An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

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WhiteElephant
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An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by WhiteElephant » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:25 pm

I'm mostly lurking this board as there are usually some interesting threads about the PP.

Of course I noticed the political threads lately and I've been pretty interested in them. As a Dutch citizen this board gives me a different perspective of what's going on in the US.

What struck me is how completely polarized the political climate seems, even among board members. This is very hard to imagine for me.
I've been used to Americans telling me it's just the media, and it's really not as bad as it seems. But what I'm reading here is so ridiculously polarized, it's kinda hard to believe people seem so antagonized about this right/left thing. As if it's possible the other half is so completely, fundamentally wrong about, well really, everything. It's the anger, the frustration that's contained in these posts that really strikes me. It definitely seems worse after Trump got elected.

When I compare this to the situation in our 'socialist' western europe, we seem to be having a picnic over here! There are huge differences of opinion course, there always are, but nowhere near this level of anger and polarization between 'left' and 'right', between 'globalists' and 'nationalists'.
It really is quite shocking to me. Is there any way to heal this American toxic political climate?
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pmward » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:57 pm

OMG it is so bad here... and this forum is skewed pretty heavily to the right. It's so much worse when you are somewhere that doesn't have that overwhelming bias. People are dividing their families and friends by political affiliation... it's just crazy here right now. I think it just comes down to the fact that Trump is just so polarizing. He is so good at stirring up that us vs them mentality on his side, and at poking the bear on the other side. I don't know if there is any healing in this. Even if Trump gets booted from office in Nov, he is already positioning himself with "the election is going to be rigged" propaganda since he is down in the polls, and I do think that he will use that argument to generate outrage and revolt if he loses. I do not think he will walk away gracefully like other ex-presidents have. I think there will be lots of turmoil and resentment going forward regardless of who wins in Nov. As much I do not want to see Trump win in Nov, I am also fearful of what happens here if he loses. I just don't even know any more. This is not the country I know, that I served, and that I used to wholeheartedly believe in. It's just... different. It's going to take a long time to heal the wounds in our society.
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Xan
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Xan » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:19 pm

I think fundamentally a big issue is "first past the post" voting. The Constitution doesn't recognize political parties, and that's very nice in theory... But they sprang up anyway, and with winner-take-all 51% voting everywhere, it's inevitably going to turn into exactly two parties at each other's throats.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pugchief » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:35 pm

Xan wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:19 pm
I think fundamentally a big issue is "first past the post" voting. The Constitution doesn't recognize political parties, and that's very nice in theory... But they sprang up anyway, and with winner-take-all 51% voting everywhere, it's inevitably going to turn into exactly two parties at each other's throats.
^This. In Europe there are parties representing views across the political spectrum, so people can vote for what they like. Here, it is often the lesser of two evils. There is no right wing here in reality. You have the Republicans just barely 'Centre Right' (some would say they are actually 'Centre Left') and the Dems who are now Socialist bordering on Fascist. It's not a good situation.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:43 pm

pugchief wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:35 pm
Centre
:o

To add to the Europeanity of this thread, I think it was a French dude who first posited that democracies (republics, maybe?) would eventually come down to a two-party system.
I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. Who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. . . Nothing is better for a man than to eat and drink and enjoy his work.
- Ecclesiastes
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Xan
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Xan » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:55 pm

Something like Condorcet voting would help:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method

But it still wouldn't lead to the kind of multiparty coalitions you see in Europe.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by geaux saints » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:12 pm

WhiteElephant wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:25 pm
I'm mostly lurking this board as there are usually some interesting threads about the PP.

Of course I noticed the political threads lately and I've been pretty interested in them. As a Dutch citizen this board gives me a different perspective of what's going on in the US.

What struck me is how completely polarized the political climate seems, even among board members. This is very hard to imagine for me.
I've been used to Americans telling me it's just the media, and it's really not as bad as it seems. But what I'm reading here is so ridiculously polarized, it's kinda hard to believe people seem so antagonized about this right/left thing. As if it's possible the other half is so completely, fundamentally wrong about, well really, everything. It's the anger, the frustration that's contained in these posts that really strikes me. It definitely seems worse after Trump got elected.

When I compare this to the situation in our 'socialist' western europe, we seem to be having a picnic over here! There are huge differences of opinion course, there always are, but nowhere near this level of anger and polarization between 'left' and 'right', between 'globalists' and 'nationalists'.
It really is quite shocking to me. Is there any way to heal this American toxic political climate?
My experience with hurricanes has shown me that when things get *really* bad, Americans are still capable of coming together. That said, the level of anger I see here just seems out of touch with reality. This forum is full of smart, capable, well off people; why are we all so pissed off all the time? Could we perhaps take the OP as a reminder to get back to basics and focus on the things that matter most?
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by I Shrugged » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:17 pm

WhiteElephant, thank you for writing from your perspective. Lately I've been wondering if there are countries where a person can live in more harmony with his fellow citizens than we have here in the USA. Yes, the polarization is very strong. Yes, Trump is a big reason. Yes, he is a very flawed person.

But also, he is a direct threat to the establishment. And they can't tolerate that. I believe the establishment would be strongly fighting Trump even if he was a nicer person. One way to look at our current political situation is that Trump's election created a lot of destruction in both parties. The Democrats especially. The Democrats were suddenly down and bewildered, and all of their leaders looked like what they were: washed up, corrupt, and not standing for anything other than being in power. As the saying goes, "nature abhors a vacuum." So the vacuum in the Democratic party is being filled by Euro-style hard leftists. You've had them for years, but this is new to us.

The left is denouncing everyone in Mao-ist fashion, and if you disagree with them, you must be "cancelled". You must lose your job, your admirers, your company name, your pride in your past, etc etc. Heads must roll. Grudges must be settled, apologies are demanded, and of course reparations. It's obvious that nothing will ever be enough. The news and entertainment media and personalities are completely going along with this. I would guess that some of them would like to dissent, but they don't dare. As you might imagine, this development scares a lot of center and right citizens. For this reason, the polarization has gone off the scale.

I think this new left will eventually implode because it is nowhere near the views of the average American. I think the Democratic Party will break apart in some fashion. Being in opposition to Trump is currently uniting them. Actually, if Trump loses in November, the breakup of the Democratic Party might come more quickly. We shall see. In any event, it's bad here.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Cortopassi » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:48 pm

But dammit, this is America, and I demand my freedom from the oppressive government telling me I have to wear a mask.

Masks becoming political is a low point in America.

It will be interesting to see what the rise in cases in the West and South cause politically. There is going to be violence and protests over the next few months, over the virus, lockdowns and masks, I think. I hope the politicians are figuring out how to deal with this rise/second wave with going into lockdown mode again.

"As if it's possible the other half is so completely, fundamentally wrong about, well really, everything. It's the anger, the frustration that's contained in these posts that really strikes me. It definitely seems worse after Trump got elected."

Absolutely. Fox News and CNN top the list of enabling the polarization on TV, as well as thousands of websites you want to espouses your particular view or conspiracy.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Mountaineer » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:18 am

It's amazing how much more peaceful my mind is when I don't listen or watch much news for a few days. Even though my circumstances* are identical when watching news or not watching news. I think it comes down to what I tell my family and friends: "You are what you eat." It is important to focus on a good diet (actually and metaphorically).

* Interacting with neighbors, mowing the lawn, reading a book, watching a movie, FaceTiming with distant family members, reading Scripture, hugging my wife, etc.
When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who were not smart enough to get out of jury duty.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Hal » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:21 am

Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:18 am
It's amazing how much more peaceful my mind is when I don't listen or watch much news for a few days. Even though my circumstances* are identical when watching news or not watching news. I think it comes down to what I tell my family and friends: "You are what you eat." It is important to focus on a good diet (actually and metaphorically).

* Interacting with neighbors, mowing the lawn, reading a book, watching a movie, FaceTiming with distant family members, reading Scripture, hugging my wife, etc.
+1. Many years ago we decided to get rid of the TV and the level of communication in our family went through the roof.

If you would have told me a decade ago our family was discussing stoic philosophy or the bible I would have fell off the chair laughing.

It certainly helped us meet many other interesting people :)
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:28 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:48 pm
But dammit, this is America, and I demand my freedom from the oppressive government telling me I have to wear a mask.

Masks becoming political is a low point in America.
It's interesting to think about how yet another Frenchman might have applied his outsider's perspective to that issue:

"It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life. For my own part, I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones, if it were possible to be secure of the one without possessing the other.

Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day, and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas that obedience, which is exacted on a few important but rare occasions, only exhibits servitude at certain intervals, and throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. It is vain to summon a people, which has been rendered so dependent on the central power, to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity."

- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy In America
I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. Who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. . . Nothing is better for a man than to eat and drink and enjoy his work.
- Ecclesiastes
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