How American democracy works – a model for the world 12

Listen to these radio interviews about the presidential candidates. A daringly mischievous interviewer and know-nothing interviewees may make your laughter rise even as your heart sinks.

Obama, a pro-life and anti-gay marriage Mormon, whose running mate is Paul Ryan, is favored for the November 2012 election by most of these voters over his opponent, John McCain. One exception will vote for Romney, who is black. Most of them would like Osama bin Laden to be killed, though one woman wants him only to be tortured because she doesn’t believe in killing.

Posted under Miscellaneous, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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This post has 12 comments.

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  • Andrew M

    I’m posting this at the top level of comments to draw more attention.

    I want to organize a local town hall meeting, but I would appreciate some tips and advice if anyone else has experience in this regard.

    • Bring together a group of like-minded, motivated
      individuals. Schedule a facility first thing, the date needs to be at least 3 to four weeks away. Even that might be barely enough time if you
      wish to hold it before the election (I’m assuming you do). Hold late night pizza and brainstorming sessions, create a “work breakdown structure for the project. This should include vetting and acquiring a
      facility, a PA system with qualified sound man, promotion, and an event licence as required by your city. It will also require establishing a format for your meeting (there should be a variety of templates available on line), choosing a moderator or moderators. Each of the core group will be additionally tasked with bringing other people in underneath them to help. Very importantly don’t forget refreshments.

      The facility should be close to the town center, or a campus. On a college campus, or at a school would be ideal. Church’s tend to
      turn some people off. The sound system is crucial, I can’t emphasize that enough. The PA must be large enough to cover the room. Find a good sound man, and he will take careof that. Make sure your sound guy has audio compression, and knows how to “ring out” the EQ. Nothing ruins the atmosphere of a meeting like being plagued by feedback, and/or background noise. Do a good sound check at least 3 hours before the meeting, walk the microphone around the room to check for problem spots. I recommend Shure SM57
      microphones with big foam pop filters, the mic will get dropped.

      Locate all boards for postings, and deluge them with handbills. Keep rechecking those boards because others may take them down or cover them over. Staple guns, and lots of staples. Design the handbills like you were writing copy to advertise a product (don’t forget to advertise refreshments at bottom). Find a way to make it
      provocative and enticing. Get the handbills up as quickly as possible. Get on the community calendars of local radio stations. I should say here that it might be a good strategy to pose the meeting as a civilized debating forum, and enlist motivated liberal activists to be involved in the planning and execution as well. If you do, make sure they have a
      solid local profile and reputation to protect. Agree on ground rules, the most important being not to discuss politics before the actual meeting. Lots of inter-communication on a daily basis is a must. Make one
      individual responsible for overall coordination. It needs to be someone with lots of time.

      Go to the city and find out what is required to legally hold
      the event. Thoroughly discuss and agree upon the meeting format. Put it in writing. The moderator needs to spend time watching similar meetings archived on the web, as well as upcoming debates. They REALLY should be someone with past experience doing similar events… don’t forget coffee and
      refreshments!

      You have a.;-) LOT of work ahead of you… good luck and Darwin speed

      • By “going to the city” I mean going to the city government building, office of permits.

  • Hillarious. It is politically incorrect, even taboo to suggest an amendment to the constitution requiring a very basic civics and current events test be administered as an additional pre-requisite for voting… so I will stick my kneck out and say that such a test should also include basic macro-economics, geo-politics, US and world history. The problem is I suspect most of the teachers I saw on television during the chicago union strike would probably fail it. Are we lost?

    • Frank

      Steve, yes we are lost. Bend over and kiss it good-bye.

      • Ha ha… yes I feel that way, but we don’t really get off the hook so easily do we Frank? Andrew up above is proof that there exists some intelligent free thinking young adults amongst the pop-culture stepford-youth. And you Frank (no idea how old you are) would not be engaging in this forum if you did not still care. What better challenge than to devise strategies for reshaping the political landscape. Surely something can still be salvaged…;-)
        (the emoticons are a compulsive behavior)

        • Frank

          Steve, I’m 68 and yes I care but the facts are indisputable. For the first time in our history we have more people working “in government” than in the private sector. We have almost 50% if the population dependent on the government in one way or another. We have an education system that graduates people who know nothing about economics, science, history, or how to think critically about anything – and they vote. And the Republican Party has been taken over by religious whackos who want to turn America into a Christian theocracy. It’s over; all that’s left to do is count the ballots.

          • Frank, that is true, therefore we must encourage friends to get out and vote. Just because there are that many on the government payroll or dole (I do not refer to Social security, or legitimate medicare/medicaid recipients) doesn’t mean they will all put down the crack pipe (or turn off Bill Maher/john Stewart) long enough to go vote. If 100% of all the alleged registered voters actually made it out to the polls, then yes it might be insurmountable. Reality falls far short…. thank Darwin.;-)

    • Andrew M

      I’ve long supported this idea. It should be the ONLY responsibility of the DOE should we allow that bureau to exist at all.

      Immigrants go through an arduous process to familiarize themselves with their new country and learn its language before they can become naturalized citizens. Why aren’t we holding our native-born sons and daughters to the same standard?

      As a recent college graduate, I was deeply bothered by the depths of ignorance I had to explore just to understand the preoccupations of my fellow classmates. Outside of those in my right-leaning political clubs, I either received complete apathy towards the political scene or an uncritical liberal (dare I say socialist) ideology. It would be wrong for me to generalize about my classmates, since they are truly a diverse set of figures who do attempt to think about these issues. What bothers me is that my college seemed to serve as an echo chamber for Leftism – and it seems this is the rule as opposed to the exception.

      To this sordid realization, I responded in the only way that seemed appropriate for me: I took it upon myself to double down on my consumption of current events, especially the global security threat called Islam, in a vain attempt to make up for their ignorance. Only until I realized how miserable this had made me did I learn to stop worrying so much and just love the bomb already.

      Just kidding, I still deeply care about our state of affairs. But I simply don’t have the stamina to consume political news all the time, and find it more enriching nowadays to study the history of what made this Republic so great.

      • Excellent observations Andrew. A year ago I sat in on an induction ceremony for new citizens. It was acually quite moving. For those who have immigrated and received citizenship the proper way, it (citizenship) means a great deal because they had to work hard for it. If American born citizens, were required to work a little harder for the privilege of voting, perhaps they would also do the work required to make an informed decision.
        O’bama had a rude awakening when he showed up for a “Univision” town hall meeting last week. He thought he could condescendingly mollify the hard hitting questions of his hispanic interviewers with platitudes, lies, and excuses. To his dismay they were armed with the facts and would not back down an inch. It was a rare display of journalistic integrity.
        I have a friend whose parents are both high school teachers. They are also both rabid liberals. I got into a debate with them one night over several issues concerning the national economy, national debt/deficit, baseline budgeting, and the “fair share” from “millionaires and billionaires”. With absolute certitude they rattled off liberal talking points that were absolute inacuracies. When I offered to pull up CBO figures, and other relatively reliable sources in order to disprove them, they only got angrier, and dismissively refused. I was ashamed of, and for these people who called themselves “educators”.
        You are to be commended all the more for being bombarded with all their leftist propaganda, yet still maintaining and cultivating the intellectual curiosity and integrity to seek out the facts for yourself. It is far easier these days to simply go with the crowd and become part of the hip “liberal echo chamber” as you say. Please stay engaged with political discourse. Your generation will need all the sane voices it can manage to produce.;-)

        • Andrew M

          Oh, I’ve walked that walk too.

          I went through my idealistic infatuation with Communism in my high school years. I looked up all the songs, memorized their lyrics, and proudly sang them as frequently as possible because I truly believed that Communism was the be-all, end-all method for human prosperity and it was “never done right” before.

          Ironically, it was only after entering college did I wake up from my youthful dream. I asked one of my first friends there what he thought about the Israeli question, and he was unapologetically a staunch defender of the tiny Jewish nation. As someone who had instinctively supported the Palestinians and considered them the victims-by-default, I was shocked to hear someone express this position so firmly and proudly.

          But I was not offended – I was intrigued to learn more. As I delved into the alternative media sources my father would consider “fringe lunacy”, I found myself forced to rethink many of my oldest and deeply-held convictions. Generally speaking, I hate to pigeonhole myself with a label, but I eventually founded the first libertarian club on my campus.

          Despite my push to the right, I did not discount anyone’s voice. I would have a Sam Harris (a self-identified liberal) volume in one hand while reading Pamela Geller’s and Robert Spencer’s blogs online (both of them conservatives). I once found myself repelled entirely from conservatism because of its Christian facade, but I now find it just an irritant insofar that it affects the viewpoint of otherwise reasonable people in irrational ways.

          And herein is where I think the core of the matter lies: we have a generation whose left-leaning parents did not encourage to think deeply about political affairs, even as I see my friends pursing careers in the hard sciences and other domains where reason is respected. I truly have great hopes for my generation because they are the most scientifically literate ones out there, but I fear for their political atrophy (to say nothing of the generation currently in our public schools).

          Even though I’m not considering a career in politics myself (I’m too honest a person), I do not plan to shut up any time soon!

          • I myself went through an extreme liberal phase as an adult. When I initially lost my religion, I threw out all the conservative ideas right along with it, As a musician in a tight-knit community of musicians and artists, I voluntarily underwent the indoctrination. I listened to NPR and PRI all day long while bending glass, went to the party’s and regurgitated with the best of them. I was “saved” when I went to work for a large company where the guy assigned to mentor me listened to Rush and Shawn all day long. I quietly climbed the walls for a couple weeks, but over time started considering then researching statments they were making it. What followed were many late night sessions on the internet reading news stories and analysis, both new and archived from around the world. I realized that liberalism was just another religion complete with a pantheon, and circular logic based on false premises. My Atheism, however, was only reinforced. I learned to extract the valid conservative ideas from the religious attributions, like separating wheat from chaff. If kids nowadays have liberal parents, shouldn’t they all be rebelling and becoming conservative or libertarian Atheists?