Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Did you not learn from W?

So, I just want to get this off my chest. Sarah is for dummies. Dummies like to be surrounded by dummies. Really, I think some people want other stupid people to run the country because smart people make them feel stupid. I think they're afraid "those smart people" are trying to pull something over on them. Get behind Sarah, she'll make you feel smart. That's what we want in our leadership... Stupid people who can talk dumb to us.  I'm am completely convinced of this now.

When W was elected the first time, I thought, "Great, 'activist judges' elected our president." (Oh wait, 'activist judges' can only be liberal right?) Then when he was elected the second time I thought, "Well, maybe people are just that out of touch with the world and are just voting along party lines."

Sarah's nomination to run as VP made me think, "OK the media has largely been taken over by conservative folks with lots of money." I went along with "the media controls what we see and therefore what we know, which leads to how we vote." Yeah, um now that she's ditched her responsibility as governor and revealed more of the lack of knowledge that she possesses, I am left with a dismal reality. There are stupid people out there. Maybe I should say uninformed, but that somehow softens the responsibility.

Let's get real, we are responsible for what we know, for how we get our information, for our participation. No matter how much one party may own the media, or be owned by the media, we do still live in a democracy - even if that democracy is anemic. I am judging people too. I'm using that bad word "stupid." Just because you might not know if it's South or North Korea that is the "good one" doesn't mean that you don't want a president/leader who does. It's OK if "we" don't know exactly what NATO does, but don't you want your leaders to? (OK, it's really not OK that the average citizen may not know these things, but don't get me started on our US-centric educational system. Most people in the rest of the world know more about the rest of the world than the average US citizen.) Realize that if a political figure doesn't know the difference between North and South Korea, has never really traveled outside the US, ditched her office early (um there is a lame duck period for presidents people), they are probably not safe as leader of one of the largest, richest, most powerful countries in the world -and I don't mean China.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Will Work for Doxa

Bourdieu proposes that culture is replicated by orthodoxy and heterodoxy. In other words, there is the way we have "always" done things (orthodoxy) and sentiments/actions/etc. against the way we have always done things (heterodoxy). I think we're stuck in this binary dualism right now in terms of liberal/conservative, democrat/republican, capitalism/socialism. Bourdieu posits that social change occurs when a completely new way of thinking comes about, or doxa. Doxa is what we need, we need a new way of thinking, a new party, a new system of governance. Change. People are ready for this, I think that's what the last presidential election tapped into. We are still fighting heterodoxy and orthodoxy trying to come up with doxa though.

What would doxa be though? I think it would have elements of, dare I say it, socialism, regulated capitalism, environmentalism, conservatism and so on. But we can't use the same words. We need new words and new ways of expressing these ideas. We need to get to the nexus of these ideas blended together. If we use these words, we trigger the old nags of orthodoxy and heterodoxy. We need a new vocabulary in order to think differently and to move us from the confines of what these words have come to represent to us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Post Election Angst

There's so much roiling around in my mind since the elections this November. It's hard to sort out just how it has left me feeling.

I'm frustrated by people saying this is an indictment of Obama's agenda. Congress barely touched his agenda and they often acted against it in their own self-interests for re-election. Republicans literally stated they would not compromise and this stalled any movement while they simultaneously accused Democrats of not compromising. We are in a recession and yet billions of dollars were spent for campaigns. Democrats supported big business interests and sustained a costly war while passing the limpest of health care reform possible.

My personal feelings are that the elections are a further indictment of the weaknesses of our political system. Big banks are richer, the average person is poorer (if not in income then in home and retirement values). Money is what determines our political power/voice and what sways legislation. This is not democracy. Yet we still fail to see where our sustained participation in the political process is a necessary ingredient of democracy. We vote once and say we participated, if we vote at all... Voting is not enough. Voting is just one element of democracy.

Oh, and capitalism can be poisonous to democracy. This doesn't make me naive, bleeding hearted, or anti-American. Unrestrained capitalism is another form of tyranny. This also doesn't make me anti-capitalist nor socialist. I am simply for regulated capitalism within a democracy. Our votes, our lobbying for the direct rights of people must trump the rights of corporations.

OK, I digress. If our congress just became all at once both more conservative and more liberal... then I would argue that the last elections were a demand for something different in how we "do" politics.

And seriously, if there is so much money out there that we can fund billions of dollars in campaigning, why are we in a recession?