Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Other parties

Look, I fucking hate the two-party system.

I think we should be have serious debate between at least four viewpoints in politics, and more likely something like six, if we were to have anything close to real representation of the range of serious opinions held by our citizenry. There are a whole host of flaws in being limited to two parties, not the least of which is that tends toward making people think there are only two very specific beliefs one can have on issues or solutions one might find to problems.

Multiple parties could cooperate on issues that a majority of Americans agree on, perhaps even come up with new solutions that aren't even on the table in a binary system, while agreeing to disagree on some others. Consider, for instance, how Green Party politicians could work with Libertarians on corporate welfare.

It seems like the true enemy of these third parties, though, is the parties themselves.

As Dan Savage stated, as quoted in Dan Savage on Jill Stein: Just No, "I have a problem with the Greens, I have a problem with the Libertarians. I have a problem with these fake, attention seeking, grandstanding Green/Libertarian party candidates who pop up every four years, like mushrooms in shit, saying that they're building a third party. And those of us who don't have a home in the Republican Party, don't have a home in the Democratic Party, can't get behind every Democratic position or Republican position, should gravitate toward these third parties. And help build a third party movement by every four fucking years voting for one of these assholes like Jill fucking Stein, who I'm sure is a lovely person, she's only an asshole in this aspect.

"If you're interested in building a third party, a viable third party, you don’t start with president. You don't start by running someone for fucking president."

These are people who are using a ton of the resources they have available, in terms of money raised by well-meaning and sincere citizens, as well as the time and effort spent, and are continually not getting anything done.

I've heard of Jill Stein. I've heard of Gary Johnson. Neither of them will be the next president. The only reason either of them even stands to have an affect on the outcome of this election is because of the unprecedented disapproval ratings of both major party candidates this year. Even that won't have any affect on the real potential power of either party going forward.

I don't know who is running in any other race that affects me. In my many years as a voting adult, I have never been confronted by an ad, an interview, a sign or a handshake from a local candidate from a party other than the two one expects. Get people in office all through our government, from local to state and in both houses of congress would have an enormous effect on our real lives.

This is from someone with a strong interest in alternative parties. I would notice and care if I saw these things.

You can say it's my responsibility to ensure I know these things, and I try to pay attention and be aware of them, but most people won't. If these parties are trying to be serious messengers of ideas outside of the two we always get, they are responsible to get them out there.

Right now, presidential candidates are a genuine distraction from getting their job done.

It's not as sexy to elect all of those little people, but it's getting the job done, which all of their current actions do not.

By running for president, these candidates and their parties are just as much a part of keeping the two-party system intact as Trump and Clinton are.

UPDATE: Of course the Green Party had a response to Dan Savage's comments. They were severely underwhelming in reassuring those of us who would love to see alternative parties succeed, but think they are on the wrong path. I considered writing another post, but, of course, How Green Is Her Bullshit: An Uncharacteristically Brief Response to the Green Party Spokesperson's Dishonest Response to My Podcast Rant by Dan Savage beat me to it and said it even better than I could.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Blogging today

If you noticed this, you might be one of the handful of people who has noticed I've gotten back to blogging.

I'm as surprised as anyone.

I have a confession. In a weird way, this is my favorite time blogging, at least since I first starting doing this 12 years ago, at least by the reckoning of my first blogoversary post.

Yep. It's really because no one seems to notice and those that do make hardly any deal of it at all, just like way back then.

I did enjoy that weird zeitgeist when a bunch of us bloggers were all reading each others blogs and commenting and having blog-a-thons. It was fun. It was challenging. It was inspiring. I'm glad it happened, and I had some small part of it.

I don't miss it, though.

There was a weird pressure, though. I never really wanted to be an essayist. I just like having an outlet to release a certain amount of my thoughts into the world. The zeitgeist made everyone think that it was the path to doing something, I guess, bigger. Some part of me grew into thinking that sounded good to me, too, but really, the more it got to that, the less I enjoyed it overall. I'm sad for my friends and fellow bloggers for whom all of that meant a lot, and I know actively miss that time.

That's not enough to make me miss it, though. I like just unloading some thoughts and being about done with it. I'd turn off comments if Blogger had an option to turn off comments and still leave the comments that have already been made. Luckily for me, commenting on blogs seems to become a thing of the past and I don't much have to worry about it as an issue.

I don't know if this little blogging trend will continue. I'm just writing as I think of things. I'm not trying to think of things, just writing them when I do, and apparently that's what I like best.


I reckon I'm, in some way, one of Lindy West's first trolls, back before she took on personal and social issues, and was just reviewing movies for The Stranger. I took issue with some of the writing at the time and wrote about it here.

I amused myself over the idea of her being my arch-nemesis. I'm not sure even then I liked the idea as much as I liked saying it. It's hard to say. Even saying I'd like a an arch-nemesis doesn't seem like much fun to me now.

Of course, I quickly soured on it, because it turns out she's fucking brilliant. Not, mind you, because I'd be intimidated coming up against a brilliant writer, but because it was just so hard to keep coming up with ways to criticize her writing. It's just so damn good. In fact, now I can't bring myself to read the reviews I made fun of, because I'm certain it will just prove I was totally wrong in the first place. I kind of like the idea that I had some kind of point and she was still finding her voice as a writer in those reviews, so there's some room there, but I'm skeptical of myself on this one.

Since then, she's become kind of an icon, including, of course, for her having to deal with jackasses trolling her, and I've continued following her. Mostly quietly, I suppose, but that's only because I've been quieter about most things for a while now.

I just read her book, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, though, and felt the need to say how wonderful it is. It's a funny and charming memoir of the issues she's become famous for, fat acceptance, rape jokes and comedy and internet trolls, all woven through a very thoughtful view of her own life and how it affected her stands, as well as how the stands affected her. It manages to take the voice she's built in her writing and made it fully human.

I just finished it, so I certainly don't have an extensive review to offer. I just wanted to take this opportunity to offer a great big kudos to her for this very smart, funny, touching book.

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