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11:58 AM on 11/12/12 
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jawstheme
I'm not here. This isn't happening.
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Pennsylvania
Male - 28 Years Old
I don't know anyone who is hailing Obama's re-election as a triumph in humanity. Nor is this "a simple question." If we're going to be making hypotheticals, I could as easily say this kid's neighbor, had he not been droned, would have blown up a building himself and killed hundreds of children just like this boy.

Sorry, but you can't dumb down an entire presidential election to a single casualty of a single issue, especially when every viable alternative would have done the same thing.

Had legions of Obama's supporters rushed to a third party candidate on the (likely mistaken) belief that they would cease the drone program, what would have happened was Romney would win. Then we'd have more drone strikes in more countries like he promised we would. On top of that it would set human rights campaigns in our own country back ten years.

So no, I don't feel bad about re-electing Obama.

With that said, the drone thing is being completely ignored in mainstream America, and that definitely needs to change. It's an extremely inconvenient thought, so people ignore it rather than change it. I think with enough pressure from the people, Obama would pull back on the drone program. Luckily for him, we won't even try.

What hypothetical are you referring to? Its not a hypothetical that innocent children are being murdered as a result of this drone war. You're hypothetical is pretty ridiculous though, and would be hugely offensive to someone who's relative or friend was killed as a result of US drone strikes. Nor is it unreasonable to be morally opposed to such a thing in a way that the "single issue" is enough to abstain from voting at all.

The point of the article is that the Obama win isn't a cause for celebration. The article made your points (that one candidate may very well be better than the other in many areas), and understood that view as perfectly reasonable. And I think its a valid point considering half my friends went out and celebrated the Obama victory and half my Facebook feed was full of gloating (the other half was full of things about how this is the end of America).
12:11 PM on 11/12/12 
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jawstheme
I'm not here. This isn't happening.
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Pennsylvania
Male - 28 Years Old


There was a period under Bush when the pro-war sentiment, among both the right and the left, probably had not been as strong as since WWII. So immediately your assessment is questionable. Your statement also seems to imply, if taken to its logical conclusion, that we should make things as terrible as possible for the American people so that they fight more bitterly, which is quite a dangerous position to take.


The pro-war sentiment is a little unfair of a comparison since this was the biggest attack on american soil in history and everyone was rallying behind the nation.

And I think the point is that with Bush at least the left knew that they had to fight. With Obama they assume he has similar interest but he often caves or even proposes legislation that cuts social safety nets and intrudes on civil and human rights. Meanwhile the left can place the blame on the right without fighting where responsibility lies, in part at least.
01:01 PM on 11/12/12 
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crackedthesky
cause when I fly solo I fly so high
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Gladstone, MO
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What hypothetical are you referring to? Its not a hypothetical that innocent children are being murdered as a result of this drone war. You're hypothetical is pretty ridiculous though, and would be hugely offensive to someone who's relative or friend was killed as a result of US drone strikes. Nor is it unreasonable to be morally opposed to such a thing in a way that the "single issue" is enough to abstain from voting at all.

The point of the article is that the Obama win isn't a cause for celebration. The article made your points (that one candidate may very well be better than the other in many areas), and understood that view as perfectly reasonable. And I think its a valid point considering half my friends went out and celebrated the Obama victory and half my Facebook feed was full of gloating (the other half was full of things about how this is the end of America).

I was referring to the article he posted using hypotheticals to appeal to the emotions:


But I didn't mean to put that much emphasis on that part of the article. Of course this happens and innocent people die and we need to be doing something about this, and like I said, talking about it (such as in this article) is a very good first step.

Should have been clearer, my bad. In my defense, I had just woken up haha.
07:10 PM on 11/12/12 
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Love As Arson
Resident Marxist
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The Motherland
Male - 29 Years Old
Well the treatment of Nader was precisely the result of a Bush victory, which only goes to show that the left needs to be strategic about, on the one hand, supporting a proper third-party candidate and, on the other hand, about when and where to vote for that candidate.
Let it be said that studies have been done to demonstrate that Nader did not cost Al Gore the election. Rather, it was the Supreme Court and the lack of enthusiasm on the part of democrats to speak for the disenfranchised voters in the state of Florida. They did need a scapegoat and Nader served that purpose. The other purpose it serves is, as you say, a warning of what can happen when we do not vote for democrats. There is something to be said about strategy, but the question then arises: if this is the strategy, and the focus is on that strategy, then what room is there for debate of the DNC's policies, about third parties and at what point it is time to walk away from the DNC. There is a point at which the strategy becomes an end unto itself rather than a means to achieve anything broader.

But nevermind that, because the changing of Democratic policies can result (slowly) as they see support for third parties rising and/or various social movements gaining traction, which can occur simultaneously with a Democratic victory over Republicans.
Or, alternatively, there can be change with republicans in power over democrats. To use Nixon as an example again, he was to the left of Obama in domestic policy. This was not because he had a fundamentally different view of the world than Obama, rather, it was because the social upheaval had produced a political context favorable to left-of-center policies.


As an aside, I also think you underestimate just how little support the far left has in the United States.
I don't expect most Americans to have a familiarity with The Communist Manifesto. However, if we were to take a poll with regard to, say, the strength of unions, the availability of health care, their opinions about war, whether civilian deaths are acceptable, or whether social programs should be on the table, and so on, I think one would be surprised with the overlap between the views of someone like myself and the general public.


There was a period under Bush when the pro-war sentiment, among both the right and the left, probably had not been as strong as since WWII.
I would argue that this is a product of the dichotomous political system. Bush advocated war, the democrats acquiesced and the boundaries of acceptable discourse were therefore set.


I don't mean to deny that electoral politics can undermine social movements or mobilization at times, but your initial post suggested that its very function necessarily results in the de-mobilization of all such movements, which is simply not true--otherwise no social movements would ever occur, as they would all be de-mobilized every two years.
Those which thrived are those who saw the movement as outside of the electoral politics. There is a reason that the anti-war movement failed, while the immigrants rights movement fundamentally changed the debate: one was wedded to the electoral system, the other was outside of that realm and forced both to concede.

I don't have a genuine disagreement here, but I would add that, while it may be helpful to take the time to explain to someone why you're, for instance, not voting, it's unlikely to change the general view people have that to not vote stems from political apathy. That is, they will place you, the principled non-voter, into a special mental category, while the vast majority of other non-voters will be kept in their original category in which they are ascribed the trait of political apathy.
And I think we need to examine why people do not vote. I would say it is because the system has become ossified and like myself and others, they do not see a genuine pathway to make their lives better.
02:16 AM on 11/13/12 
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bung
Peel slowly and see
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Minneapolis, MN
Male - 26 Years Old
The pro-war sentiment is a little unfair of a comparison since this was the biggest attack on american soil in history and everyone was rallying behind the nation.

And I think the point is that with Bush at least the left knew that they had to fight. With Obama they assume he has similar interest but he often caves or even proposes legislation that cuts social safety nets and intrudes on civil and human rights. Meanwhile the left can place the blame on the right without fighting where responsibility lies, in part at least.

Of course it's unfair, but it instantly refutes the idea that the left were somehow "bitterly fighting" against war and now they’re supporting or ignoring it or something because Obama took office. And I understood what he was saying, which is why I took the point to its logical conclusion.

Let it be said that studies have been done to demonstrate that Nader did not cost Al Gore the election. Rather, it was the Supreme Court and the lack of enthusiasm on the part of democrats to speak for the disenfranchised voters in the state of Florida. They did need a scapegoat and Nader served that purpose. The other purpose it serves is, as you say, a warning of what can happen when we do not vote for democrats. There is something to be said about strategy, but the question then arises: if this is the strategy, and the focus is on that strategy, then what room is there for debate of the DNC's policies, about third parties and at what point it is time to walk away from the DNC. There is a point at which the strategy becomes an end unto itself rather than a means to achieve anything broader.

There is definitely a point at which we must walk away from the Democrats, assuming their policies don't change significantly, that is. Was it this election? No, I don't think so. Even in non-swing states third-party candidates get paltry support. The left (I mean the left as distinct from the Democratic Party, here) has no strategy, and so they have nothing to implement. I see nothing good, however, resulting from a strategy that allows the Republicans to gain power and momentum.

Quote:
Or, alternatively, there can be change with republicans in power over democrats. To use Nixon as an example again, he was to the left of Obama in domestic policy. This was not because he had a fundamentally different view of the world than Obama, rather, it was because the social upheaval had produced a political context favorable to left-of-center policies.

Yes, social upheavals can change the political context, and this could happen while either a Democrat or Republican is president. But what reason is there to think that such an upheaval, in favor of the left, is somehow more likely under a Republican? It could just as well cause a more massive Tea Party-like movement.

Quote:
I don't expect most Americans to have a familiarity with The Communist Manifesto. However, if we were to take a poll with regard to, say, the strength of unions, the availability of health care, their opinions about war, whether civilian deaths are acceptable, or whether social programs should be on the table, and so on, I think one would be surprised with the overlap between the views of someone like myself and the general public.

It would depend on how you frame the question. Put it broadly enough--should healthcare be available to everyone, should there be extensive social programs, etc.--then the left and the right will agree. They just differ about where those things should come from. Although, mention anything about raising taxes, and I think people will show where their loyalties lay.

Quote:
I would argue that this is a product of the dichotomous political system. Bush advocated war, the democrats acquiesced and the boundaries of acceptable discourse were therefore set.

I don't think the dichotomous political system helped, but I would more agree with jawstheme here.

Quote:
Those which thrived are those who saw the movement as outside of the electoral politics. There is a reason that the anti-war movement failed, while the immigrants rights movement fundamentally changed the debate: one was wedded to the electoral system, the other was outside of that realm and forced both to concede.

Well gay marriage was a part of Obama's platform, and that overwhelmingly succeeded. Marijuana legalization was outside electoral politics and that succeeded. I see confirmation bias in your position and the continued untenability of single-variable, unilateral causation.

Quote:
And I think we need to examine why people do not vote. I would say it is because the system has become ossified and like myself and others, they do not see a genuine pathway to make their lives better.

Which is no doubt partially true. But, although it's a cliché, there are a lot of people who don't vote because they literally don't follow politics and just don't care, among other things. According to the 2010 Census Bureau survey, reasons people give for not voting are "Too busy" (26.6%), "Not interested" (16.4%), "Illness or disability" (11.3%), "Out of town" (9.2%), and "Forgot to vote" (8.0%). "Don't like candidates or the issues" and "Other" came in at 8.6% and 9.0%, respectively. I repeat my conviction that every social phenomenon necessarily involves more than one variable.

Anyway, I feel I've said my piece, and have reached my critical threshhold for multi-quotes, so you may respond to my replies, but I'll likely read it and be done.
02:50 PM on 11/14/12 
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Love As Arson
Resident Marxist
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The Motherland
Male - 29 Years Old
Just to respond to a couple of points, I think you are correct with regard to some of the strategies employed by the left and I think that is precisely my point: we need to not be fractured by electoral politics and unite in order to achieve political hegemony, both ideologically and materially. The success of gay marriage occured in spite of the efforts of the democratic party, not because of their support. If we look back just few short years ago, there were few in support of it, including Obama. As for your stats, I do not question them, but I think the question then becomes, if this is so important in terms of our political futures, then what is happening that people feel other things are more important. Obviously, there are economic, familial and other reasons, all of which are valid, to not go to the voting booth and I think that is demonstrative of its inadequacy.
09:13 PM on 11/14/12 
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lockedheart
some nights
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Brussels, BE
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Don't get me started on drones.

American politics have largely become a disgusting, human rights-disregarding spectacle, across the aisle.
12:24 AM on 11/15/12 
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xtinataguba
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06:34 PM on 11/17/12 
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mattmatumbo
ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ
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Oh, that's what was happening.

As I mentioned in the other thread, this is part of the reason I didn't vote. There was no real choice to make.

I also didn't vote. For similar reasons, I suspect.
08:25 PM on 11/27/12 
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swampthingordie
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02:22 PM on 11/29/12 
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thursday727
Happy Bo-rthday
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Wick City, FL
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wow Love As Arson making a thread that i agree with, who'd of thought?
At least this is one point Libertarians and Socialists can agree on.



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