Wednesday, January 08, 2003

So I was listening to NPR last night like a good news junkie and the commentator was lamenting that while the 108th Congress reconvened with the usual promises of bipartisan cooperation, they'd already dissolved into partisan squabbling regarding the economic stimulus (tax cut for the rich) package. It was followed by one of my personal favorite senators, Rick Santorum, crying about how the Dems were making the tax cut package into a political fight, they were 'playing politics' apparently. I'm a little confused about this rather popular complaint about politicians. I mean, if a politician isn't supposed to play politics, what exactly is their job? Don't lawyers practice law and teachers teach? There are ideological fights in Congress for a very good reason--to protect the rights of all citizens. The system is set up to protect the rights of minorities lest the majority seek to strip their rights, not so that everything changes when a different party gains majority power. Anyway, that's just a pet peeve of mine. I'd like to go on the record and say that if Congressmen don't act in an ideological partisan way on important issues, I will fire their asses! Well, ok, I'll just vote against them and hope that fires them and have to settle with that until I find a big pile of money on my way home in the near future since everyone knows money is the only real way to affect political decision making.

At any rate, I've also thought a lot about how there is really over-participation by a few people and almost none by most people. Most people get their news from their local tv station. It's basically the local police blotter and the most recent fires but lacks any real substance. I hate falling back into the whole complaint that everything is the media's fault, but what exactly is their role? What happened to true investigative reporting and attempts to keep government honest through good journalism? I don't know what the true answer is to this. What really bothers me about it is that those that have the most to lose (usually the poor and undereducated) are the least likely to pay attention and participate. Hence, corporations are still buying representation and tax cuts still favor the wealthy that end up being represented. Some people feel that part of the problem with the liberal message is that it comes from over-educated people that use too many fifty cent words resulting in the lost ability to get a coherent message across to the ordinary people that would most benefit from it. I wonder what it will take to re-energize people into politics and the possibilities are nothing short of terrifying: continuous war, complete loss of civil liberties, women dying in back alley abortions, massive illness due to pollution... What will it take? Poverty itself doesn't have any effect any more because unions are about dead so there are few massive strikes to raise awareness and throwing all the poor people in jail helps the economy so poverty must actually be good. As a matter of fact, aren't poor people only poor because of their own stupidity and laziness anyway?

Good point about the labelling. It's all over the place and is probably as old as politics itself. Apparently, contraceptives are no longer "prevention" but rather "abortificants" instead. That doesn't sound very good, we better make them illegal!


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