January 20th, 2010

happy, funny, cute

Further Further Confusion Confusion

It's a little late at this stage, but just to clarify matters:

Despite previous reports to the contrary, both quelonzia and I will be attending Further Confusion this year.

Quel will be there on Saturday; I will be there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with possible cameos on Thursday night and Monday morning.

Caution: Due to circumstances that should be familiar to anyone who reads this journal regularly, my moods will be erratic. I may be cheerful and energetic; I may be quiet and wistful, I may be irritable and flat-out bitey. I may be all of these things in rapid succession.

I intend to be cliquish. There are a lot of good friends that I only ever see at FC, and my main reason for going this year is to see them.

Warning:
When approaching the dragon, do not initiate hugs. If the dragon is huggable, he will initiate.

Do not skritch the dragon.


Oh, and this does seem to be allergies, after all. I am not Patient Zero!
patriot, veteran, liberal, politics

Fertilizing the Grass Roots

Okay, kids. Politics time.

First: On Elections.

rodant_kapoor just said everything that needs to be said about yesterday's special election in Massachusetts.

Second:On Activism.

I've heard some comments that there's more to participating in democracy than just saying, "I voted; now it's their turn to sort things out."

I really want to do things. I really want to make my voice heard. I really want to do that activism thing.

Unlike Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man", I haven't "passed the age / of consciousness and rightous rage". I just don't know what to do with it.

The only leads I've found in that direction have been canvassing, either door-to-door, on the phone, or stuffing envelopes.

You cannot convince me that this is significant or effective.

I don't treat political solicitors any differently than I do commercial or religious ones. At the door, on my phone or in my mailbox, they are an uninvited intrusion on the sanctity and privacy of my home.

I will politely turn away a political canvasser on my doorstep. I will rather less politely inform an unsolicited caller that I am "not interested". I will briefly glance at political mail to see if the candidate in question expresses views that coincide with my own, and if so, I'll put their name on my list of candidates to consider.

I almost always assume that the claims being made for or against Proposition X or Candidate Y are unreliable, at best, and flat-out lies, at worst. When election time rolls around, I troll the web looking for independent analyses and recommendations, but I don't trust unsolicited opinions.

And this is my reaction for the canvassers that I agree with. I have a hard time believing that this kind of activity is actually going to change anybody's mind.

Am I just stubborn? Am I too cynical to believe that J. Random Doorbell might be swayed by the presentation of reasonable arguments and evidence-based debunkings of misinformation? Or, despite my adherence to Colbert's memorable statement that "Reality has a well-known liberal bias", am I too cynical to believe that "my side" will provide me that kind of good, solid data to present?

Am I just an antisocial jerk who likes to hang up on people and slam doors in their face?

Really, are independent voters any more eager to have zealots idealists concerned citizens pounding on their door or ringing them up in the middle of dinner or the latest episode of Supernatural than Your Obedient Serpent is?

Heck, if I were an "independent" rather than a liberal technocrat, I'd probably wind up voting for the party that bothered me the least.

I suppose this boils down to two questions:

One, are my door-slamming habits atypical?

Two, what kinds of "grass-roots activity" are out there that don't include pestering the neighbors?


outrage

Life In These Untidy States: The Johnson Grip

A lot of people keep defending President Obama's mediocre track record on progressive causes,* citing the close margin he has, and occasionally even acknowledging that he can't even rely on his own party members in Congress.

bradhicks points out that Roosevelt, Johnson, and every other President who managed to accomplish anything of lasting significance faced the same kind of opposition, but knew how to use the power, prestige, and clout of the Chief Executive of the United States to get shit done.

The ones who didn't?

They didn't accomplish jack shit, for any cause, progressive or otherwise.

This is not the change I voted for.


*Most of his defenders also ignore his reprehensible track record in sustaining and expanding frankly regressive causes, including some of the worst stances of the Bush Junta on privacy, security, and copyright law, just to name a few.