Food for Thought: Politics and Perception

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Shade, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. The following is a personal experience of mine from a government class I'm currently taking this semester.

    My government professor has assigned a class project of sorts which will contribute to 1/3 of our entire individual grades for the semester. The project is regarding the campaigning and voting of gubernatorial candidates from our state of Texas with respect to the upcoming gubernatorial elections. The class has been broken down into several sub-groups, including: The People, The Press, Republicans (Rick Perry), Democrats (Bill White), Libertarians (Katherine Youngblood Glass), and The Green Party. The groups were broken down by random drawings, so no individual student was able to choose what party or affiliation they wanted to represent.

    Those chosen to represent the respective political parties who have candidates running for Texas Governor are tasked with essentially creating an in-class campaign to win the votes of The People. As such, The People will be assigning specific issues to be discussed in presentation format by the respective political party representatives. The Press are mostly tasked with asking questions of the respective groups to better evaluate their positions on such issues. This entire project will take place over several weeks, and in the end, the People will vote for who they feel did best, or who they liked best--this vote will be taken into account as our professor grades us.

    Today, The People stood before the class to outline criteria and expectations that they would like to see from the groups representing political parties:
    • Believability--even if we, as individuals, do not agree with the party we are to represent, or the candidate chosen for that party, we are too effectively "fake it"

    There were several other points they made, most of which were equally absurd (IMO), but this one struck a particular chord with me.

    As they explained this expectation, all I could think was, "is this really what people want from those whom they entrust to lead?" To hell with principles, convictions, passions, or resolve--so long as we're convincing enough liars we'll be good to go? Really?

    Now, I realize this is just a small group of college students, and as such they only partially represent a particular demographic of voters; nevertheless, I think there's serious cause for concern from this expectation they've burdened us with for this project. In my mind, it speaks volumes about the lunacy which we call democracy in practice. By their own words, they do not seem to care about what is true, honest, or accurate; all they want is to be fooled and deceived in a convincing manner.

    I am not so naive as to believe that this isn't already a focal point of politics in present times (if not in all times), but to see fellow peers and students not only give into the same bogus political paradigm that we all know and hate, but also advocate it as if it were an admirable trait worthy of advancing ones grade was rather appalling to me. It was all I could do to contain myself and not stand up, berate them for their blundering ignorance, and then storm out of the class room.

    Part of me hopes that perhaps this is the intent of our professor, to cast some light on this particular issue. My more cynical side, however, suspects that I may very well be among the few, if not the only one, in the class who even picked up on this particular point.

    As an aside:
    I somehow managed to draw the Libertarian party, which I found rather amusing. Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me here. We were debating economic issues not too long ago, and when someone advocated increased government spending and regulation, I effectively threw them under the bus with the help of ABCT only to have almost everyone in the class look at me like I was speaking in tongues--I was even making an effort to avoid deeper specifics, to appeal to the layman, but still... blank stares. :(

    I don't see our group getting a many votes from this crowd, honestly. When we did an introduction presentation about our particular party, we spoke of the libertarian position of less government spending on public services which would lead to a way of reducing taxes. We were asked what areas could be cut, and we responded with such things as Medicaid and public education only to receive blinking silence as if no one could even fathom why such a ludicrous notion would even be contemplated, let alone spoken aloud.

    I suspect I'll be fighting a losing battle in government class for the next month or so. Sigh. So much for libertarian dominance amongst the younger masses, I suppose.
  2. That's why I could never go into politics. Way too much bullshit for me.
  3. The only ones who go into politics are the ones who want to force their will on others. It's going to take (alot of) anger toward the government to get the libertarians elected.
  4. Focus on topics that would appeal to The People. (lower taxes, legalization of drugs, etc)

    If you can. That should win with the majority of them. :smoking:
  5. They say whatever it takes to get them into office most of the time. It's comparable to some fake popularity contest.
  6. I'm not surprised, once your voted in you only need to work for 6yrs (in Aus) then your eligible for a pension :eek:
  7. Spot on - it's always disgusted me how the best 'virtue' for a debater to supposedly have is the ability to debate for whichever side he's thrust upon. Such a debater is a shapeshifter, a conman who puts on a particular face like different lures used to appeal to different fish. It's fucked up, my only guess is that they justify training their pupils to be liars by saying "Oh no, no, we're just broadening their employment opportunities by developing their skills and not their viewpoints. After all, that's what the boss'll do - hire you for how well you can do the job, not how much you believe in the job you're doing." What a wonderful, wonderful world...
  8. Nice post Shade, I really enjoyed it.

    I hope this helps you out, since my roots were in being a liberal I have found what I consider to be an easy way to explain things to them.

    First, I don't go near the things they like. Medicaid and public education, we know the truth behind them, but start with something like Corn Subsidies or Corporate Welfare. It's much easier to bring them along from that perspective, then once they are convinced government spending is bad there, turn it around on them. What makes Medicaid different? That usually stuns them but you already have a really nice rapport with them.

    Secondly, I try to show them how Medicaid and public education actually hurts us. Again, I lean on demonizing the Corporations. "If it weren't for lobbying etc etc etc" and that usually gets them more on board.

    Lastly, I try to convince them that Anarchy is what they've really wanted all along, and that it best suits there needs. That's it's childish to assume one uniform system will work for everyone and that we will ever have a utopia. We should instead seek the best possible system and then see what comes after that.

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but usually it ends with at least "I understand but I don't think it will ever happen" and then you can go into how horrible it is to fight for something you don't truly believe in, eventually the bug will bite them =)

    Anyway, thanks for posting this and I hope I can help out a little bit. There are plenty more angles and Im sure you know them.
  9. Would have being priceless if you had got a Socialist candidate...:D

    Why is there none ?:(
  10. Since i have liberal roots but now have some libertarian leanings i'll throw in my 2 cents.

    Best to avoid health policy, most people rightly know that the current system is fucked and see this as the free market, and realistically this shouldn't be the first area that is cut.

    When you say you want to cut education people are often shocked that you would want a worse education system, and i dont think most libertarians wouldn't simply want to cut funding without reform, so don't talk about cuts in funding, talk about educational reform. Talk about increasing choice and competition through school vouchers etc. Talk about allowing parents to pick the schools that they think are best and how this will improve education. Point out how the US spends more than most countries on education but but has atrocious outcomes. If you want to talk about the federal department of education talk about the comparative waste public education spends on bureaucracy etc.

    As mentioned above attacking corproratism is always good. bailouts are an example of corporate welfare that many people are against.

    most important, talk about cutting the defence spending! Its not difficult to argue that the US doesnt need to spend more on military expenditure than most of the rest of the world combined (i cant remember exactly but i think its around 45% of the worlds military expenditure is by the US government). There are the foreign wars, and the 50 odd thousand troops you have in germany, japan etc. which could all be cut substantially at the least. And ofcourse this will be a popular argument with young liberals.

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