Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Bottom-line Party

Politics follow
and obviously all my opinion
feel free to share yours

Because I am disappointed in Democrats and Republicans albeit for different reasons, because both parties seem like sell-outs to the highest bidder (which rarely is the American people), I agree with one tea party claim-- there needs to be a new party. Of course the tea party's fear agenda, their tolerance of bigotry, their near hysteria, leaves me out of thinking it should be them.

To add to my distrust of the self-named Tea Party's aims and abilities, I find this bunch's claiming that name, as though they are like the founders of this country, to be offensive. Very few of them (with the exception of maybe some of their leaders, who might know what's going on but are milking it for their own aims) have any clue what government does.  To me, tea partiers are clueless and nearly deranged from fear and hate.

So, I offer for your consideration a new third party called-- The Bottom-Line. It is to be a party of pragmatism, not idealism. I guess either current party could adopt its tenets but so far they have not.

Oh I know idealism is supposed to be the way to move ahead. Idealism is highly praised, but it should not be in politics. Recognizing idealism isn't actually that easy. Sometimes it can cloak itself in such terms that it fools others; but generally idealism is about some lofty goal (noble or otherwise) but with no realistic way to get there. You and I might even disagree regarding whether the goal is lofty but the thing it always has in common is this disconnection with practicality. I see it from the left, the right. libertarians, and even the tea partiers though they would all claim-- not them.

Besides no idealism, I also want this new party to have absolutely no symbolisms. I think symbolism is manipulative and a way to keep people from paying attention to what is really happening; so no tea bags, no flag pins, no cute (and especially no ugly) signs.

The Bottom-line Party should claim no religious affiliation, nor promise any god is on their side. It should operate on principles historically proven to keep a culture healthy. In the case of the United States, that would begin with the Constitution and its protection of basic, human rights. When new ideas come along the party would evaluate them based on changing times and incorporate them only if they are deemed practical.

This party should be led by those who know what a real bottom-line looks like (and in case you didn't know, that's not always business people). I'd like it made up of those who can see beyond fancy rhetoric to what words mean and where ideas lead. I also am not interested in 'nanny' leaders who hold hands and coddle instead of sticking to the tasks at hand. I would suggest if we need a cheerleader, we appoint our own king or queen with no real power. To me a strong leader gives us the facts (as best they know it), not the emotion, and says it like it is it whether we want to hear it or not.

What a Bottom-Line Party is not

Libertarians would probably think they are the party of the bottom-line, but they are not if you look at what they think they can pull off with no government. Government is after all the collective will of the people expressed through voting. Government is intended to protect weak citizens from the strong, the minority from a selfish majority. Government steps in when individuals alone cannot accomplish something. Government is supposed to be a shared system of values with a collective plan to attain them. There is no way a culture, not made up of hermits, who all live and stay a long way apart, can get by without a form of government.

An example of libertarian folly was Rand Paul trying to defend why the civil rights act took away freedom from property owners. He stumbled all over himself trying to explain why a business owner should have the right to refuse service based purely on race but that he himself was not a racist. Since I don't know him, he might not be racist, at least not in a personal sense, but bottom-line is he was wrong. He couldn't defend his position because he could not admit that are times where government, the collective will of the people, is needed.

There is a reason the government can step into a business and say they cannot refuse service based on race. They do it because of the Constitution, which originally and through amendments expresses the collective will of the citizens; but also because businesses are licensed and receive the benefit of government services (paid for by the people) through things like highways, police, fire protection, sidewalks, etc. Private clubs can still do what they want for membership but anyone dealing with the public or receiving largess from the public cannot.

And then there are tea partiers who aren't pragmatic at all. They run on loose cannon emotions, use words, like socialism, that many have no idea what they even mean, and promise things that aren't logical-- like no taxes while they want their Medicare or a very advanced military fighting wars around the world.

Listening to them, half the time tea partiers want less government and half the time they want more. They are clueless frankly. Tea party types are not pragmatic and want to live in a dream world from the past that never existed. Their history with mankind, under different names, is extensive and never long term successful while they may do a lot of damage for awhile.

How can a thinking person vote for Republican? They sometimes talk practical but then do the opposite. Since falling out of power, they will do anything to make Democrats look bad with no concern for the country's welfare. Their idea of patriotism is a flag pin while they vote down benefits for veterans.

Voting for Republicans is a guarantee of more thinking like Liz Cheney who wants investigations of Obama for offering possible jobs as a way to influence who runs in his party's races. This is the kind of thing Republicans love to dwell on (unless it's their guys) instead of dealing with real problems.

So with wars in two places, North Korea acting dangerously, Iran with possible nukes and wanting to use them on Israel, Israel likely tricked into infuriating their only real Muslim ally, the Middle East still a powder keg, the oil gushing up in the Gulf with still no idea what all that may yet mean (and possibilities of it happening other places), climate change that could throw us all for a loop, world economy in the tank along with our own, infrastructure crumbling, terrorism still a very real threat, with all of that, Cheney and a few others want to investigate the 'other' party for doing something that their own party also does and has always done. Cheney is asking that we waste government time for partisan goals.

Republicans are too easily duped for me to think they can run anything. Look at how they recently selected failed CEO Carly Fiorina to run against Barbara Boxer. This is a CEO, who damaged two previously successful companies, who even today seems to think that having gotten a golden parachute to get rid of her makes her someone who knows how to run a country (at least into the ground).

Fiorina claims she's all about jobs and you wonder is this the same woman who shipped so many of ours overseas for the stock market's profit? She put out a quirky ad which evidently worked with the voters of California and proved her theory that they are sheep (that is no compliment). Then when she wins, her first off the record comment is about her opponent's hair. Not hard to see what her priorities are. Sorry but Republicans don't make a lot of sense to me on any level but least of all who they choose to run for offices.

IF Democrats don't like Obama acting like all the rest of the politicians (which he too often has been), they can vote him out next go round with the help of all those Republicans who never did want him. You cannot seriously vote for a Republican unless you want more investigations of blow jobs while Rome burns. They aren't idealists or pragmatists but instead are purely opportunists.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out the bottom-line because idealism gets in the way. We see that often from Democrats where they talk sometimes great ideas (sometimes not) but don't figure in the cost if they do those things. It's as though it will all happen by osmosis.

Obama now says he wants more money to bail out the states with their teacher, police and firemen salaries. That would be stimulus he says but he won't call it stimulus. These are definitely the jobs Americans care a lot about being done (even if they don't want to pay for them).

Yes, many states can't afford to pay those salaries but neither can the fed without borrowing. Because the fed has unlimited borrowing, for now, he can say he'd do it but for how long? IF the feds could have covered the states' shortfall without borrowing, I would have said that could be a pragmatic choice; but they cannot.

A pragmatic party would say that the states, the local governments must work their own budgets out and face the fact that some of it is due to pensions they promised in lusher investment years. There is no guarantee that the stock market will really go back up. It has ruined a lot of people's plans for their retirement years. Why should the states not face facts on it? If they want to pay the pensions and lay off current teachers, police and firemen, that's their choice; but it has to be their problem, and the fed should stay out of it.

Democrats feel they must become involved in such things (without a practical way to pay for them) based on idealism and emotionalism.

Democrats are often as much opportunists as Republicans but just looking to take advantage of a different group of people. Democrats talk like they care about the citizens but they ruin bills (downsize health care until it's nearly meaningless for the ordinary person, gut the financial bill, ignore real ways to help the environment while they do photo ops) while they don't figure out realistic ways to pay for what they want. They talk idealism but without a way to get there or, like with cap and trade, have no idea where there would be.

Idealism is easily used by demagogues, from any of these groups, to take power from everyone but themselves. Idealism fails in a world that responds better to pragmatism. Opportunism does not do what is right but only what is profitable and too often short term. Pragmatic, bottom-line parties face reality. Democrat and Republican voters don't like realistic talk which is why they end up with the politicians they do.

What a pragmatic party would look like
An example of what a pragmatic party would care about is health care reform. This really is a topic that a strong party would deal with despite the fear talk. The fear comes because they aren't looking at the bottom-line. How profitable is it for a society to put a big chunk of its money into buying protection from catastrophic illness? How beneficial is it that people are forced to put off routine care, and diagnostic tests which then end up with a bigger health problem than was required?

Practically speaking, a healthy citizenry is stronger. A citizenry that doesn't have to fear illness is more apt to be productive. When health costs are a fear, people have to stick to jobs that might be beneath their skills. Plans to make health care more affordable avoid draining the money into it from everything else.

We should not have private companies insuring people from fear but instead be helping people take care of their fixable health problems-- that's single payer which scares Democrats to even mention because of the fear talk spewing from Republicans, Libertarians, and Tea Partiers who manage to convince those in their ranks that somehow doing nothing benefits them. Doing nothing is most expensive of all. A lot could be done to make basic health care more affordable and available. That is what is pragmatic.

Idealism doesn't work because
I have heard it said that idealists change the world. You hear this especially regarding religions. That's because of the very few we hear about who did impact the world, but mostly when that happens, they started a movement that a realist came along and made work.

Having just spent some time (briefly) in Mormon country, an example of this would be Joseph Smith who began the Mormon church. He was clearly an idealist and a man who inspired others by writing a book he claimed was channeled from the angel Moroni. Very inspiring, but it took Brigham Young, using the martyred Smith and his own very pragmatic nature, to make that religion into the power structure it is today.

It's nice to listen to idealists, be inspired by them, but keep them in the movies or out doing seminars. For government leadership, we need pragmatists (conservative or liberal) to run things. Even though I won't always like what he/she does, they have more of a chance of getting something real done in the end. Idealists like symbols. Realists say show me the beef.

I would like there to be a bottom-line party which recognizes that we have certain characteristics as humans, we have certain needs,  which admits that sometimes it takes government to fulfill those needs, does not see government as the enemy but as a tool. It pays for what it wants. It would have to be a government that protects the minority from the majority when the majority is denying basic rights, that doesn't promise pie in the sky, tells us the cost openly (even when we don't like it), and has a realistic plan which involves winning or losing and what happens next. I won't hold my breath for it to happen because it requires enough Americans being pragmatists to get that person elected. I am afraid most Americans are idealists!

I have absolutely no reason to use the top photo for this topic except I like it and that turns out to be reason enough. It was taken from our moving pick-up in southern Utah. I take a lot of photos that way (it helps to pass the time) while Farm Boss supposedly keeps his eyes on the road-- or so he tells me.  Most I throw away but once in awhile I get a keeper.

Then there was this waxing crescent moon June 14th with Venus shining brightly above it looking out toward our pastures from the house.  Because I love crescent moons especially when Venus gets into the picture, we took a lot with some having no trees showing but it seemed it had more interest with the fading glow of the sunset and the  outline of trees. 

Just for fun I did a digital also to try and express more of the feeling which the camera couldn't capture.


Parapluie said...

I love your digital moon painting - a great relief to imagining what a political party could be like. Visulizing is an important exercise. More of us should try a possitive, creative outlook. What actions can be imagined can be made so.

This is a little off the topic. Right now there is a huge doable citizen link possible with our governing. The issue is the immediate health benefits granted by the health care law. Citizens can help fashion how the states will distribute Federal benefits. In Oregon there is a Health Policy Board and Health Authority being formed. There are 38,000 kids currently enrolled and the goal is to enroll 80,000 by December 20th, 2010.

I have signed up to receive updates directly from interfaith advisers. Meeting on the formation of these boards welcome the public.

Ingineer66 said...

Goodness Rain, write a book why don'tcha. I will have to sit down and read it all later, but your Bottom Line Party seems to resemble my Fiscal Party that I am promoting. Maybe we can merge and take over the country. You can be Secretary of State and I will be Ambassador to Tahiti.

Rain said...

I have seen what being Secretary of State has been doing to Hillary's looks. That's too hard a job for a woman my age. You are younger. You should be it and I will be ambassador to Tahiti. I could get into that :)

Alan G said...

Why don't we all just move to Tahiti and "to hell with it all"!!

Know what I mean Vern....

La Brea said...

"Government is after all the collective will of the people expressed through voting."

- rain

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic.”

- Benjamin Franklin

"Our democracy will cease to exist
when you take away from those who are willing to work
and give to those who would not."

- Thomas Jefferson

We ALL have health care.
We ALL have cell phones.
Party time! Let's spread some more wealth around!

Rain said...

The only exception to government being the collective will of the people is a dicatorship, La Brea. Otherwise, it is that we get the government we deserve and what we voted for. If someone wants a dictatorship, they need to think exactly where that leads. It's sure nothing I want; so the alternative is an informed electorate which is what should be happening especially in schools where people are educated as to what makes a culture work well.

Handing everyone everything is not my idea of working well. Health care though is something else especially when we are seeing a lot of the money people pay for health care not going into it but instead benefiting corporations and investors. Although our founding fathers had seen how it could be with Great Britain, not sure they could have predicted what we see today (although the warnings came early on about bankers).

So whether the dictatorship is a corporate one or a government one, it's not what I want. I'd rather trust the people and make sure they have the full information of what they are paying for and where it will lead which is what I said in the blog. The big problem we face today is the ability to borrow endlessly which means people don't have to think if they want to pay for something. They just put it on the cuff for some future generation to cover. The question economists are debating is how much debt is too much debt...

The thing that irks me with some people is they don't want to trust the people with the vote but then who do they want to trust to run things? That's the problem you face which is why I see education as so important. IF people understand the true cost of things, the bottom-line, then they have a better chance of choosing wisely. HOWEVER, the collective will of the people certainly isn't always wise or right- especially not in our era where we have so much advertising with lies in it and people have to discern through it all and often don't.

It's why the Constitution was supposed to protect the minority from the majority. Look what majority vote has been doing to gay rights which is very much a Constitutional issue of equal treatment under the law. Getting a majority to vote for something doesn't make it right-- but government is the people or else it's a dictatorship. It's our choice whether it's what we end up with but it's not easy to go back from dictatorships if you decide that wasn't so great either.

Rain said...

And La Brea, thank you for posting an alternative view and doing it articulately. To me that is what I always hope for from any blog that it gets agreement, disagreement and sticks to the issue. Intelligent people can disagree on something this big. You can do it anonymously though just using your nickname under your points and don't need to use a phony link unless of course, you are Drudge ;)

Rain said...

Because of the quotes on the difficulty of keeping a democracy going (which we don't actually have anyway), I went looking for the famous one that I had seen many places including a small museum in eastern Wyoming. It took awhile as the quote has been bandied about and misused and misattributed. So here are a couple of the links I found and you can see the quotation in them-- Alexander Fraser Tytler and then from Wikipedia more about who Tytler was. You know some wanted Washington to become king of America but he did not want that kind of government; but it's logical they would feel that way as they had been under a monarchy and only didn't like the taxation without representation part. They were the wealthy and probably had a lot of reservations on ordinary people being able to vote on important issues. There wasn't even a public education system back then.

mandt said...

Excellent post and thought provoking! Well done Rain. I hope the discussion goes forward. You are absolutely right about education.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Though politics aren't really my thing, I am extremely impressed with what you have written. I can see this as a full-on article for some publication. But, which one?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Great post Rain. You are so smart and so incredibly articulate...I LOVE the thinfs you say and the way you say them, with logic behind them.BTABA, BRAVA!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

My finger just slips all over the place..That Should read: BRAVA, BRAVA...I'm old and I'm tired, but I'd vote for you for President, my dear!