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What can be done?

  1. Sep 26, 2006 #1
    What can be done to force our government to change its ways? I see a lot of people complaining about the US government, which is fine, but I see no ideas for how to progress. Therefore, I offer up a couple suggestions for your consideration.

    My theory is that the government understands one thing and one thing only: the bottom line.

    I have an idea, though I do not know how viable it is:

    don't pay your federal income taxes. This will send a message: we will not continue to fund a corrupt self serving government whose actions serve to put our citizens in direct jeopardy (ie bungling the war on terror at every opportunity). Once the government is at strict attention, we could begin the process of installing new leaders - hopefully people who won't be swayed by the game of politics and will do what they believe to be right.

    For me, this is not viable as taxes are deducted automatically from my checks. I suspect this is the case with most people, so this has punctured a hole in my revolutionary dream.

    Failing that, and a little less dramatic, I would advise: don't vote.

    I know, I know - many of you have been indoctrinated into the school of thought that by not voting you are part of the problem. I believe this thought is based on an assumption that breaks down in the current political climate. The assumption is that by voting you will be affecting (what you believe to be) positive change. This line of thinking has failed for the past half century or so (hence our current mess of affairs with the ME) and I think a paradigm shift is in order.

    Granted many people don't vote anyway, out of pure laziness. But I believe that not voting to make a message would be more effective than voting for a candidate just because he's the lesser of two evils and hoping for the best. If there was a significant drop in voter turnout, this would merit consideration on the part of our officials.

    I don't know, my back just hurts from being over this stool for so long... Just some ideas - I might be crazy, though.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2006 #2

    Bystander

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    This comes up from time to time, and there're always the same constraints: how to "change" the government without actually having to take the time to be involved. Can't be done. You have to get involved --- not at the national level --- there's no single message politicians can hear at that level from voters. Go to school board meetings, city clowncil meetings, county (parish) commission meetings, the occasional hearing on idiotic legislation at state (commonwealth) level. Regularly. That message gets through to the national level, "They're watching us, be careful." Get off your butts and tell 'em no more money until they do something right with the money they get. Demand performance at the local level, and the message gets through. Squawk to your congressman, he looks at the 100% passage rate for school bonds and knows you're not watching what's happening.
     
  4. Sep 26, 2006 #3
    Huh? Last time I checked we lived in a democracy. The government is elected democratically. Forcing a government to change its way is simply an act of terrorism.

    Well, use your freedom of speech, assembly, making a political party etc to attempt changes in a democratic way. But ways to force the government are obviously against the law.

    You will simply get liens on your house, car or the taxes will be simply taken straight out of your paycheck. Or your land in jail.

    And who is the "we" here? The government is elected democratically, how do you install your leaders? Let me guess: a committee that considers itself more equal than the rest of the population?

    Not really, you can pay no taxes at all, it all depends how many deductibles you claim to your employer. But needless to say you will run the risk of getting a penalty plus interest on the underpayment of taxes.

    And I suppose you do not see the irony of this. If you want to change the government you should vote or start a political party.
     
  5. Sep 26, 2006 #4

    i don't see a clapping hands icon.if there were any you'd certainly get the standing ovation.you hit the nail on the head!
     
  6. Sep 26, 2006 #5
    Well I guess you didn't actually check, then. We do NOT live in a democracy, we live in a representative republic. This is why starting a political party would not work - the votes of the people are nothing - it comes down to the electoral college. Certainly the current establishment is not going to readily make way for a replacement.

    Forcing the government for change is terrorism? Have you read the constitution? I'll refer you to the 1st amendment, a little something about petitioning for redress of grievances.

    To install new leaders, no, we wouldn't need a new committee per se. We could do the democratic thing and allow people to vote directly.

    And I'll refer you all to your history books... You'll notice the section on how we formed the USA by the formation of political parties and voting is missing. We created our government by a violent revolution. I'm asserting such violence won't be necessary, but more than the status quo is going to be required.

    And of course, revolutionary impulses aside, one should be involved in local government.
     
  7. Sep 26, 2006 #6
    Not voting? How is that going to affect any politician? They'll still get elected, they'll even have to work less hard for it.
    There may be use in casting an invalid vote. Over here people put blank cards in the envelopes that go in the ballot boxes. Because of the way votes are counted, it can have an effect on the small parties that need to pass a certain percentage of all votes in order to be admitted to the Knesset.
     
  8. Sep 26, 2006 #7
    Publicly financed elections.

    As long as campaigns are privately financed, only those people able to raise a lot of money stand much chance of getting elected. This narrows our choices and assures the two major parties of political dominance. Once elected, politicians become beholden to special interests for the money needed to keep their seat.
     
  9. Sep 26, 2006 #8
    So petitioning and forcing is the same thing to you? :confused:

    Yes, and are you perhaps suggesting that the electoral college votes against the will of the people?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  10. Sep 26, 2006 #9

    DaveC426913

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    You had the chance back in '04. Apparently, 'changed ways' is not what the majority of you want.
     
  11. Sep 26, 2006 #10
    And that is the truth of the matter!
    Each eligible citizen is free to vote without intimidation and the results speak for themselves!
     
  12. Sep 26, 2006 #11

    DaveC426913

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    Actually, more constructively, what an individual can do is encourage (by whatever means and whenever possible you are so inclined) others to vote.

    It shouldn't even matter to you what party they vote for - as long as they do vote. This will ensure that the government does more accurately reflect the will of the people.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  13. Sep 26, 2006 #12
    Unless you live in a poor district with broken machines, or in Florida (speaks for itself). Or in Maryland, where our machines were not working for the primaries and the governor wants to have mail in ballots.

    I wouldnt exactly call the USA a 'democracy,' unless you have lots and lots of money.

    /sarcasm. :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  14. Sep 26, 2006 #13
    You have missed the point completely.

    No, we did not have the chance back in '04 as Kerry would, in all likelihood, have been as bad as Bush. Voting for and within a crappy system will not fix the problem. Garbage in, Garbage out. Just because I vote for the lesser of two evils, does not mean it is my will to have these people in office, merely that I HAVE NO OTHER CHOICES, as any other choice (ie libertarian or independent) is a waste of a vote.

    And please, MeJennifer, show me what federal law or statute or constitutional clause requires the electoral college to vote with the will of its constituents. AFAIK, such a law does not exist. And yes, it HAS happened. Bush v Gore ring a bell, anyone? Bush had 50,456,002 popular votes but won 271 electoral votes while Gore had 50,999,897 votes, but won only 266 electoral votes. This has happened twice before in our history (http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/electcollege_2.htm).

    In 2004, we had a roughly 60% turnout rate for voting. If this number drops to say 30% this will send a clear message. If, during the next cycle, it drops even more this will send an even clearer message - it is time to change the system.

    You know what insanity is? It's doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you think that going to the poll in '08 is going to make a bit of difference in the direction our nation takes, you're nuts.
     
  15. Sep 26, 2006 #14
    A severe mental disorder.
    For instance a person is insane when he or she consistently mistakes imagination for reality.

    Well obviously you are expecting different results.
    While many citizens are doing just fine, they work, watch TV, do sports and have good relationships with those close to them, there are others who are unhappy and are waiting for the "revolution" which is going to make everything better. :wink:
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  16. Sep 26, 2006 #15
    Cthulu for President
    Why settle for the lesser of two evils.
     
  17. Sep 26, 2006 #16
    I fail to see what any of that has to do with satisfaction with ones government.

    I enjoy my job.

    I don't watch TV. Is that a prerequisite for satisfaction with ones government?

    What do you mean by "do sports?" And how is that related to being happy with ones government?

    I have good relationships with those close to me. They are not happy with the government either.
     
  18. Sep 27, 2006 #17

    DaveC426913

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    It sure will!

    Message received: (sez one Mega-Oilco exec to another:) "Hey guys look! Our votes are now twice as powerful! If the turnout rate drops even more, our votes become even more powerful! You know, if we could get the voting rate to drop to a few hundred, our votes would rule the country!"

    You see, dropping voter turnout works in favour of those who like the sytem the way it is. Why would they want to change it? Raising voter turnout sure as heck doesn't benefit those who are already voting. And I'll bet every government official and business exec knows it!
     
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