S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How did we get to where we are?

It was a heart-warming win, finally, in the Republican primary in South Carolina for John McCain. Senator McCain won because he is brave, resilient and a very hard worker. Yesterday we also saw that Nev[a]dans (as in "cat") held their weird caucuses, with Senators Clinton and Obama both winning something. Senator Clinton won the popular caucus vote count because she is brave, resilient and a very hard worker. Senator Obama won the most local delegates, by some accounts, because he, too, is brave, resilient and a very hard worker.

The business of running for the office of the next President of the United States demands just such qualities from its participants. The other part of this dynamic equation is we, the voters, who need the very same qualities named in the candidates.

Voters need to be brave. A number of the more thoughtful pundits have pointed out that we have a number of different winners in the contests completed so far. And the reason is that voters are avoiding the "band wagon" approach to casting their ballots. They hold their individual votes dear and seem to vote for whom they truly prefer, rather than any perceived winner of the most current horse race. Noticing this, some of the pundits are exercising a bit of self discipline by not making future predictions, particularly prior to polls closing.

Voters need resilience to make the primary season work properly for the country, particularly in states that have the situation common to Michigan and Florida (unseated delegates). We need to avoid being stampeded by any force that does not pertain to picking whom is best for the job of President. This is a very hard stance to maintain because it is tempting to vote for whom is the most electable or the most popular in the polls. It won't be long until Super Duper/Tsunami Tuesday when 24 states will hold primaries and caucuses. And then the dynamics may change for us. If any one candidate looks to be the one who will inevitable win the requisite number of delegates to win at the party convention, all bets are off for the rest of the year.

That is when the rest of us voters need to work hard at casting a vote that counts. There are several things we each can do as individuals. We can work to get out the vote in our state's primary. We can study the candidates' positions on the issues and cast our ballots based on that factor. We can make our voices heard regarding the voting process. Working towards a fair and valid vote count helps. Writing to the mainstream media to try to get better coverage helps. Some of us write political blogs. The hardest work in the current climate, however will be to respect the other side's views. Efforts towards finding common ground are hard. But our nation needs all our help to get back to sanity. It is taking us eight years to become this crazy; it will not change overnight, but change it must. The overly partisan atmosphere is just poisonous.

How did we get to where we are? Both Democrats and Republicans played their parts. Republicans opposed Bill Clinton and Democrats opposed our current president (OCP). It has been festering for 16 years. In my opinion, one of Barack Obama's most attractive qualities is his apparent willingness to reach across the political aisle. And I believe that Hillary Clinton has that same capacity, though it is not well articulated.

My news resource references used for today's post:

  • Memeorandum has many of the stories from above. How this very interesting aggregator works was explained by its founder, Gabe Rivera, in 2005 here.

  • Wikipedia was founded by Jimmy Wales and launched in January of 2001 as a voluntary community encyclopedia that counts very heavily on the honor system.

  • Bloglines is listed by Time Magazine as one its "50 Coolest Websites." It is a powerful and user friendly news aggregator par excellence. I like its feature that lets me save stories as unread for later. Bloglines says it "was founded in 2003 by Mark Fletcher, the former CEO of ONElist (acquired by Yahoo! in 2000 and now operating as Yahoo! Groups)."

  • Netvibes was "founded in 2005 by Tariq Krim; Netvibes has offices in Paris, London and San Francisco." According to the intro, "Netvibes pioneered the personalized startpage, an alternative to traditional Web portals. With millions of users in more than 150 countries, Netvibes lets individuals assemble all in one place their favorite websites, blogs, email accounts, social networks, search engines, instant messengers, photos, videos, podcasts, widgets, and everything else they enjoy on the Web."

  • The Reaction is a community of liberal bloggers where I regularly cross post. It was founded March 29, 2005, by Canadian Michael J.W. Stickings.

  • Blogowogo, according to Quantcast, " This site reaches approximately 35,313 U.S. monthly uniques." People authorize their own blogs to send an RSS feed this "people powered blog directory. . . . This site is our attempt to make sense of the Blogosphere. Not only do we aggregate blog entries from a wide variety of bloggers, but we also enable the audience to vote on their favorite posts. By analyzing the votes of confidence of our readers, it becomes apparent which blogs shine."

View my current slide show about the Bush years, "Millennium," at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

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LaPopessa said...

Voters need stamina and hope. Mostly hope that by the time their turn is up to vote, that Super Tuesday hasn't reduced their choices to ... well, no choice.

Just once I'd like to live in an area where my vote actually meant something and I wasn't just trying to rationalize which of the left over folks was most in tune with my brain.

Carol Gee said...

Me, too, lapopessa.
I guess the best we can do is to honor the earlier choices made by our Democratic counterparts in other states.
I guess you could frame that as a kind of bizarre "representative government." They represent us.
Michigan and Florida found out the dire consequences of wanting to do something about it.
Thanks for your comment.