Vladerag's Blog

Much has been made in the past few years, and in particular, this election cycle, about the virility and amount of attacks launched on canidates characters.  Each year, the attacks only get worse and worse.  From both sides of the aisle and within the parties, even those of the same political affiliation shamelessly attack each other.  When pressed, the aggresors will always say they are pointing to flaws in character that are unaceptable for civil servants.

Instead of putting forth real ideas, they launch political attacks, and even when someone does have an idea, it is usually acompanied by a jab at someone else.  “Here is my solution, unlike my opponent.”

It needs to end, but cant it?

After all, character is one of the most important factors to voters in determening who to vote for.  Consider that President Obama’s biggest advantage last election was that he could make people love him, and that Mitt Romney’s largest flaw is that he can’t.  Of course, if you cant make people love you, you can make them hate your opponent.

Some have tried, to a certain extent, to avoid personal attacks.  John Mccain was noted for taking a long time to attack then canidate Obama on the topics of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, although both would normally be sinking assocations for any canidate.

Some political commentators, generally the conservative leaning ones, say that may have been a key issue in his loss.

In all of this, one has to wonder, what does it say about current politics that some analysts believe the election was decided, not on policy, but on how far someone was willing to go to destroy someones character?

Civility in politics is a dream, but it doesnt have to be.  However, it cant be in the current polarized enviorment.  So to realize this dream, we need to change the enviorment.  To do that, we need to find the cause of the polarization.  Through repeated elections, we have seen the rise of the extreme in the house and senate.  The pendulem of power swings from one party to the other every so many years, but with each swing it gains strength.  In part, this is caused by gerrymandering, a process through which those currently elected redraw the voting districts to give themselves the advantage.  But the other part is much closer to home, because it is us, the voters.

Increasingly, even dinner table conversations have become hostile in the area of politics.  We, as a nation, have dug into our current political beleifs and refuse to budge.  And because our government reflects the wants and needs of the people, it too has become more polarized.

But people are not just born conservative or liberal, nor are they normally born bellicose and stubborn.  We are born with, and taught in childhood, to be empathetic, polite, and listen.  So what happened?  How did our views on each and every issue begin to radically differ from each other?

This polarization is driven by something, and that something is easy to discern.  The media has polarized the public, which has polarized the politicians, who have creared the ammunition for the media to repeat the cycle once again.

Much as FOX and MSNBC would have you believe they are fair, they are not.  As much as they would like you to believe the other are demons, they are not.  For their efforts, they are made rich, and assured constant business.  The news is not real reporting anymore, mearly analysis of the latest political scandal.  How what each person said, how they said it, and who they said it too will affect their chances in Novemeber.

It is like high school all over again, except with your money, freedom, and safety at stake.

How can anyone meet eye-to-eye when they believe the other is misinformed, or worse, spining the truth?  We dont need fair and balanced, or the place for politics, we need what actually hapened, if it actually matters.  Fair and balanced is being unbiased and being the place for politics means actually telling what is their without analysis.

But this dream is not impossible, despite how it may seem.  These news stations are businesses, and they will respond to what there audiences want.  Vote with your remote, and watch only the most pure news reporting they have, instead of their analysis shows.

Once we have civility in politics, we can have true discourse and real solutions.  Just imagine what that would be like, and how prosperous we could become.


I am not going to argue liberal or conservative here.  I especially will not argue democrat or republican, which are fast becoming two differnt things from liberal and conservative. 

Instead I am going to ask a ridiculous question:  Would you trust your plumbing to them?

Most of you are probably saying, “Of course not!”  The others are probably laughing at the idea of Clinton or Gingrich holding a plunger. 

The point is that when you have a problem with your plumbing, you hire a plumber, or find some sort of expert.  Someone with years of experience and education in fixing the problem, who knows precisely what they are looking at and get right down to business.  Obviously, politcians lack the kind of experience to handle these things, but what then, is their expereince for?  This all leads to the main point, one that is often overlooked.  In any other situation, what we see in government would be dismissed as an incredibly bad idea.

To put it simply, what on earth do these people know?

For example, on the issue of health insurance, the two beasts fought each other with zeal.  Each side declared the other to be taking someones freedom and impugning their rights.  Both sides thought they were right, and they both were, to a certain extent.  But that discussion is for another time, because under all the political intrigue and idealogical debate, nobody actually considered letting the people in health care decide.

The most telling example is when various politcians quoted statements and used models from the Mayo Clinic, without notifying them, only to have the clinic come out publically and seperate themselves from the issue, because the models and statements were being misinterpreted and misused.

For those who dont know, the Mayo Clinic is one of the best hospitals in the world.  Catering to the needs of celebrites and politcal figures, including the Dali Lama, it provides services on par with John Hopkins, its only real rival.  Founded in the city of Rochester, Minnesota, the clinic employs the majority of the 100,000 people plus city.  Not to mention the two other major branches in Florida and Arizona.  Suffice to say, when the Mayo Clinic makes a statement, it carries weight, and with very good reason.  Undoubtly, they know more about healthcare and health insurance than perhaps any other organization, with the possible exception of John Hopkins.  Plus, they have never excepted government money, have been in an almost constant state of exspansion and growth, and are a non-profit, unmotivated by greed.

These are the people who should have been entrusted with healthcare reform.  The experts with decades of experience with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of paitents and a track record for doing the right thing, both morally and logically, that extends all the way back to the Mayo Brothers and their practice in the then small town of Rochester.

This trend of not trusting the experts with intensely complex and important issues is not limited to healthcare either.  Do we really think that any of the politicians, except perhaps the Bush family, know anything about drilling for oil?  Or, for that matter, the enviorment in general?  When people say that the oil pipelines from Alaska have altered caribou migtation routes, they are right.  However, they migrate to the pipelines now, because they like the warmth.  The pipeline actually benefits the herds.  Not that it isnt detremental as well, just that the full issue is not being discussed.  Why not leave whether an area is important or not to ecologists and geologists, who actually have the years of training to understand what it is they are looking at.

You had politicians decide to let sub-prime loans be legal in the afforadable housing act, so that people (obviously) could afford housing.  Yet, who could have forseen what happened instead?  Only an economist and banking expert, who, looking over the bill, might have seen the potential for disaster.

Important research is always at the mercy of the whims of politicians as well.  Consider the early restrictions on stem cell research, or the restrections of GMO’s.  But these people are not scientists, they are unlikely to even understand the research they are banning and restricting, and act purely out of ethical ideals.  Obviously, ethics has a place in law, as that is the foundation for a moral society.  But it should not be at the exspense of good sense.

So how do we solve this problem?  More accurately, can we? 

It certainly isnt working now, whoever is in power, whether they are democrat or republican, or tea partier or occupier, they follow their idealogies instead of reason.  Sure they have good intentions, but the worst harm can result of them.  What is needed is a change in the culture of politics.  Politics is consumed with hubris and stubborness, people rise to that level because of charisma, connections, and the belief that “they”” can fix what is broken.

In short, politicians need to listen and then prove that they can actually say, “I was wrong, but I have learned.” 

Fat chance though, right?

{October 24, 2009}   Is Glenn Beck Crazy?

The answer: I sincerly hope so.

Glenn Beck is an opinion commentator on Fox News, and if you watch his show, you will probably think that he is crazy.  His behavior on his show is unlike anything ever seen before on a show, he even has meals on stage.

However, his behavior is the least of the controversy.  If you believe him, you would think that the Obama administration is out to get us all.  On a chalk board on his set, he draws connections between the various government officials and this person or that person, showing what he sees as corruption. 

Despite popular belief, Glenn Beck is not a republican.  He is actually a libertarian, dictionary.com defines libertarian as a noun, meaning, a person who advocates liberty, or, a person who maintains the doctrine of free will.  This is similar to a conservative mindset, but Beck should not be confused as such.

Glenn Beck accuses the administration of, “Chicago style politics,” trying to bring socialism to America, and trying to effectively abolish the rights our constitution gives us.

Now, I am neither confirming or denying anything that he says, merely commenting on his sanity. 

On that note, I must say that I sincerely hope that he is crazy, because if he’s not, we are all in deep trouble.

et cetera