A Baseless, Outsider's Perspective on the United States 47 replies

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Sheepeep VIP Member

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#1 10 years ago

Pretty much anyone who kept in contact with me since I stopped being truly active here will have likely heard me ramble about my opinions on how the US runs. For that reason, pretty much anyone will know that I don't exactly hold it in high regard, but that's nothing new nowadays. I thought I would post my opinions here, purely as opinions, because I am curious of how they tally with those inside the US, and those who are more informed than I am about how the internal situation actually works. I would like to invite you to refute, expand upon, or perhaps even agree with these points and present them as opinion rather than fact.

Note that I have no issue with US people, before anyone even tries that line. I assure you, it won't sit well for a number of reasons. If you need to question that, I suspect you lack the introspectiveness to present your thoughts and opinions on this correctly. I appreciate the hypocrisy in making a factless set of accusations and then requesting that you don't attempt to make this one, but c'est la vie.

The "Two Party" System

For many of my governmental comparisons, I will have to rely on similarities between the United Kingdom and the United States. Failing that, my only real knowledge of government comes from philosophical ideals of governmental rule, nonetheless, here is my justification for the invalidity of the two party system.

A two party system is quite obviously limiting to the voter, but I believe it to be somewhat limiting to the parties, too. It does not allow the parties to hold true to their ideals *and* hope to be elected. Rather than have a left-wing, right-wing argument, the US has a "Why Democrats are" and "Why Republicans are". For this reason, the general voter will not be swayed by ideals, but rather for/against a specific party.

Similarly, parties in this situation are more likely to end up centrist. Let us say that party A does something which proves popular with the American public, in order to maintain the voter strength, party B must attempt to do the same with the possible quirk of doing it better. Each party's actions have both moved... In the same direction. Eventually and theoretically, assuming this were to continue, both would end up at the same point. This could be slightly left-wing, or slightly right-wing, but the net result would be a single party in two flavours.

Aligning Oneself with a Political Party

With this in mind, I have to ask how any member of the United States can truly say "I am a [party]", when the definition of the party's ideals are quite subject to change. Furthermore, I have to wonder how someone doing this can imply "I agree with what this party is doing, has done, will do, and will continue to do". Labelling oneself in such a way is, in my honest opinion, degrading. I find it very difficult to accept that over 50% of the US population* fits into a single category of beliefs beyond "I am somewhat human".

This brings me to another point that I have to query regarding the inner-workings of the United States. I have to admit, I have no idea how this works in my country and already admitted to being inadequately-qualified to tell an entire country how to go about their voting procedure. Nonetheless... Registering to vote as a [party member]? I've been told while discussing this that it isn't necessary in "some states", "any more" (Any more = Paraphrase). That still implied to me that in some places, it is necessary, which might be the most unappealing part of the entire system to me. I can't imagine that I'm the first person to see a number of inherent flaws in this:

- After doing some looking, I can find barely any entry requirements to vote in a party's primaries, which sounds like a good way for members of another party to find ways of sabotaging things (After all, a person does not have to be in a party to do its work, by even my ideals). By causing enough dissent in party A, party B can hamper their election chance before things have even begun.

- Has anyone ever thought of a better way of determining who will win the election before it's even begun. If you refute point 1 by saying that only a statistically small percentage of people will vote, then you must acknowledge that anyone with access to tally the number of people registered to vote with a party alignment will have a very good idea of who will win the coming election.

Counting of Votes * This is another thing that I cannot agree with. I'm not sure if in the UK we use regions or not, but either way it goes against so much of what I can personally approve of. The United States system ignores the popular vote. The implications of which, when expanded upon, become quite worrying.

In a worst case scenario, even if absolutely no people in 24 states vote for paty A, party A can still win if 26 more people in the other states vote for them. This could never happen outside of a very freak civil cold war, but it is an accurate demonstration of how drastic the popular vote is allowed to differ from the final result. I appreciate that out of convenience, things are sorted by state, but what exactly would be wrong with the total votes being counted as opposed to a switch that lights either "Democrat" or "Republican"? I wasn't aware voting had to be a binary process.

So I have to ask, why are the United States using the same voting system as the Eurovision Song Contest? It seems improper that individual states are being treated as separate countries, when there is no recognised law that disunites the United States into a series of individually recognised countries. Until there is, I fail to see how this structure can be legitimately used. At the point in which such a law is made, the title of President of the United States will become redundant due to individual ruling bodies.

Further Speculation

Funding in the United States seems to have taken a wrong turn. The United States Federal Budget of 2008 has given $481Bn to the Department of Defence, $145Bn to the Glboal War on Abstract Concepts (Terror) and $34Bn to the Department of Homeland Security. This gives them a total of $660Bn to things that can be directly associated with military forces. This is equivalent to taking every active and reserve officer and giving them $230 000 for that year. In the meantime, the United States public school system received $56Bn, this is equivalent to taking every student and giving them $73 for that year. Somewhere along the line, something doesn't make sense.

Things especially don't make sense to me when the national education budget is $862Bn, which would add up to about $1125 per student, or about $3 per day if that seems reasonable. By these figures, it is equivalent to saying that the United States pays for every child's school lunch.

NASA, devoted to finding out all we can about the universe amongst other things, receives a total of $17Bn, about 2.5% of the defence budget without doing any more calculation with Wikipedia figures. So one must assume that this is the amount of money that the United States is willing to put into research, and remove that from the $660Bn to create $653Bn. This still would end up as giving every recruit in the United States military far more than could ever be necessary, so where does the money go?

This is where things get a bit hazy, but considering the picture that is being painted and the public knowledge of the state of United States public schools (Who squander the money they get according to the sources against, so let's take that too) and we have some very worrying implications: Don't Think Society(tm).

Note: Easily debunked conspiracy theories begin after this point, which you may read if you enjoy late-night horror stories. These points don't need refuting, they're merely posted as possible implications, so read this with a giggle and a grain of salt, I guess.

Don't Think Society is a term I shall coin for a state of society that does not think, it merely acts upon. This sounds like a tall tale, and perhaps it is, but with a corrupt voting system then one can see the advantage of not having an educated populace.

By not having the education necessary to paint a larger picture, to continuously "Buy American", and to reject anything that comes from outside its borders, the system could easily be maintained. By filtering the school system to encourage the two-party system and encourage people to hold true to it, only a certain character type is likely to enter office for the United States.

Before one gets ahead of oneself, the role of President must now be considered. In simplicity, aside from diplomatic and various internal matters, the President fills the role of he who has the final say. Documents arrive on his desk from advisors, and the decision is made based on reports. At each point along the line, there are now numerous chances for corruption in the system to present itself in either direction, with similar motives in mind. This is something that can happen, and likely does happen, in all countries around the world to varying degrees, but my focus here is very much the United States.

- A president can send a request for information back down the chain of command, with very leading questions. To give a theoretical example, "Prove that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction". I have no idea how long such a request could be, but agenda could very easily be placed into it, or just as bad, misinterpretation.

- From this, or even independently of this, misleading advice can be sent to the President to influence his decision. This can cause the first point, or be a result of it.

Assuming this, the most influential position in the United States is not presidency, but being a chief advisor to the presidency. After all, one acts upon the information which they believe to be true, and it would only make sense that the information from a chief advisor is seen to be true. A similar position over the public exists in the form of the media, and it would take very few people to maintain control of the popular opinion. With this in mind, as few as twenty people could realistically control as much as 80% of the opinion of the United States, with similar totals for other parts of the world.

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I appreciate that I've written a lot, followed by a fair bit of speculation, possibly without explaining a key step in my thought process, and perhaps ignoring a blatant fact. I would appreciate anyone's input on this, because I don't doubt that there are people who have a very different view of the United States than I do, and I would be interested to hear what people think of what has become a rather long essay. I believe I have covered everything I had in mind, and will probably be around after I wake up to see who thinks I've gone nuts. :)




book VIP Member

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#2 10 years ago

Nothing to see here, please move along...

You baseless outsider you!




Dragonelf68

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#3 10 years ago

Could you summerize that please? I don't have time to read it.


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Sheepeep VIP Member

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#4 10 years ago
Dragonelf68;4170617Could you summerize that please? I don't have time to read it.

Uh, a bit, kinda... I'll try. There are reasons I didn't make a short post.

- The election system is flawed - A two-party system is biased - The US needs some serious funding readjustment - In the end, who is in power isn't likely to matter, so long as the same information is being fed.




homo sine domino

 

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#5 10 years ago

I agree pretty much (not a U.S. citizen).

Dragonelf68;4170617Could you summerize that please? I don't have time to read it.

:uhh:




Dragonelf68

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#6 10 years ago

Hey, what can I say tyrannicida? I'm a 13 year old with adhd. Now back on topic. I don't really agree with that, though I can't really give any justified opinion because I haven't lived with a diffrent system, If I've even lived with a diffrent system, long enough to experience it. But yes, our goverment is flawed in some ways. One is that dishonesty is a requirement :p. But if you look, you can see that we make up for those flaws with the system of checks and balances.


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Flodgy

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#7 10 years ago
Dragonelf68;4170617Could you summerize that please? I don't have time to read it.

Uhm.. This is the Pub mate, you come here for intelligent discussions, and if you don't have the patience for reading such posts. Then politely GTFO. :nodding:

On the other hand, agreed pretty much with everything there sheep. Although, once again getting sick of the whole "lets bash America in someway" type of thread.




Exploder

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#8 10 years ago

Well, that's a fine and thorough evaluation. I think the sad thing is that the system is unlikely to change.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#9 10 years ago

Interesting thread with lots of work invested in it. I recommend it for the Fancy-stamp of approval.

I agree with most of the points and what worries me most about them is that the consequence seems to be a state with an illusionary democracy that is in fact ruled by those with rich men. If we want to be ruled by a few politicians who are in turn controlled by a somewhat larger number of influential people why don't we make sure that those in charge are at least qualified and replace the virtual democracy with a real technocracy?

As for the budget, I really dislike that organizations like NASA have to scrap some promising projects, the research of what lies outside of our little atmosphere always seemed to me one of the best aspects of the US that has motivated a lot of people to study difficult subjects. I guess with the mess we have today in Iraq and Afghanistan it is necessary to spend lots of money, but it doesn't seem quite right to make those people rich who were probably a factor behind those wars in the first place.

Maybe what the US (and other countries too) needs is some form of accountability for politicians. Let's apply the death penatly to politicians whose short-sighted actions result in the death of many innocents and throw those in prison who fail to improve education of average citizens. We would also need an effective punishment for whenever a politician abuses his power by lying to the public.




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#10 10 years ago

Stop the press ! Kill fox network reporters ! Shoot Mr Bush ! Kick scientoligy out of your country ! Hell kick Tom Cruize out while ya there ~! Ban everything ! Sensor all TV that comes out of ya country ! Give everyone a gun ! LOL ! l agree with fancypants death penalty for pollies, hahaha, recon they'd be lining up as fast ?They would take a union pretty serious wouldnt they...