Saturday, July 02, 2005

Strange Brew.

I've been disturbed recently over the type of rhetoric I've seen in the blogosphere relating to the war on terror. If you criticize the war effort, the immediate response is, "You're emboldening the enemy." I've always hated that response. If you love your country and you think something is wrong, shouldn't you be encouraged to speak up?

Also, I'm getting tired of labels. We love to label people as "conservative" or "liberal." None of us really are completely liberal or conservative. The vast majority of us are a strange brew of both. Politicians are also rather strange with labels. Republicans love to call Democrats liberal, Democrats love to categorize Republicans as Jesus freaks. Really, politicians tend to pick up on ideas from both sides, when politically convenient. Take the filibuster, for example. Both parties support it when in the minority. Both parties oppose it when they're in the majority. Look at Clinton with welfare reform. Aren't Republicans ardent believers in federalism? If that's the case, why is there a sudden call to arms in the GOP over medicinal marijuana use in states that have allowed it?

Given that most people really are somewhere in the middle of the road, politically, why do you think we've limited ourselves (practically) to a bipartisan system?


Blogger Jenn said...

I'm neither. I hate politics and everything about them.

I do feel you should be able to speak your mind.

Oh yeah, Vavoom, you're emboldening the enemy. I am the enemy. Let's light sabre fight.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

We've limited ourselves to a two-party system because of our electoral system. If you look at most of our history, it’s been that way with few exceptions.

The system we have is a winner-take-all process. If you get 50% + 1, you win the seat. Never mind that the opponent scored 49%. The opponent then has no representation.

In many countries, they have what's called proportional representation. That encourages more than two parties by allocating seats in a government based on the percentage of votes won by each party, usually with a minimum threshold.

So, if you have a national election and there are five parties, you might have these elections results:

Party A: 45%
Party B: 30%
Party C: 13%
Party D: 8%
Party E: 4%

Therefore, the legislative branch would mirror the above except for the group that received less than 5%. Party E's seats would be allocated to the remaining four parties through runoff elections. France has a system such as this.

The end result is that you have four parties represented instead of one or two.

Another example of a two-party system would be the United Kingdom, which has two major parties: Labour and Tories. Why? Their system is also winner-take-all.

Sorry if I bored you too much, but I spend a lot of time on this subject in my class and this answers why we have a two- party system.

10:32 PM  
Blogger thc said...

It's really not surprising that those who have a "liberal mindset" usually fall on the same side of major issues as others of the same ideology. The same can be said of those with a conservative mindset. Since ideals are usually consistent why shouldn't this be?

I'm intrigued by your comment that democrats categorize republicans as "jesus freaks". While evangelical Christians tend to be republican, they are by no means the majority of the party. Are all liberals so misinformed?

12:24 AM  
Blogger Moose said...

This may sound a little off, but I don’t think we’re even operating in a two party system anymore. It seems that both sides are trying to take over the moderate vote, so the idea of two fundamentally different parties is going away. Personally I would like to see the Green Party take the White House for just one term. In my opinion, then and only then will things start to change. But that’s just me.

2:48 AM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

Jenn: Be careful or I'll get my Wookie on your ass!

fred: Thanks for the informative comment. I appreciate it. I've got a handle on the historical rationale for a two party system. What I'm getting at here is the incredible hypocrisy in politics. Republicans and Democrats demonize one another while they simultaneously steal from each others playbooks. Given their antics and the move towards moderate politics, I just wonder why we haven't seen more third party candidates spring up in local, state and national politics.

thc: No, not all liberals are misinformed. They are simply heeding the chest beating that's typically performed by the most vocal within the GOP. Yes, it is foolish to stereotype Republicans as Jesus freaks.

Moose: Exactly. You got it. Each party criticizes the other, merely to disagree. The "terrible" tactics utilized by one party and criticized by the other, have often in been used by the criticizing party in recent history. It's all incredibly foolish.

All: I often feel like Democrats will criticize anything that Republicans do and vice versa. Am I the only one out there that thinks it's all rather preposterous?

4:48 AM  
Blogger Mentally Challenged said...

I don't think you have limited yourself to a two party system, it has been forced on you by the Republicans the Deomocrats and the media. Recall the last several Presidential debates, how the two parties got together to make debate rules that made sure no third party candidate participipated and recall how the media for the most part said basically nothing about the "fix" being in on those debates.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very valid point that I think a lot of American fail to recognize. We are forced into such categories and we need to move away from this.

2:36 PM  
Blogger dreadcow said...

I have a hot button issue that makes or breaks how I feel about a politician, regardless where they sit on the "fence": Gun control makes my blood curdle.

Vavoom, I don't think it could have been said better when you wrote " I often feel like Democrats will criticize anything that Republicans do and vice versa."

I don't remember any 'crats bitching about Clinton and Operation Desert Fox? Or Kosovo/ Bosnia. Which proves to me half the reason anyone complains about Iraq is simply because they hate Bush and just want to find something to bitch about him over.

3:19 PM  
Blogger RT said...

"I often feel like Democrats will criticize anything that Republicans do and vice versa. Am I the only one out there that thinks it's all rather preposterous?"

Nope, you're not alone Jane! But I suspect there may be an agenda involved with the way politics are played these days. It's like the govt wants to get us fighting amongst ourselves, and keep us fighting until we no longer know what is right. Then they can just swoop in and do whatever they like with little or no opposition.

3:35 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I do think speaking your mind about the current political climate is always fine. I just wonder who it helps when a political figure likens our soldiers' behavior to unspeakable previous war attrocities. Does it help us here understand the war going on or does it give the enemy carte blanche to treat their war captives more aggressively?

I dislike party politics in general (maybe because I belong to neither party.) Both want to look good so they can gain more membership. Each throw stones at the other's glass houses just hoping to break a few more windows than the other.

As for labels, they will always be there. I don't thing the word "liberal" is dirty. It's just a way of looking at the construction of the Constitution. Just as a "conservative" view would be. I just enjoy hearing when someone can't contribute to a discussion and just repeats the label as if it fills in for missing facts.

2:24 AM  

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