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Dangling, Sweaty Testicles: The United States Thread
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Jan 30th 2016

He means what he says and speaks the truth (as he sees it).

If this were a qualifying trait, the field on both sides would be thinned considerably. I do not believe Trump believes anything he's said for years.

Jan 30th 2016

I do not believe Trump believes anything he's said for years.

I do believe that he believes he could shoot a guy & it'd be fine, though.

So, that's good.

?

Jan 30th 2016

That's probably not wrong. He might even pick up supporters.

Feb 7th 2016

However, his socialist policies would ruin America.

See, I feel like this is hyperbolic. Bernie has repeatedly stated that the tax increase will not be the 90% that was in effect under Eisenhower. Here's a decent breakdown of his plan according to CNN.

But I don't think it's really the taxes that you have an issue with, as you say. It's the socialist policy. It's that fundamental difference in opinion about what the government is for and what it should be doing.

I think part of the government's role is to 'correct' systems in place in our society that are out of alignment. Yes, that includes making people wear seat belts and send their children to school. And I already know that you and I disagree there.

Feb 8th 2016

It's that fundamental difference in opinion about what the government is for and what it should be doing.

In part. We'll always disagree on how much power ANY government should have over people, but one of the big things usually forgotten is the power of the FEDERAL government. The writers of the Constitution wanted power to be strongest at the state or local level. They specifically wrote that any powers not mentioned in the Constitution should fall to the states. We seem to have forgotten that part. The federal government, who should be doing things like protecting the border, dealing with foreign countries and natural disasters, is instead concerned with educating kids and mandating health care and determining who should marry who. And when you point out that it's NOT THE JOB of the federal government to do these things, it is assumed that you want kids to fail and you want to deny health care and you care about what happens in the bedroom.

For me, it doesn't matter what his specific polices are. It's the whole idea of socialism. I work with quite a few people from these European socialist paradises. The people there just don't do much at work. They will argue that it's US that have our priorities out of whack, that they, with their 30 hour work weeks and summers off, are living life correctly, and we are too driven by careers and money. When the government takes care of you, you have time to write that book of sonnets and attend the opera, right? And that's what is important. To them.

Feb 9th 2016 edited

And when you point out that it's NOT THE JOB of the federal government to do these things, it is assumed that you want kids to fail and you want to deny health care and you care about what happens in the bedroom.

The discourse between people who don't quite agree in this country is heinous. It is a shame that the only acceptable way to "believe" in your own principals is to pretend like you are Luke Skywalker and everyone else is on the dark side.

You make a really good point, as usual. I would prefer things like health care and education to be more evenly distributed and handled across states, partially because I grew up in several states in the South. Spending my formative (read helpless to make decisions on my own behalf) years there means that I was subjected to varying qualities of those things since they were primarily controlled through the state. Since my father was in the Navy, when I lived with him, we had guaranteed government health care. But when I lived with my very poor mother in Texas, we did without. She did without. And living with her in a poor district in Texas meant we had very few resources in the public school. Even when I lived with my Dad in South Carolina, we could only just afford to live in an actual subdivision instead of on base. But the school system was better than the one where my Mom lived. Even so, the educational standards there were much lower than what was happening in the more affluent part of Texas that I eventually graduated high school in.

There is no easy fix, though. All of those systems are so complicated (and the reasons why far more complicated that just conservative verses liberal values.)

It's the whole idea of socialism. I work with quite a few people from these European socialist paradises. The people there just don't do much at work. They will argue that it's US that have our priorities out of whack, that they, with their 30 hour work weeks and summers off, are living life correctly, and we are too driven by careers and money. When the government takes care of you, you have time to write that book of sonnets and attend the opera, right? And that's what is important. To them.

For me, I kind of view a society as a collection of people trying to provide for ourselves, right? And, you know, back in the Bronze Age, it was really hard to do so. We didn't have advancements in farming and technology that we have now, so it took a lot more work to provide for the needs of the people in society. Advancements in both should make it so we can turn our attentions from providing for the basic needs of society to greater pursuits. It should free up time. We should be able to do far less work to take care of far more people, thus elevating our whole society to the point where we can spend more time on the things that matter to us 'spiritually'. I mean, 30 hours a week means more quality time with my kiddos. Let's say my chosen career path is software engineering. I could take that extra time and work on research to improve the field. Or to expand my own personal knowledge. There are many pursuits, depending on your value system, that wouldn't necessarily need to be quantified as living off the governments teat to write stupid foppy sonnets. And who are you to say that sonnet writing is a less "valuable" way to spend ones time? They have their own value system. That's why it would be great to have those extra 10 hours a week so we could choose what we want to pursue a more well-rounded and happy space for ourselves. It might turn out that those sonnets written by that software engineer inspire a whole new innovation in health care for someone else.

Instead, Americans work longer, harder hours than ever before. We are far more productive than we were 20 years ago. We are members of the first generation of Americans whose expected death will actually be earlier than our parents. We have higher rates of suicide and divorce. We don't sit around the dinner table as families anymore. Instead, we rush our kids from one manic extra-curricular to another desperate to beef up their resumes so they can get into the Buggati Veyron of universities that the vast money-making machine has convinced every parent is the only option that matters.

Clearly, I agree that our money-based value system here is very screwed up. Do I think it makes me Luke and you part of the dark side though? Not really. Socialism isn't evil (or good) any more than capitalism or any of the other isms. Once again, I just feel like the entire system is so much more nuanced than that, and any 'solutions' have to be equally complicated.

Really? I just want all this partisan bullshit to go away. I want to sit down in a room with intelligent moderate thinkers and nuance our way to a better government that actually reflects what amazing people Americans really are.

Feb 9th 2016

Good thoughts, Anque, and much appreciated. I hope to add something later, but right now I'm late to meet people for lunch!

Feb 9th 2016 edited

Good debate. I'm almost tempted to weigh in. I too am beyond sick of partisan debate, especially the kind that takes place most often on the interwebs, which is unproductive in every possible sense. I lean closer to Jinx then to Anque politically, though my views have evolved in recent years. It's not so much that I'm against socialism. It's by far the more appealing ideology. I do think incentives prevail in the public and private sectors equally. Profit incentivizes efficiency and competency, though not necessarily honesty, altruism or other values. The public sector, meanwhile, offers some examples of less than stellar productivity or competence. I've dealt enough with the government on every level to see that. The answer probably lies in the middle or, more accurately, in different combinations in different places at different times for different constituencies. But that's not getting anyone elected, building a campaign chest or advancing any lobby's interests.

Feb 9th 2016

The answer probably lies in the middle or, more accurately, in different combinations in different places at different times for different constituencies.

This. I feel like a lot of the candidates have firm plans, and something good would come from any of them. I mean, stuff needs to change... make any change, basically, and let's move on. I barely care which direction it goes right now.

Feb 9th 2016

The answer probably lies in the middle or, more accurately, in different combinations in different places at different times for different constituencies.

I see what you did there.

But that's not getting anyone elected, building a campaign chest or advancing any lobby's interests.

Yup. How do we fix those problems? How do we undo the damage that we've done to the political system with decisions like Citizens United? How do we make it such that Congress actually does it's job and makes decisions on behalf of all Americans and not just the ludicrously rich ones?

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