the core of most individual and all societal issues: people's inability to connect with each other. People are so afraid of any possibility of adversity, that they stay in their small social and societal bubbles and become melted by them into grey conformist mass. I want to teach people how to develop their own personality and take their life, including their socialisation, under control, and I have plans on making a change on a wide scale worldwide.
    If I did not have such plans, then I would not waste my time worrying about it and would pick something else I can make a difference in.
    At the same time, when making a difference in the world, you need to make sure that doing so also makes you personally happy, otherwise it is all a waste. Do you think that swimming in the dirty and corrupt world of politics will make you happy? I cannot answer this question for you, but I would venture that the answer is no, and you can reach this answer by reflecting on this. Politics corrupts souls and pits people against each other, and you probably saw yourself getting carried away by this and telling things to people you would never do otherwise here. Is it worth it? It is your decision.

    In any case, this focus on catastrophizing everything needs to stop.
  • @MayCaesar Politics is fundamentally about the management of resources, which would include things like time and even ideas besides just tangible things like matter and energy. In this sense, politics effects us every day. In the case of local, state, and federal politics, the effects on the individual are somewhat diminished, but even small changes can have huge consequences. For example, I am very anti-Trump, but my family is mostly pro-Trump and will make it known at every opportunity. With this and other politics comes a plethora of ideas, some of them are even dangerous. There are people who will for example, go out of their way to make a point. There was a man in my neighborhood who thought it would be a good idea to burn a large pile of old tires on his lawn to make a statement about global warming being a hoax. Needless to say, he was arrested.

    I would certainly agree if you were to say that the buildup to the horror is much scarier than the actual event. The calm is always worse than the storm, and nothing wrong is the worst kind of horror.

    I can not stand to live in a peaceful world, I demand chaos. I am the type who actively pursues adversity, and it will likely be the death of me. Politics I suppose is a type of drug, although I disagree with your analysis of why. Tranquility is miserable, and adversity breeds strength. It is not so much that worrying about politics will make me happy as it is that deliberately solving problems and taking an active roll in the manipulation of my environment is a necessary part of a comfortable existence. Making everything a problem is about a lot more than just worrying about things that are not a problem, it is about justifying the actions we are already predisposed to do anyways.

    If nothing is a catastrophe, then everything is wrong.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 2803 Pts
    edited February 12
    @Happy_Killbot

    It is not the politics that affects people; it is the governmental actions. All the sensationalist fuss about those actions does nothing but obscure the actions themselves. And governmental actions, in turn, are not nearly as impactful as many people think. It is the overall economical and social environment that affect people the most, and those change very gradually and somewhat independent from the government. Trump's last few actions are going to affect your life much less than, say, Sergey Brin's last few actions. Governments are not what drives the world, and giving them too much attention is a waste of time.
    My policy is simple: if you live in a bad country, move, and if you live in a good country, then appreciate what you have and focus on more important parts of your life.

    If you need catastrophes to motivate you to do anything, then you are coming from a pretty miserable place. It is what a lot of people do, and it is one of the things that I want to combat in my own personal quest for changing the world. You are coming from the premise that, fundamentally, the world is somehow boring, and only something terribly wrong can spice things up.
    I disagree with this. I am motivated by something different: by the desire to explore this amazing world, to meet amazing people, to share my joy with others. It is a much better place to be coming from: you are happy no matter what, and you go out of your way to be even happier.

    I do not need dramas, catastrophes, etc. to have fun in life. I like chaos, but not negative kinds of chaos. People who are addicted to dramas have gotten some things wrong, in my opinion, and are using the source of motivation and happiness that will ultimately make them frustrated with life and tired of it.

    I really like a good drama, a good story about a personal or group struggle - but prefer to enjoy them at a distance. I will watch a drama movie about a serious personal conflict gladly, but will not bring this conflict in my own relationships with people. You do not have to dip your life in negativity to spice it up; you can dip it in positivity instead, and there are plenty of flavors of positivity to never be bored with it.
    Politics, on the other hand, is one of the primary sources of negativity in the modern society, and that is truly a sad state of affairs.

    Either way, catastrophising everything needlessly is not going to benefit you. You can be motivated to pursue adversity, while maintaining a weighted, impartial look at the world around you. "The sky is falling" thinking will do nothing but make you feel weak and powerless.
    ZeusAres42
  • @MayCaesar Your policy is one of cowardice and surrender, and I would find these things hard to accept.

    "Shut up and be happy" seems to me like a perfectly miserable way to spend you life, screw that I want noise, and If I happen to make things better in the process then so be it. I have found that the more I know about people, the more I find it impossible to deal with them. People are rather simple all things considered, while predicting the actions of one is nearly impossible, predicting the actions of many is almost trivial.

    I think you have it exactly backwards, the kinds of people who are frustrated and tired of life are those who try to change it. Contentedness begets complacency, and I find they are the first to be taken advantage of. I would rather be the one who the story was written about than the one who is watching the show. It is one thing to read a legend, it is another to be one. All stories need conflict. If there is none readily available, then you might just have to create one. Only then can there be progress.

    What you don't seem to understand is that the feeling of weakness and powerlessness is of vital importance. It combined with a desire for positives creates the forward momentum we all need to get where we ought to be going.
    ZeusAres42
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation, Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root and developed into the human race, who conquered fire, built societies and developed technology .
    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
  • DeeDee 1491 Pts
    @Happy_Killbot

    ****  Americans are not exactly the sharpest crayons in the shed

    I spit my coffee out when I read that 
  • MayCaesar said:
    First, people should stop catastrophizing everything. We hear this all the time: "This is the crucial time", "The country is falling apart", "We are divided". A society is supposed to be divided on a large spectrum of issues; if it is not, then chances are authoritarianism has already come and subdued the population.
    By pretty much any reasonable metric, we are living in the most prosperous and peaceful time and region humanity has ever had. I find it hard to reconcile this with the claim that "the country is broken".



    @MayCaesar This bit here immediately sounds alarm bells of the black and white thinking distortions. No, we don't hear all the time "This is the crucial time", "The country is falling apart", "We are divided". This in itself is dichotomous thinking ironically.

    Furthermore, catastrophizing is also another cognitive error. However, the statements you made are not catastrophizing; it's still known as all or nothing thinking.

    4. Magnifying or Minimising (also referred to as “Catastrophisation”)

    Thinking in a magnifying or minimising manner is when we exaggerate the importance of negative events and minimize or downplay the importance of positive events. In depressed individuals, it is often the positive characteristics of other people that are exaggerated and the negatives that are understated (and then when thinking of oneself, this is reversed). When we think catastrophically we are unable to see any other outcome other than the worse one, however unlikely this result may turn out to be.  Example: You send out the wrong letter to a client at work, and this turns into “I will now lose my job, and then I won’t be able to pay my bills, and then I will lose my house.”
    https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/cognitive-distortions-cbt.htm

    The example above I could extend even further by saying "Then my wife will leave me, I will end up homeless, my kids will look down on me, etc." That's Catastrophisation.












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