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As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

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  • As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

    I've spent the last few days having innumerable conversations about this subject with many different people with a broad range of political beliefs. You fine ladies and gentlemen are welcome to give your own opinions and indeed invited to do so, but please keep it civil. Far too many issues in the sandbox result in personal attacks and entrenched arguments. Do me a favor on this one, regardless of your beliefs and political leanings, lets attempt to see this from everyone's point of view and have a constructive conversation.

    Without further ado...
    I. The Sad, Sad State of Affairs.
    Our country is in ruins, folks. Look around us and the signs are everywhere. We have millions living in poverty. We have millions uneducated. Our job markets are faltering, at best. Our national debt is so high that the number itself is completely unimaginable to most people. No, really, most people couldnt even tell you how many zeroes are in 15 trillion dollars because it's an imaginary figure.

    But what got us to this point? It's both a very complex and very simple answer simultaneously. Bad decisions.

    When this country was founded, the groundwork was a simple set of principles that we have altered over time to make sense. Equality. Freedom. Justice. Balance. Representation. Those things used to mean something to the citizenry of the United States. We fought for it and died for it. Our country is stained with the blood of REAL patriots who died some 240 years ago to give us a chance. Through our collective ineptitude, apathy, and indeed human nature, we have let those ideals falter.

    Our politicians are the elite. They make huge sums of money, come from corporate CEO-type backgrounds. They make backroom deals and false promises without accountability. They are not representative of the population of this country. We created that system. We allowed it to happen by not caring and not being involved every step of the way. We have the right to vote, but how many of us actually take it seriously? How many of us actually vote for the candidates and laws that actually make sense and not just on party lines?

    II. Our Failure
    That last question brings to light our failure. We have so many laws on the books that dont make sense that you could stack them to the moon. We allow people to sit at home with 8 children and suckle off the teat of hard working men and women with no consequence for an unlimited timespan. We have a system devised that allows major corporations to get huge returns at tax time instead of paying money because they took advantage of legal loopholes and did "fuzzy" accounting. We have a government that is entirely self-serving and wastes money at such an astronomical rate that its incomprehensible.

    Yet, at every turn, we have voted these things into being. We have put into office those people who represent their own interests or those who pay them to represent theirs. Send a latter to your congressman sometime. Know what you'll get in return? A form letter thanking you for your time. A real response? Of course not. Sure, you may want to mentally justify this by saying "hey, we've got 350 million people here. if they were to personally respond to every letter they got (even excluding the 'trolling' and threatening letters), they wouldnt ever get a job done". I'm sorry, but it doesnt appear that they're getting much of a job done now. All it appears to be is a staunch refusal to cooperate and collaborate on a solution, and instead holding fast to partisan loyalties and arguing for argument's sake.

    But again, WE did this. When our voices were not heard, we sat back and told ourselves it would be better in four years, or eight years, or ten years, or 50 years. It hasnt. We have allowed our fellow citizens to suffer and not let it stir us to action. We have let our civil liberties be violated and/or stripped one after another without so much as a minor peep.

    Each of us is granted a voice in this nation and the more collective voices that are heard, the more powerful we become. It's entropy. However, we have so many uneducated at our own hands that most people dont understand the things they're being told. When I was growing up, I watched a 1/2 cent education tax fail 6 times, which was solely written (and yes, I read the bill and had it explained to me where I didnt understand it) to improve materials and facilities in schools, but limited to academic purposes (meaning that the school board couldnt use the money to sod a new football field, but could use it for new textbooks and additional classrooms). When I graduated High School, the US History books being used in advanced placement classes (you know, the ones you take for college credit) ran out of history at 1980. I graduated in 2000.

    III. Our Duties.
    Folks, being a citizen of this country shouldnt be free. For most of us, we were born into it and never gave it much thought. But perhaps it's high time to think about it. Consider the words of the Declaration of Independence for a moment, the document that founded our nation:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security
    Now lets break that down in our own timeline. Our government has surely derived their power by the consent of its people, or through a lack of motivation by those opposed to backward thinking and zero-accountability. Our government has absolutely become destructive to achieving the consent of the governed. We had an election a few years ago that perhaps you recall, wherein one candidate won the popular vote by a significant measure and yet the apparent loser became President by a system so defunct and outdated that it has ceased to work properly (which is self-evident from the results of said election). It has also become a government that does not take the wishes of its citizens, nor promises and rights made to them, into account when passing legislation; instead circumventing the proper legislative process. We have laws that have been passed which strip us of our rights to privacy and due process in the name of "security" without being even subject to a vote by the people.

    The next part is very important. At this point, with those facts established, we are directed that we have the right to abolish said government and institute a new one. In this day and age, improbable, but not impossible. The next point I will translate into plain english for anyone who tl;dr'd the quote:
    "Good thinking tells us that governments shouldnt be messed with for petty reasons. To function properly, they have to be long-lasting. But history has shown us that people are more content to suffer under a corrupt government (as long as it doesnt get too bad to handle) than to get off their collective butts and fix the problem. At least not until it gets so bad that they feel like they're under the boot. But it is their right, and their duty to get rid of their corrupt government and institute one that does what it's supposed to do."

    So when do we decide that enough is enough? Our country is bankrupt. Our jobs are disappearing. Our schools are floundering. Our right to privacy can be violated at any time. When we travel, even within our own borders, we are subject to unscrupulous invasions and embarrassments. Our politicians dont represent the people. Our laws dont make sense.

    How much more do we have to take before people start getting angry en-masse? Do we have to suffer another Great Depression at the hands of our lawmakers before we decide that it is OUR responsibility as citizens to enact change? Politicians run on the platform of "change" all the time. Obama did it, and yes, he made some small changes. But the reason people put so much blame on him is that nothing has really improved. One man cant change everything, even if he is the President. There are 435 representatives and 100 senators on the national level who can shut him down in a heartbeat to serve party lines or personal ends. The whole system needs an overhaul and a thorough house cleaning, from top to bottom.

    ...

    But again, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. We have the "someone will do it for us" attitude. We refuse to act. We refuse to stand as a nation of citizens as a united front and tell our government that they have long ceased to represent our interests and needs. We are apathetic and lazy. Because of this, it's my personal belief that there are very dark times ahead before we collectively solve the problem through either collective voice or collective revolution.



    -This diatribe brought to you by a very tired Ferris, a registered independent who has both republican and democratic leanings, but cares for neither as he believes that our politicians, both liberal and conservative, are all abusive, power-hungry, over-paid, egotistical, narcissistic, self serving you-kow-whats who cant get anything done but argue for the sake of arguing.

  • #2
    Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

    Originally posted by draeh View Post
    I've become very pessimistic about our "Representative" government. They are more opt to "Represent" themselves and special interests rather than the majority of their constituents. Having more of them would only compound the travesty.
    Originally posted by draeh View Post
    ...I'm of the opinion that it will take another American Revolution (the one where we march on Washington and throw the whole lot out en masse) to make a real difference.
    Excuse me for quoting myself, but I thought it rather on point.


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    • #3
      Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

      So you want the American people to have a Revolution and throw our government out?

      Who will replace it?

      I deserve a ribbon for Mortar Specialist

      Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
      J.F.C. Fuller

      Proud to have been a member of the 5th, 71st and my beloved 19th

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

        *You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Ferris Bueller again.*

        Great write up Ferris.

        I have to admit that I am part of the problem. I haven't voted in quite some time. Not because I am lazy or uneducated or that I don't care, but because I can't stand any of the candidates. I refuse to vote Democrat or Republican simply because they are the status quo and they are the ones that have gotten us to this point (with the help of the "party line voters") in my opinion. And when I look at the Independent candidates, most of them are bat-crap crazy! What's a citizen to do? I can't, in good conscience, vote for the lesser of two evils because that seems to perpetuate the problems faced by our country.

        Out of curiosity, when you speak of revolution, are you talking about at the voting booths or the "angry mob at the doors of the White House/Congress"?

        sigpic


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        • #5
          Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

          Originally posted by Mindkill View Post
          Out of curiosity, when you speak of revolution, are you talking about at the voting booths or the "angry mob at the doors of the White House/Congress"?
          Change at the ballot box is never going to happen. As you already said, you don't vote because of the choices (or lack thereof) you are given on the ballot. True change is only going to take place when we say we are fed up with the system we have. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with the basic system we were given. The problem is the perversion that has taken place giving us only two choices on the ballot that are already pre-screened and vetted by the corrupt elite (RNC & DNC). Until this form of vote rigging is removed the ballot box will always be their puppet.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

            Very well written Ferris....sad, but seems to be on point. As sort of an aside, when the $11 trillion spending bill was announced I was bored at work and tried to do the math to figure out how long it would take a person to count to 11 trillion. Based on 2 numbers per second with no breaks I came up with about 1147 years. Feel free to check it as I was doing it on paper and could have very easily screwed it up ;)
            |TG-Irr|Avengingllama
            I used to eat paint chips. Now I just drink the paint because I couldn't find a salsa that went well with the chips and they were dry =)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

              Originally posted by draeh View Post
              Change at the ballot box is never going to happen. As you already said, you don't vote because of the choices (or lack thereof) you are given on the ballot. True change is only going to take place when we say we are fed up with the system we have. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with the basic system we were given. The problem is the perversion that has taken place giving us only two choices on the ballot that are already pre-screened and vetted by the corrupt elite (RNC & DNC). Until this form of vote rigging is removed the ballot box will always be their puppet.
              And thats just a slice of the problem. As I stated, our electoral system is broken as well as many other facets of our legislative process. The founding fathers never envisioned 350 million citizens being involved in the process. The estimated global population in 1800, just 24 years after we signed the Declaration of Independence and 13 years after we adopted the Constitution, was just below one billion people. Predicting that they would have to design a system that would support the input of more than a third of that global population in 200 years was as impossible as guessing that I would be writing this on a computer around the same time.

              We need to overhaul the system and bring it into the modern era to cope with modern era problems. The groundwork we have is fantastic and one of the longest enduring successful political systems in the world (actually, THE longest running democratic system, IIRC), but the mechanics just dont work anymore and its showing its age. Again, both what you said and I said here are just parts of the problem. Dont even get me started on the laws that need to be overturned for either civil rights violations or sheer idiocy and backward thinking.
              Originally posted by HiTest View Post
              So you want the American people to have a Revolution and throw our government out?

              Who will replace it?
              Indeed. Whether its peaceful revolution or violent revolution, the people of this country need to reclaim their collective voice instead of being spoken for by corporate/union/interest-owned puppets who are not interested in the needs of their constituency any longer. These guys get salaries in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and god knows what else in the form of "contributions" and kickbacks from various sources attempting to grease the wheels of democracy in their favor. These men and women are supposed to be civil servants and should be paid accordingly. This isnt to say that they should live in abject poverty, nor is it to say that the wealthy have no right to run for office. In this country, your economic status should have zero bearing on your eligibility for office. However, if a senator serves 5 terms in office and by the end owns 6 houses and a private jet that he didnt previously own, doesnt that seem like a bit of a farce?

              As far as who will replace it, thats something we would have to figure out. There are countries all over the world right now overturning corrupt governments and having to rebuild from the ground up. Certainly, we, being one of the brightest and most advanced countries on earth, could pool our resources and knowledge in order to correct the flaws in our system and begin anew. Ideally, those stepping in to replace who we have in office now would consist of intelligent people representative of all walks of life, whose sole purpose is to pursue the betterment of our country and safeguard the needs of its population. After all, thats what they're supposed to be doing anyway.

              Originally posted by avenging llama View Post
              Very well written Ferris....sad, but seems to be on point. As sort of an aside, when the $11 trillion spending bill was announced I was bored at work and tried to do the math to figure out how long it would take a person to count to 11 trillion. Based on 2 numbers per second with no breaks I came up with about 1147 years. Feel free to check it as I was doing it on paper and could have very easily screwed it up ;)
              I think your math is a little off. Here's my calculation:
              11 trillion divided by 2 (numbers that can be said in a second) divided by 31536000 (seconds in a year)=348807 years, 259 days, 19 hours, 33 minutes, 20 seconds.

              Of course, thats assuming you can actually say the large numbers at the rate of two per second. Dont know about you, but I cant say "ten trillion, seven hudred and sixty eight billion, nine hundred and ninety four million, three hundred seventy two thousand, eight hundred and four" (10768994372804) in two seconds alone, much less doubling that speed. My guess is that it would take MUCH longer than 348 thousand years.

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              • #8
                Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                Originally posted by Mindkill View Post
                *You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Ferris Bueller again.*

                Great write up Ferris.

                I have to admit that I am part of the problem. I haven't voted in quite some time. Not because I am lazy or uneducated or that I don't care, but because I can't stand any of the candidates. I refuse to vote Democrat or Republican simply because they are the status quo and they are the ones that have gotten us to this point (with the help of the "party line voters") in my opinion. And when I look at the Independent candidates, most of them are bat-crap crazy! What's a citizen to do? I can't, in good conscience, vote for the lesser of two evils because that seems to perpetuate the problems faced by our country.

                Out of curiosity, when you speak of revolution, are you talking about at the voting booths or the "angry mob at the doors of the White House/Congress"?
                Actually, the U.S of A had a surplus under Clinton. Its when bush took over and gave rich tax cuts is when it all went haywire.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                  ^^^ snore.....

                  http://www.craigsteiner.us/articles/16

                  I deserve a ribbon for Mortar Specialist

                  Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
                  J.F.C. Fuller

                  Proud to have been a member of the 5th, 71st and my beloved 19th

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                    Originally posted by HiTest View Post
                    Great article!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                      Originally posted by Kwalc View Post
                      Actually, the U.S of A had a surplus under Clinton. Its when bush took over and gave rich tax cuts is when it all went haywire.
                      I think this shows a clear lack of understanding of the problem. If it was just the debt that was the problem I think we can turn it around. Its a fundamental problem with America as a whole. I can't say exactly when it started but in the last 30-50 years we've changed from a nation of hard working people, who not only understand their rights and liberties, but the cost of them. "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
                      John F. Kennedy Nobody says this anymore, nobody even thinks about it for a split second. If there were one defining motto for America is would be "What can you do for me." Everything is all about me me me, until I'm expected to be responsible for my actions. Oh I have twelve kids but can't afford them financially, oh well the government will pay for them. Oh, I got drunk and wipe out that car full of kids. It's not my fault I have an "addiction", I'm a victim feel sorry for me. Don't expect me to stand on my own two feet, act like a grown ass adult and take responsibility for anything. Then, we as a people actually have the audacity to expect "better" of our politicians. It would be hysterical if it weren't so god dam sad.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                        Originally posted by Ferris Bueller View Post
                        I think your math is a little off. Here's my calculation:
                        11 trillion divided by 2 (numbers that can be said in a second) divided by 31536000 (seconds in a year)=348807 years, 259 days, 19 hours, 33 minutes, 20 seconds.

                        Of course, thats assuming you can actually say the large numbers at the rate of two per second. Dont know about you, but I cant say "ten trillion, seven hudred and sixty eight billion, nine hundred and ninety four million, three hundred seventy two thousand, eight hundred and four" (10768994372804) in two seconds alone, much less doubling that speed. My guess is that it would take MUCH longer than 348 thousand years.
                        Wow......I figured it may be off but that is insane. I thought my figure was HIGH.....not low. Thanks for the check though =)
                        |TG-Irr|Avengingllama
                        I used to eat paint chips. Now I just drink the paint because I couldn't find a salsa that went well with the chips and they were dry =)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                          A little tune for your listing pleasure while you post/read.


                          Over the past decade I have > " Living in this plane dosn't seem sane, I strain trying to unlock my brain, my soul seeks a greater knowledge and so, I analize the globe and watch the story unfold" Thank you Mr Lif.

                          Nice post Ferris, you are not alone in your thoughts. It gives me relief to know that people are waking up and that the world no matter how complicated is becoming smaller everyday.

                          Education is key! I teach my kids what I know and teach them to question everything. Most of us here grew up with 3 channels and are from the marksman, atari age. And if you where like me, grew up without much care about current worldly events and did your thing having fun surfing, skating, or whatever. Not until I had kids and grew up a little did I start to pay attention. And after 9/11 I became very aware to the point where my wife told me I needed to calm down before I blew my lid. Its sad that I have to watch the Daily show to hear whats going on in the world so I can keep some sanity. It was inspireing when they had the rally to restore sanity and I saw such a diverse turn out. It helped me feel like less of a minority and gave me hope that there are more people awake then I thought. living in M.O. for the past 7 years has crushed my soul being surronded by right winged republican, racist, FOX supporting hipocrates. Please take no offense if you are from M.O. or consider yourself republican. It was just a bad area I hope lol. I feel that lables given cause a failure to listen.

                          I am a supporting member of the Zeitgeist movement, and though I do not agree with everything, much of what they have to say is hard to argue against. The problem I feel we have is mobilization of the masses. It is much harder to orginize large numbers around the world then the few in power with the means to twist, distort, lie and corrupt (cough) MURDOC! excuse me.

                          I could go on all day, mostly about things this respectfull, informed community that I call friends already knows. Basically I just wanted to say, Ferris Im right there with ya bud.

                          Heres a little tune for you all on my way out :) http://youtu.be/_qHKk0m5Mww

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                            So, for people interested in economics, Griftopia by Matt Taibbi is a good look at how both parties have severely jerked the average American around. Yes, we had a surplus under Clinton. That surplus was also built on a series of bubbles that eventually gutted the economy and left everyone but the incredibly wealthy holding the bill. The Republicans then made it worse.
                            I can ADS using more than a 2x without significant stutter! This was a good patch.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: As American Citizens, We Have Failed.

                              Well crap. I had a big, beautiful post to inspire all and it was lost.

                              The gist of it was. It has always been chaotic and scary in America. When I was growing up it was the threat of Nuclear Annihilation. Before that it was getting basic rights for blacks and the civil unrest about the Vietnam war. At one point we added an Anointment to the Constitution to ban booze! Go back to the very beginning and see how people where worried about the country even surviving.

                              What is happening now is that we are coming to terms with the fact that the country has grown up. America is an adolescent and we don't want to admit to that. We want to be care free but we have responsibilities that we have to face up to. We are not indestructible.

                              We will not let grandma eat cat food and we will take care of her. We are not going to let the poor suffer. What we have to figure out is how we are going to do it.

                              It will get figured out but it won't be pretty. It never has been.

                              So you youngens shouldn't be all freaked out. It has been worse, much worse. This is actually a good time to be alive relatively speaking... As long we don't all fry because of global warming.
                              Im not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                              - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                              - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                              - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                              - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                              - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                              - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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