A little political rant for apolitical people, and why Social Security is awesome.


From my Bicycle Casino days to currently living in the Sawtelle neighborhood of West Los Angeles, I've been lucky enough to live among a population of recent immigrants and expatriates who are pretty disaffected from the American political process. I say "lucky" because it takes an outsider's perspective to see how hyper-jaded and ridiculous we suburban American-born Americans (yes, amazed guy at the bar whose mother was born in Germany, I am mathematically more American than you by generations of family residence) are about politics.

It's totally understandable why some people don't vote. Both parties are corrupt and voting is rigged. Only a Democrat or Republican will ever get to be President. But it's irksome to think that some people don't vote because they think the two parties are so in cahoots that it makes no difference whether Obama or Romney gets to be President. It makes a big difference. 

I have a very simple/stupid understanding of how U.S politics works. Traditionally, Democrats believe in big government and Republicans like small government. Democrats believe in taxes that pay for the government's ability to do things. Republicans prefer less taxes so that the people will have more money/freedom to sort themselves out without government involvement. 

These are both good, arguable ideas. It's just that recently the Republicans have gone totally nuts, and instead of campaigning on any political ideas, they roll out with, well, this instead:

a) We have no ideas. 
b) We are boring the shit out of people with our total lack of ideas for improving life in the U.S.A.**
c) We keep saying "Tax cuts" because it sounds like an idea, but is actually just one of 10 not-thought-out things written on a little notecard along with "God" and "Probably not into gay marriage."
d) Instead of ideas, we will get the bored people's attention by spewing hate and being weird.

George Bush, the last Republican president, exemplified this non-platform. He pretty much destroyed the country, except for all the rich people.

OK, Obama is not the greatest ever (I happen to think he's pretty great) but the single most compelling reason I can think of to vote, to participate in American democracy. is that Obama is WAY better than the last guy, and the current guy, and any other guy the Republicans are currently peddling. 

It doesn't matter if Obama is in fact only average. Because Mitt Romney would be awful. Sitting through a flawed movie is better than getting punched repeatedly in the face. Especially if both things are going to take four years.

Here's an argument for the left/Democrat way of looking at things, today, on the 77th anniversary of the Social Security Act.

It used to be in America that the biggest percentage of poor people were the elderly. Then, in the Great Depression, they came up with Social Security, and fixed that problem. Now we can't even remember, or even picture, a large number of poor elderly people in America. Because there was a problem, and the government created a program that fixed it. In fact, vanished it almost completely. Yeah, that really happens!

In the late 90's, America had a surplus, and jobs were falling off of trees. I know 'cause I had like three jobs, and I majored in the humanities. Unfortunately, it's hard to remember this prosperity now. Why? Because somehow George Bush got into office, CUT TAXES FOR RICH PEOPLE, and the country is now in deficit, decline, deep shit.

So whenever someone cynically suggests that it makes no difference which way you vote, I think of George Bush destroying the country except for rich people; and when they say our problems are too massive to be fixed, I like to remind people about Social Security.

**At the risk of harping on well-covered territory, but in the interests of NOT FORGETTING, here are the other things that Bush and the last Republican leadership did that are extremely worse than anything Democratic leadership could or would do, but very like the things Mitt would probably do. 
- Went to war in Iraq for no big reason, killing many people, helping oil company profits a lot.
- Didn't particularly care when a hurricane almost destroyed New Orleans.
- Told the kids that America should be an "ownership society," like how the Southern states in the 1850s was a totally awesome ownership society.
- Helped big banks turn America into a home de-ownership society.
- Unless of course you were already rich and got one of those aforementioned tax cuts/bailouts, leaving you with tons of extra money to buy a 3rd house on the cheap from some guy who can't afford it anymore.
- However, they did at least sort out definitively that two people of the same sex attempting to get married is a hugely important issue that affects everyone. 

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