Friday, November 10, 2006

Removing God from the Ballot

One of the big problems we’ve had with fighting social conservatives is that they’re using the wrong forum to fight their battles. I understand why they want to use the political process to get their point across, because the whole omnipotent god thing really hasn’t been working out so well for them and they want something that actually works. But ultimately, this stuff is supposed to be about governing. We elect people at long-term intervals so that they can have time to do what they were hired to do. But we don’t want them to get too comfortable with the whole thing, lest they forget who their bosses are (namely, us). So we let them stay in office for a given time, but to not overstay their welcome. Just like parents.

But that’s not what the conservatives want this for. Not really, anyway. They don’t want to govern. They want a social referendum every damn day. And every day that their people remain in power, they think that they’re winning the social war. And they think it means that people are supporting them and that they get to tell us how to live our lives. It’s as if they’ve become totally fixated on the popularity contest aspect of democracy, and think that if they can win an election that it shows how they outnumber us; without realizing that many people vote for the same candidate for many different reasons. For them, an election is like a short-term tally of God’s Book of Judgment, to see how many people are on their side.

And so for them, two years is much too long. Because what they’re looking for is a day-by-day referendum; like your basic political poll. They want to know if they’re hot. And were we to hold elections every two weeks, these flakes would have been voted out years ago. It’s only because we can’t boot them out sooner that they weren’t booted out sooner. People keep acting as if their six-year winning streak (which was never particularly strong) is some sign of a long-term dominance. And that sounds so long. But we’re only talking about 3 one-day sample polls out of a six year period. And that’s not particularly damning against us. But again, the problem wasn’t with what we were doing wrong, but with how they were interpreting the results. For them, each day that they remained in office was yet another victory for them.

Of course I’m not suggesting that we go to two-week political terms. Merely that these people need to get out of the political world. Not that they shouldn’t be there, but that it’s really not what they want. I mean, if God’s all about letting evil exist because he’s a big believer in Freewill, then these people must really be pissing him off with all their mandatory laws and whatnot. I mean, there’s really not so much Freewill involved when people keep stopping you from making your own choices.

Overall, religion and Heaven should be about choice and letting people make their own decisions: Right or wrong. You get to pick the wrong god and follow the wrong rules and end up in the wrong afterlife. That’s how it works, even by fundamentalist thinking.

And frankly, I’m not so sure that most of these people even wanted the political power. I think it was their religious leaders who talked them into it, mainly for their own particular purposes. And even then, it was only because they were assured that God wanted them to make these laws. But enforcing morality isn’t the work of the government, and the rest of America will increasingly reject them the more they try this stuff. And that’s not to mention the conflicts that arise when one religious group realizes they didn’t have the same goals, morals, or policies as another. The Republicans were only able to achieve what they did by keeping things as vague as possible; but the longer they stayed in power, the more they were expected to inflict concrete policies on the rest of us. And that’s where it all falls apart.

Sure, it’s fun to play god and everything, but at the end of the day, it’s still blasphemy. And even worse: It’s just annoying.


whig said...

Would two week political terms actually be a bad idea? Well, yes, given the chaos of Diebold, but if it were an open process that could be verified and monitored... Maybe a daily poll, even, if you want to take it to the extreme.

I'm not endorsing it, I'm asking what's wrong with that.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Whig, I wrote a much longer reply, but it still didn't quite say what I was trying to. The easiest answer is that it just wouldn't be practical. Particularly as it would force all politicians to run the 365-Campaign all the time, which would surely benefit Republicans but hurt everyone else.

But that really is what social conservatives want, as well as most Republicans. They don't actually care about governing. They just like to know the score.

whig said...

Yes, I think the danger of voting is that if we do it too often we begin to vote for ourselves, and then the whole thing self-destructs.

But then let me ask a secondary question about the responsibility of those who are elected to vote on so many things. Once you've voted for your agenda on which you were elected, then what? Vote on everything and anything?

It's not easy to solve, and it may not be solvable. I consider democracy to be an experiment currently on trial.

Doctor Biobrain said...

I'm a little confused as to what you're asking. But I don't think that "agenda" is the proper attitude anyway. There are problems to be fixed, and you fix them. And then you fine-tune them if that's what they need. And there are always new problems to deal with, including what your opposition might be up to. And if the problems you want to address get minimized enough, then you'll get booted-out and replaced with someone who's handling the new issues. Or you have "character flaws" and get booted out for that. But again, I'm not sure what you're saying is unsolvable, so I'm not sure if I answered anything.

But the biggest problem we face is the career politician who so identifies themselves with their position that it becomes their primary focus. And I think that infects too many of them. I mean, once you've been a senator for eighteen years, how do you go back to thinking of yourself as a regular citizen? And so they arrange things to make re-election easier and position themselves so that they please the powerful while duping everyone else. You make grandstanding statements and meaningless votes while quietly undermining those very efforts. And I think you know the eighteen-year Senator I'm speaking of (now a twenty-four year senator).

But there are too many more just like him. It's no longer about fixing problems, but merely keeping a good job. And that's the greatest threat to democracy.