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Hullabaloo


Friday, January 15, 2010

 
Comments

by digby

I had a bit of glitch with comments, but I think they're back on now. I'm trying to see if I can make this systm work. I don't know if I can and if not, I'll seek something else. If you know of one that works better, let me know.

For all of you who wrote emails to excoriate me for my earlier post about the endless whining over the broken system, I really, really need for you all to read Noam Chomsky and then come back and we'll talk. This critique about American oligarchy wasn't created yesterday on a blog somewhere. He's been saying it for decades, it's always been true, and people have treated him like some kind of nut. And even he wasn't the first guy to say it. There are many, many thinkers who have contemplated oligarchy and aristocracy before the netroots "discovered" it when Barack Obama turned out to be a politician after all.

The question isn't whether the system is broken. Of course it is. Has it ever not been to one extent or another? Short of a catastrophe that sets the wealthy temporarily on their heels, has there ever been a time when the common man was running things? No. The best we've ever done is mitigate their excessess and make incremental progress in the lives of everyday citizens over time.

If you want to make it better, the question is whether or not you're going to hold your breath until you turn blue (or hang around in blog comments patting yourself on the back for your world weary cynicism, which is the same thing) or whether you actually give a damn. Some people work within the party, some people work on electoral politics, others work on grassroots organizing or on specific issues. Some people observe what's happening and try to explain it to others. Some people do it all.

But if it's a broken system that really disturbs you, Chris Hayes offered a whole list of initiatives that could change the process, from filibuster reform, EFCA, campaign finance to media consolidation and net neutrality. There actually are avenues to fundamental change besides complaining about politicians, who are just cogs in this machine not the builders of it. But if you go that route, be aware that it's going to be frustrating. The forces that are arrayed against it are very powerful.

And if you don't like reform, which is very tedious, there's always revolution. Go out and start a third party, create a movement, invent a better system, whatever --- "Pick up a musket." The point of the Hayes piece is that there are paths to change and that there is value in democratic involvement for its own sake even if the immediate results are frustrating and unsatisfying. It tills the soil of democracy. Unless you are a total nihilist, that's really the least you can do.

I'm open to any methods (except actual violence) that will fix this system and if people have bright ideas, I'm all ears. What precipitated my post is an intense impatience with this endless, cynical posturing about how everything's rigged and there's no point in anything. That's fine if you think that, plenty of people do, but I can't for the life of me figure out why you aren't watching a sporting event or playing a video game instead of commenting on a political blog. The only thing I can assume is that you want to bully people who still give a damn and that's just jackass behavior.


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