Government

Inadequate representation is a source of a lot of problems in our government. The first amendment proposed on the Bill of Rights would have guaranteed proper representation, but it was never ratified.

Corrupt representation is another source of problems in our government.

The founders of the United States envisioned three branches of government as a system of checks and balances. But as time has gone by, that system of checks and balances has eroded. Organizations that allow insiders to leak information to the public serve as an additional check and balance to corruption. That is why it is important for an organization like Wikileaks to exist — as a final check and balance.

Political Parties

A party seems to me to be nothing more than a new word for an old word: sect. The old word was used to describe a group of people who held a certain religious belief and the new word is used to describe a group of people who hold a certain political belief. In this way, I think that political parties share much in common with religious sects. Both of them represent a ready-made set of beliefs that adherents can subscribe to. They are beliefs regarding a particular view of the world packaged together in a single doctrine.

To mobilize a group of people for a single purpose takes more than a doctrine though. It is not enough for the words to exist on the pages of a 2,000 year old book. They must be brought to life by a charismatic leader without which they might otherwise be forgotten. And the way they are brought to life is by employing them in rhetoric that taps into the emotions of whoever is listening. In religion, the fear of everlasting torments or damnation is used to control the behavior of the group. And in politics, the fear of life under the control of the opposition is used to motive the group to vote.

Every group that comes together for a joined purpose will begin to think in a similar fashion given the right conditions. It is the process of achieving a shared goal that causes the minds of the individuals in the group to align often times with a shared identity. In groups where nothing is achieved there are many discords. When new ideas are presented to a group that call into question its identity or the group fails to achieve its intended goal the whole group can undergo massive cognitive dissonance. The operations and results of group think are the same in both political and religious spheres.

In the same way that much of humanity got tired of religious sects, I hope they will also get tired of political parties. Perhaps the only system of government that has the potential to remove the party from politics is one where the people are directly represented by themselves rather than through proxy representation. Given the state of technology at this current time, I don’t think it is unreasonable that such a system of self-government could exist.

2016 Presidental Edition

Feb 2017

One of the points that I constantly made during the Presidential election was what I saw would be the difference in the entertainment value that each candidate would bring to our country for the next four years. I regularly told people I knew that a Trump administration would be the most entertaining years of our lives. I saw what kind of charisma and bravado he had in the presidential debates and on the campaign trail and knew that if he was elected he would bring the same to the white house. When he won the election, I feared that it might change. But the last few months have shown me that what I knew at the beginning was right.

It is a huge difference from what we saw the last eight years. People were simply not fired up about the direction things were going. Initially when Obama was elected people were excited and electrified because they believed that things were finally going to change. And that is what Obama campaigned on - hope and change. But once he was in office, things fizzled out and people got tired of him. Even the press complained that he was overexposing himself early on.

Whenever Obama came before the American people and gave speeches they were so well rehearsed and scripted that they even put Joe Biden to sleep. At some point people started tuning him out and he became indistinguishable from the rest of the background noise. Things improved for him whenever he did one on one interviews probably because he let his personality show. But I think there is such a thing as being too presidential and we saw it with Obama. I remember in an interview once Obama mentioned something very important - that he thought there was a filter that existed between him and the American people and that if he could have a chat in each individual home - he would win over all of America. Perhaps the filter he spoke of was one put up by the media, or perhaps it was one he put up himself, or maybe it was both.

I can't imagine a Clinton presidency would have been much different than an Obama presidency. Especially considering the fact that Clinton had a hard time relating to the American people. In the presidential debates she had overly rehearsed answers to questions - something called canned responses. If people want a canned response, they can email tech support. But I think what people really want is somebody who will inspire them. Clinton had an equally hard time on the campaign trail and failed to draw crowds as large as her nearest competitors. She was simply not exciting - she was only the lesser of two evils.

Trump is different. He is something that nobody has ever seen before. He is no stranger to the media or to controversy - in fact, he probably feeds off it. And perhaps that too is why people are attracted to him. So many of the presidential debates had high ratings because people wanted to tune in to watch him. They wanted to see what he was going to say next. He stirs up controversy wherever he goes and it gets people engaged.

Even that the election is over, people continue to want to tune into to see what he is doing. The white house press briefings have as many viewers as the daytime soaps. People find themselves watching them for the first time. Perhaps it is because they want to be entertained, or perhaps it is because they want to see change, or maybe it is both. What is certain is that Trump does not seem to be afraid to show people who he is or what he thinks even if it might offend their sensibilities. And I think that is a huge draw.

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