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On Mon Nov 1, Andy Butler fumed:
....
>the system is so thoroughly controlled,
>manipulated and corrupt that I can't effect MEANINGFUL, RAPID AND
>PERMANENT change within the carefully defined "game lines" that are
> manipulated to their sole advantage by the eixsting players.
> .... reducing the government to total
> impotence is the only chance we have of achieving a decent future.
 
 
 
Well, Andy, as I read this it says, "if I can't get my way, shut the
system down."  You sound very disappointed and bitter, but perhaps you
have had very unrealistic expectations -- as one of > 250 million people,
you yourself *cannot* "effect MEANINGFUL, RAPID AND PERMANENT CHANGE..."
That does not  mean the system is corrupt (though some participants in the
political process may be) or fraudulent or not working.  Indeed, there
is a pretty strong argument that the central government is working
pretty much as designed -- it is *supposed* to be slow, cumbersome,
dependent on compromise among the elected officials.  There is also a
pretty strong argument that the "problem" with Congress is not that it
fails to represent constituent interests, but that it is too slavish
to its perceptions of what those interests are at any given moment to
put issues in perspective over time and to consider the "big picture."
 
This dilemma is inherent in representation but the problem only gets
worse as you increase the number of representatives toward decision
making by direct democracy.  Mechanisms that help individuals define
their common interests seem to work best at the local level in small
communities (e.g., the famed New England town meetings).  Nationally,
our primary mechanism other than elections is TV/advertising.
 
I prefer elections, with all their weaknesses!  But then I'm not trying
to shut the system down.
 
BTW, SteveC is not necessarily naive.  He lives in a state (Vermont)
that is small enough for him to readily meet public officials if he
wants (perhaps it's harder to avoid them?!)-- a state that reinforces
traditional democratic values.
 
OTOH, it sounds like you need to get out of DC to the USA for a while.
Having lived there for 15 years myself, I know the company town/hothouse
atmosphere can distort ones perspective!
 
Deb Snow