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the politics of not-that-guy

I've seen posts lately over at FB from groups "One Million Strong Against Romney" and "Everyone Against Liberals, Democrats and Obama"; I'm sure there are other "against" FB groups. All of which has me curious: whoever you're going to vote for in November, how many of you are voting because you really think he's a good leader (or would be)? And how many of you are voting for him out of aversion/hatred/fear of the other guy?

I'm not even asking for who "the other guy is," though if it's helpful I wouldn't mind knowing. And I guess the same thing goes for libertarians or other third-partiers: how many of you guys think Ayn Rand/whomever was right about what she believed, and how many of you claim that label because it's a way of saying not-Democrat, not-Republican?

Personally, I'm not voting against either one, and I'm not calling myself a libertarian. This isn't about cynicism or apathy, it's about honestly not thinking any of those three options comes closest enough to what I think is good for America. Voting for a guy means saying I support him, at least to me. And neither has shown so far he's worth my vote. (I am still convinceable and will keep looking to be convinced until election day.) But that specific assessment is almost irrelevant to my point here. If people think that Ron Paul or Paul Ryan (to the extent he really is a Randian) are best for America, I can respect that. If you think Romney or Obama really is the better option for America's future - again, I can respect that.

The thing that troubles me is this trend of hating Romney so much you'll vote for Obama, or vice versa, or again concerning libertarianism or whatever third party we're talking about. Because each vote has a positive platform you're supporting (yes, even libertarianism).
Just keep it civil. :-) With being sick it may take me a while to reply, but I promise to read and think about what everone says.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
how many of you are voting because you really think he's a good leader (or would be)? And how many of you are voting for him out of aversion/hatred/fear of the other guy?

For me, as always, it tends to be a little bit of both. I DO think that President Obama has been a good leader, though not a great one. But I also have a strong aversion to what Mitt Romney represents. I think that even if I thought President Obama had not done the best job he could under the circumstances (which I do think he has), I would still prefer his philosophy of governing to that of Romney, because from all I can see, and from all I have been able to learn about Romney, his ideas are totally the opposite of mine on almost everything. I honestly and truly feel his election would be a disaster. I don't hate him; I don't fear him, personally, but I fear what he represents.

Almost every single election is a choosing between alternatives that are not perfect, but are the best we are going to get. The candidates are only human after all, and the very means by which they are put in their position has a certain amount of corrupting influence on even the best of people.
Sep. 9th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I really didn't mean to criticize peopl and am more trying to understand - though that didn't come across as clearly as I'd have liked in my post.

I get what you're saying about it being a balancing act. And it always has been. I guess a big part of my concern is that, these days, it seems like people of all political persuasions are more inspired by the "against" reasons than the "for." I know that if I do vote for Obama, it will probably be more out of fear/hatred of what Romney represents than out of genuine support for Obama.

(And I don't mean to rain on your parade! I am excited by the things he's talking about, too. The thing is, the issues that really matter to me - upholding the rule of law, holding the mighty as accountable as the poor - he just has not satisfied me in those areas. It's hard to justify voting for him again as anything other than a way of avoiding an even worse alternative.)
Sep. 9th, 2012 04:00 am (UTC)
It did not come across as criticism, truly. I agree that we should be voting "for" more than "against", but it's always going to have to be a little bit of both; Arda is marred, after all.

And you did not rain on my parade. He has not done everything he said he would do, and I wish that he had done more in certain matters. I would say that I am satisfied that he *tried* to do some things he promised, and dissatisfied that he did not try to do some others. I am also dissatisfied with some of his compromises, though I try to remember that without them he would have accomplished even less.

Still I can't help but feel that it's hypocritical of the Republicans to hammer him with that, since they did everything possible to prevent him keeping his promises, and since they criticize mightily the ones he *did* accomplish, such as the health care reforms and ending "don't ask, don't tell"!

BTW, I think you said you did not get the chance to watch the conventions. You can find both Obama's speech and a transcript of it here along with links to all the other speeches from both the Democrats AND the Republicans. You may or may not find it useful-- I just thought it is neat that someone's making all of these available.

Edited at 2012-09-09 04:12 am (UTC)
Sep. 8th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

For more than twenty years I have read two main books annually - "The Lord of the Rings" and "Atlas Shrugged". I don't know what direction I'll take when voting this time, I vote my conscience, not my party lines.

I do know that I will always support the individual's right to improve their lot by self-application of their own hard work and intelligence. Unfortunately, intelligence seems to be harder and harder to find, words and platitudes seem to be multiplying faster than the birthrate of rabbits or mice, and strong leadership and the personal strength of belief to do what is right for the nation not just for the sake of re-election seems to be sorely lacking. Just my inflated 2 cents...

- Erulisse (one L)
Sep. 9th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
Hiya Erulisse,

I haven't read Atlans Shrugged since I was fourteen. Maybe it would be good to reread it it again one of these days. I'm no great fan of libertarianism as I understand it, for reasons I want to go into when I finally kick this head-cold. That isn't about denying people the value of their hard work, so much as it is recognizing the fact that (to paraphrase Isaac newton) when we see further than others it is quite often because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Our individual effort is important and crucial, but so is the other contribution of others along the way that make our success possible. My critique here is also about me recognizing that I am lucky and get certain advantages that have nothing to do with me - because I am white, raised with Middle-Class manners, am Christian, am intelligent and hardworking (which are largely due to genetics and upbringing), etc. - so just because I succeed and someone else doesn't, it doesn't mean I'm a better person than him.

All that said, if you genuinely think libertarianism is the best philosophy - I can respect that, even if I don't agree. And I'm really just hitting the high-notes! I want to go more into this once I have my head on straight. But whatever I think of libertarianism, I think there's a big difference in being really on-board with Rand, as opposed to just being frustrated with the Dems and Republicans and voting libertarian as a way of voting *against* the other parties. (I'm not saying either is bad, necessarily, just different.)

Thanks for your opinion! I know it takes nerve to say where your political opinions are.
Sep. 9th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
I am not so much a Libertarian as one who feels that people do have to make an effort. I am not a believer in a welfare state, I think that people have to put in some effort to be rewarded with things and that just expecting to collect a check every month because you are breathing and occupying space in your city/state/nation shouldn't qualify you.

I work hard for my living, I am not living on entitlements and the only time I had any governmental assistance I took a second job to get off the rolls as quickly as possible. I am not the person who has one more child because she can get more money, or who runs insurance scams. There will always be those who feel entitled to handouts and I disagree with their expectations.

- Erulisse (one L)
Sep. 9th, 2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
You know, if I believed that was actually the case with most people who received government assistance, I'd probably agree with you! I mean, no one wants to reward scammers! And the idea of some people being lazy and getting rewarded certainly doesn't sit right.

But that doesn't really line up with the people I know who have received assistance, or with some studies I've seen. Check out a recent study by the USDA looking at food stamps (SNAP). Most of the recipients were the elderly or children, and of the working-age adults, a good portion were earning paychecks. The problem isn't so much lazy people sitting around twiddling their thumbs as it is people working jobs that don't pay a wage you can live on. Also, the recent meme about Obama killing the work requirement for welfare is flat-out wrong - he gave some states more flexibility with how they measure whether people are really in working/education programs enough of the time, but still the states have to show that they're getting people off welfare in order to use those more flexible ways of getting people ready for jobs.

Speaking personally, I live in a rather poor area of the Bronx, and I know lots of people on one kind of govt assistance or another. I can't think of a single one of them whose only income is from government funds, except from a disabled Iraqi vet I know who receives disability checks because she isn't able to work due to war injuries. I'm sure there are some scammers out there (at all income levels), but in my experience the description you give just isn't an accurate portrayal of people who receive welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, or whatever. Personally, I suspect more govt $$$ are wasted through taxes and subsidies to the very rich, than on welfare abuses by the very poor.
Sep. 10th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
I have no problem with those who actually need assistance and who don't milk the system receiving the extra hand up that they often need and deserve. But those who do milk and scam tend to do so for very large amounts in total excess, and they are the ones who, when caught, consider it a crime that they were caught not that they were scamming the system. Until we can actually get some seriously good controls and overseeing of the welfare system out there, some people will take it to excess.

I scrape for every extra dollar that I have. I haven't pulled any personal money from my business since 1996, but my cost of living keeps increasing, my taxes keep increasing, my utilities and other staple expenses keep increasing. I somehow have to keep finding the money to pay for these things, and if I can save by not wasting money, I'm all for it and I try to implement it in my personal life.

In most large stores there is a variance amount that is allowable. This is the amount that can be different between what the cash register says was received and what actually was in the drawer. It usually is a relatively small amount, often less than $200 per cash register in a Macy's or similar store. The government has a similar outlook. The only problem with the governmental variance amount is that they tack on many more zeroes. So, instead of $199 being forgivable and $200 not, $199,000 might still squeak under the radar in governmental spending excess. I think this is very wrong, and I don't think it matters who is in office, it still slides underneath the radar.

You work hard for your money, your time is worth something. When I elect a politician and it seems that all they are interested in is immediately beginning their re-election campaign, I growl and have a problem with that attitude. Professional politicians are a serious problem in this nation.

Many Native American tribes gave responsibility for the leadership of the tribe to those who were recognized as acting in a way that would be beneficial to the tribe as well as not really wanting the job. That led to some very strong leadership and some memorable people who either led individually or within a council setting.

I don't think either Obama or Romney are evil, and I don't think that they don't want the best for this nation. I'll be voting for one of the two of them come November. But I'm not so sure that either of them will have the ability to really actualize changes because it is Congress that is broken and that is a serious, serious problem.

Well, this has progressed far away from philosophy and books into politics and leadership qualities. But I hope that what comes out of this discussion is the realization that both of us care deeply about this country and both of us will attempt to show that through our daily actions as well as through our votes later this year.

- Erulisse (one L)
Sep. 10th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
Well, this has progressed far away from philosophy and books into politics and leadership qualities. But I hope that what comes out of this discussion is the realization that both of us care deeply about this country and both of us will attempt to show that through our daily actions as well as through our votes later this year.

Thanks for this, Erulisse! I do respect anyone who wants to fight to make America a better place, even when we disagree on how to do that. Being me, I respect people by taking them seriously and (nicely!) trying to engage the points they make - I'm a philosophy grad student, it's just how I roll. But please do know that it's done out of love and respect for you (and anyone else) as both a friend and a fellow citizen.
Sep. 8th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
No confidence
That's currently the only write-in candidate I can support.
Sep. 9th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
Re: No confidence
Sadly, I sympathize with that more than I like to admit.

And in the laughing-to-keep-from-crying division...

Sep. 9th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
Re: No confidence
Oh yes! That's a platform that I could support without hesitation!

- Erulisse (one L)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )



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