General Question

jcs007's avatar

Is the American Political System really that broken, or are people really that cynical about it?

Asked by jcs007 (1770points) June 29th, 2008

Sites that I usually visit used to praise Obama, complain about Hillary, and completely ignore McCain. After the Democratic primaries wrapped up, it seems as though people are turning on Obama. Are people really that cynical? Is that why voter turn-out is so low compared to other Democracies? Or is it because our political system is truly corrupt?

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10 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I’m that cynical. I can’t trust anyone that gets elected. They want power or money or both. Granted, a small percentage might be actually trying to help, that might be 15%. And those are people working on a local level.

I say they just pick random social security numbers and those people get to give it a try for two years. The President could be an electrician and the Secretary of State could be a stoner. That is a country I would want to live in.

jrpowell's avatar

And ^^^ was not sarcasm.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’ve often thought that the random selection citizens might be a decent alternative to the current electoral process, but then I remember the Jerry Springer Show. I say broken. I think we could do better with a parliamentary system.

Capitalism is destroying democracy. Business and money rule our government, and thus, it is corrupt. Didn’t Marx say something to the effect that the end result of capitalism is communism?

jrpowell's avatar

“Didn’t Marx say something to the effect that the end result of capitalism is communism”

We are starting to see an insane amount of concentration of wealth. My friend Marty owns over 40 houses and he buys more every month. I could see a situation where 10% of the people own 90% of the land. American Idol needs to be really good when it hits that point or people will start to fight back.

edit :: and when Marx says communism he is actually describing something that is a bit closer to socialism. The word was hijacked.

tinyfaery's avatar

jp: ha ha… American Idol. But you are correct. Until the problem “hits us where it really hurts” we will all sit back and watch it unfold.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’d like to apply for citizenship in the United States of johnpowell. Sounds fun.

marinelife's avatar

People are very cynical. However, this is the government that we have. Opting out of the process does not do one thing to improve it—quite the opposite, in fact. I think what is needed is a multi-pronged approach:

1.) Intensive voter registration campaigns in demographic blocks in which people are likely not to be registered. You can’t vote if you aren’t registered.

2.) A pro-voting educational campaign in the schools. Starting in elementary school familiarize students with the process and equipment. Hold mock elections in the schools. Send classes to polling places to observe their teachers voting. Encourage parents to take children to vote. Have childen interview their parents about when they first voted.

3.) A public service campaign showing the privilege of voting and encouraging voting participation.

4.) Streamlining the voter registration process and aligning it with driver’s license and other official (passport application) processes.

As to Obama, what has happened is that now he is the sole official opposition of the Republicans. They have turned their guns on him. He will be in the hot seat from now on.

Knotmyday's avatar

I think the key is to not allow the t.v. to influence your thoughts and actions. Arm yourself with knowledge; stop burdening yourself with rhetoric.

jvgr's avatar

A Government is broken.
B People are cynical (see A)

We can either choose to do something about it, or we can limp along and complain.
Marina has some good suggestions about encouraging people to vote (and the registration process needs to be ripped from the hands of any party. I don’t know why it isn’t just issued when you get a driver’s license renewed at the appropriate age. Issuing a registration doesn’t obligate you to do anything)

I’m concerned about the combination of ignorance + increasing intrusion of Christian fundamentalism with republicans + the growing inflammatory, racist, underclass rhetoric (also republicans) + brand voters.Those aren’t a good combination in the midst of an economic meltdown.

You do not have to vote.
You can vote any way you want.
It makes sense to me that it is in each of our own interests to vote as smartly as we can.

Finally, you do need to keep focused on the people you elect who are closer to you (representative, senate) presidents can do very little to fix anything or change things the way you want unless the congress you elect is in synch with your presidential preference.

To pick an example out of the hat: lots of republicans don’t like Barney Frank. The only voters that matter are in Massachusetts. If the leader you have doesn’t support your concerns, check out the new contenders in the primaries.

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