Big Doug wrote:
When I wrote that you have representatives in Congress, I mean that you have people that technically do represent you. You are someone's constituent. You're probably right in that they don't represent your particular interests. I'm not sure where you live, so I don't know who you have in Congress. But the point remains the same. You have representatives. You apparently define "represent" in a way that the founders did not. As such, I don't think your use of "no taxation without representation" is really appropriate because it doesn't really represent their view.
And I think it's you that's the idealist here. I think that you have a very unrealistic expectation if you expect that you can elect someone to Congress that will only spend tax dollars on clean water and agriculture. People in Congress, even in districts that are dependent on agriculture have a variety of interest groups to satisfy. For example, I live in Oxnard, California. In this one city, we rely heavily on both agriculture and heavy industry. We also have one of the largest Navy bases in California in a neighboring city (Port Hueneme) and an Air Force base in another (Point Magu). Therefore, if you want to represent Oxnard, you need to represent agricultural, industrial and military interests. And that's not even taking into account that most of us that live here are somewhat socially conservative Democrats and as such there are a lot of religious interest groups to contend with--in particular the Catholic Church. Furthermore, this is a relatively densely populated city. So there are urban interests, which include, of course, clean water concerns. And this is one city. And our Congressional District includes other coastal cities like Santa Barbara that are completely different in terms of their economy, their demographics and social views.
In other words, in order to represent a large group of people, you need to represent a variety of interests. Sometimes these interests are in conflict with one another. Sometimes they can compromise but often it's a zero-sum game. And as a result, the road to winning an election usually involves building a coalition of some interests but leaving out others. Business and labor, for example, usually find themselves on opposing sides in elections. Therefore if one side wins, the other will not be "represented" in the way that you define it. But I think that this is just a necessary result of a republican system. The only way that every voice will be heard is through direct democracy, which is not really a feasible way to do things on a national level. Hell, we do some of that in California with ballot initiatives. But even that, I think, is too much. People end up voting on things, like competing crime and alternative energy bills, that I think are better left to elected representatives who can hear expert testimony and rely on legislative staffs.
So I don't think you can really develop a system that doesn't have this problem. Some people, especially people like you, whose views are only held by a minority of the population, will not find many good choices for representatives. Right now, neither national party is serious about deficit reduction. But right now, I don't think that they should be. We're in a recession. Now isn't the time to worry about deficits. Furthermore, if you want to look at what problems we have and where we're going to need investment, I don't think it's in agriculture. If anything, I think agriculture is overly subsidized. And these subsidies aren't just costly to us in terms of our tax dollars. They hurt developing countries by keeping world food prices artificially low, which makes it difficult for them to compete and thus to grow economically. I think that where the government should be investing is in infrastructure, specifically mass transit, and even more specifically suburb to suburb lines. We should also be looking at alternative energy and health care. And if you're worried about deficits, health care is probably the most serious issue in the long term. Our system currently provides less care to less people than most European systems and costs more. And those costs are only going to go up. So in my view, we need to run up deficits in the short term. We can worry about them when our economy is in better shape. Spending cuts and or tax hikes, which would be needed to balance the budget, are the worse thing we can do right now.
So there you go.
And nah, the Republican Party's looking to do both. Right now they don't represent a coalition that can win on a national level. And my point was really just that if you want to really effect change you need to work within the system, specifically within the major parties. So I offered a suggestion. But that's my view. In any case, we're living in a time where organization is as easy as it's ever been, thanks to the internet and an election where a lot of folks were engaged. Therefore, if you took the initiative, you could realistically organize some folks around your principles and lobby your representatives.
But what do I know? I'm a pretty conventional liberal. So I'm pretty comfortable with my representatives (Lois Capps, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and next month, Barack Obama.)
I live in NE. You are obviously well rehearsed in understanding politics but I seek no greater understanding of it. I do have more issues than just Ag and clean water, issues like Native American initiatives, but representatives, they appoint greedy and corrupt people, and they robbed the Native Americans of billions (remember the Department of Interior burning papers that proved that the Native Americans were owed billions). I understand representatives quite clearly, Big Doug. The difference here is not our understanding of representatives, it is whether or not to continue to trust them. On top of Ag, clean water, and Native American initiatives, I also care about the growing prison population, abortion and NASA spending (we have no interest in moons around Saturn, but I am taxed to help pay for this chasing after wind). I also care about my mother-in-law having to go to Mexico to get alternative, holistic treatment for cancer. Now that I have pointed out more issues that concern me, can you find us a representative? I will not hold my breath.
We are taking initiatives--initiatives that help rebuild bridges between African Americans and Native Americans and all Americans that hear and perceive, initiatives that reform Ag usage and explore more Community Supported Ag, and initiatives that use alternative educations to decrease minority drop-out rates. Yes! We use the system to prepare for life without it. You think I am idealist, but Egypt collapsed and Babylon collapsed and Rome collapsed and America will collapsed, and like those nations before it--it will collapsed because representatives no longer represented their faith, creed and people. So as far as the working within the system is concerned, Big Doug, there is a wonderful document called The Declaration of Independence, and we will use it, because what proof do you still need that you are no longer being represented in this nation. Booker T Washington said freedom through Ag and the Bible says faith, obedience and Ag, and our representatives say it will be better; the latter are well-intentioned fools. However, they do enough to satisfy you, and hopefully, someday they will.
Your explanation was good and I understand your perspective, but it only work for those with misplaced hope. America has been sold to the highest bidder and the highest bidder don't give a damn about what is going on in the Pine Ridge Reservation; don't give a damn about waters children can no longer swim in; don't give a damn about Big Ag Corporations, the one getting your subsidies, squeezing out the local farmers; and don't give a damn about America's increasing infant mortality rate. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same things--voting and trusting representatives and their promises--and expecting different results!
I do not need you to educate me or need you to define what things mean; you come off as un-empathetic and only interested in showing your boxed knowledge; however, I am not WhiteMike, abstract...I am interested in pursuing truth and logic not dependent upon human ideas. I am offering you feelings and you respond with a lecture and a vocabulary lesson. Lets just talk...
By the way, our influence is growing...