REGARDING AN ARTICLE
Fellow Americans, and any others who care to immerse themselves in my petty ramblings: I read an e-mail article backed by a 25-page paper that got me thinking. My first reaction is, this person is seeing what they choose to see. It is a somewhat free country, so I think Elliott has that right. But his analysis makes an unintentional mockery of the complexity of the data, IMHO. He distills MASSIVE amounts of numbers into glittering generalities (I know he doesn’t see it that way, but the paper lacks enough detail for me to truly map his diatribe to numbers that are solidly representative of his various theorems).
Am I saying this because I am a Republican and he is a Democrat? Probably, although I cannot say the Republicans are the problem solvers… politically, I cannot say EITHER of the 2 dominant parties are the problem solvers. All I see is a country that has lived in an artificially ever-increasing financial fantasy land, fueled by debt, off-shore outsourcing, and exporting of US capability and ingenuity. We…you and I, as American citizens who could, at any time, have motioned to fix the system, have enjoyed (apparently) the spoils of this artificial scenario. Now we get to endure the consequences that come with it.
I AM GUILTY
I think my party preference has been founded on ignorance for, well, decades now! I think there needs to be more mass behind a larger number of parties, but I think it all tracks back to fear and ignorance. People want their vote to count, so they are too scared to be anything other than a Republican or a Democrat. But truth is, if we spent a chunk of time each week studying our government, volunteering to maintain it, and learning the true platforms on which candidates stand…we’d be free to vote based on a much better quantitative foundation (or at least a better qualitative one). As a quick example – I don’t know a person alive who WANTS to go to jury duty, yet it is actually an honor that is bestowed upon us. Our government allows its PEOPLE to participate in the judicial process, for folks to be tried by peers. I don’t do enough to invest in my country, or shape its government. I am guilty of that, even if I do go to jury duty!
SEX, LIES, AND POLITICAL PARTIES
So, I know this article is in favor of the Democratic party, but for me to read this and become a Democrat would take no effort. It would be a repetition of what made me move from being an Independent to being a Republican (I ran the same type of research this paper did, so I could trash Republicans for their defense spending in 1987…and what I found was a Democratically lead Tsunami of spending for social programs dating back to the 40s, that DWARFED the money spent on defense). Was my data any more or less accurate then compared to this data now? Will either of us really know the truth behind the statistics? I mean, if I have learned one thing about stats…I worked with statistician at a previous employer, and you can FIND a formula that will DO what you want with the data… if you don’t like the answer, change the formula! So, numbers can lie as well as politicians.OTHER FACTORS
The other thing I wonder about this data is the P/PC principle. See the Seven Habits materials for a definition, but basically paraphrased: say, in the corporate world, a manager steps into a roll in a factory and makes everyone work 50 hours a week 6 days a week, refuses to do maintenance on any of the equipment. His numbers roll in, and man he looks great…what AMAZING MARGINS. He gets promoted, and the next manager inherits run-down equipment on its last leg, and employees that are ready to kill each other, they are so angry with the working conditions. As the new manager works to fix the machines, and improve internal morale, the stock takes a hit because margins are so bad. Meanwhile in the boardroom, they talk about how the new manager obviously is not as talented as the one they promoted.
So, is it possible that no matter which party was in control, they each were hung out to dry for a predecessor’s abuse of the system?
And if the equation still isn’t fun enough, add this: The US is a big boat, and to see a “plan” through can take 10-20 years… ever steer a big boat? I got to steer a tour boat when I was 12, and you literally would make corrections to the steering for where you wanted to be 1-2 minutes in the future. Now, imagine the Queen Mary II. Now. . . imagine the United States Government and how screwed up it must be with all these steering corrections every 2-4 years. So between the P/PC principle, the “boat steering effect”, corporate greed leeching its own future revenue via credit (the leaders of today have basically stolen from the leaders of tomorrow, so it is more P/PC at work), outsourcing and moving production offshore… what should we EXPECT to happen?
At 12, I did a crummy job steering the tour boat. At 25, I had done a crummy job steering my financials. And I’ve done a crummy job steering my country for as long as I can remember… 350 million wrongs definitely do not make a right (but, three lefts do, kinda sorta, for what it is worth).
Now, I am sure no matter which administration, no matter which party, there are hundreds of thousands of butterfly effects – small things that created Tsunami-sized problems later. But that one just stands out as my poster-child (and another article).
So then we start to dig a bit deeper and read articles from Tom Friedman, and stat crunches from Reno and papers by some dude named Elliot. We talk amongst ourselves but we are still MANY MANY MANY layers from the truth. Do we turn back and lean on mama-media? Do we read a few articles that contain summaries and draw a decision from there? No… because we are still using the Christmas strategy…and really, no matter who gets to wear the Santa Claus hat on inauguration day, it isn’t going to fix our country.
Can you tell me who YOU are voting for? I can, I am voting for the old fart and that MILF standing next to him.
Can you tell me WHY you are voting for them? I can, because I’ve absorbed metadata and other subjective information that leads me to believe there is a 1:1,000,000 chance that they will do less harm than good, and with Obama, the metadata and subjective BS leads me to believe there is only a 1:1,000,010 chance that they will do less harm than good, and I am too scared to throw away my vote on someone in the non-dominant camp (although I am rethinking it).
Can you give me something MORE about why you are voting for your candidate than what I have just given you? Can you site a real an actionable platform that your candidate is going to honor that will put this country closer to recovery, or make a positive difference in the face of the current insanity? I can’t. I simply don’t have good enough data.
There’s only one way to do that, and that’s to get more involved, on a more consistent personal basis, for the rest of my life as an American Citizen… and if you want my belief (why not, you’ve been listening to me rant so far!) , that’s been the problem the last 50 years… we listen to some TV ads, some of us try to do research and get summaries and other metadata, and in the end we give up and roll the dice. I got not-so-new news for all of us, sooner or later the Casino always gets its money. The difference now is, the Casino ain’t owned by us anymore, we sold it a long time ago (and a GOOD chunk of those folks have the hairy bean bags to show up and asked to be BAILED EFFING OUT! HA! [sob] HAHA [weep]). So…what are WE going to do about it?
And, that’s what they bank on…