Sunday, August 17, 2014

Surveying

I just finished a YouGov survey, this one on politics. And it occurred to me, as I was checking boxes, that, even given their wide range of choices, many of the questions are too complex to answer by checking a box, unless you check all the boxes, “Unsure”.  Like, “how would I rate the job Obama is doing on Immigration?” Well, none of the boxes say, “Obama and the larger world needs to engage the countries from whom all the illegal migrants are coming, and get those countries to quit fucking around and instead become actual functioning democracies.” It seems to me that, whenever you see streams of people walking/running through national borders, something awful is going on within their respective countries.  It doesn’t really help to build bigger walls (remember the Berlin Wall??).  It doesn’t help to post armed guys at the border, unless you really don’t care and are willing to shoot poor folks with little kids who are trying to escape being shot at home.
And then there’s health care. There were a lot of questions about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare. Well, first, I’m on Medicare, so of course I want it protected from the Republican hordes.  They want to kill it and Social Security, by both giving you vouchers and allowing you to “shop” for your health care, or, in the case of Social Security, to kill it by turning it over to the national institutes of gambling, aka, the bankers and hedge fund managers.  So, how can I respond to simple boxes? Health care is too complicated for checking off simple choice boxes. This part is simple. Everyone a citizen should have health care insurance (ergo, a single payer system). We left health care to the private sector and the private sector punted, by a variety of devices (the simplest being to hire only part-time workers).  The private sector may indeed the best option when you want automobiles designed and built (although even that seems arguable at times). But the private sector isn’t too good when what you want is some kind of fair treatment of the citizenry.  That’s why we invented government.
Oh, and then there was the range of questions about foreign affairs. So, it turns out that Obama isn’t really too great at the foreign policy thing. Maybe it’s just a lack of experience. But then think about some of our past presidents, who were thought better at that game—Nixon comes to mind. He was good at many things, mostly domestic as it turns out, but he screwed up a lot at the foreign affairs thing. His plan to get us out of Vietnam turns out to have been that we should bomb Cambodia and then keep shooting for another five years or so. And then, of course there’s Dubya. Obama looks like a genius compared with that wrecking crew. But nonetheless, the foreign affairs scene is bad and getting worse almost daily. Between the Middle East, or perhaps all of Islam-Land, killing off local folks just cuz, Central America where people are streaming out to anywhere they can to avoid being killed, Africa now being consumed by Ebola, or Russia where Vlad is acting out his dream of becoming a Czar, there’s just killing/dying everywhere you look. Obama simply isn’t up to it, but then who would be?  St. Ronald? Hmmm . . . I don’t think so. He is best known for trading arms with terrorist regimes and invading . . . where was it . . . the Grenada medical school??
But finally, the survey failed to touch on our central political problem—the takeover of one party by the very rich, shifting that party to the right of Attila the Hun and invoking the racists of the country in support of preventing our first Black President (well he’s really mixed race) from getting anything done. How to create simple boxes to check to describe that phenomenon? Maybe in the near future, we will become a new system, somewhere in between a full royal system and a democratic society. We will be bribed into electing a king who will then appoint a Congress of serfs, who will in turn pass laws that are “good for us”.

Won’t that be fun??
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