Stepping Out On a Limb…Or Not

I have to say that I completely understand people who don’t become involved in political discussions, because it all seems so pointless and depressing.  It’s kind of like housecleaning.  As soon as you think you’re finished, you have to start all over again. 

The majority of Americans, I would say, quietly listen and then go quietly vote.  Ergo, despite the toxic rhetoric of the 2008 presidential campaign, a majority of Americans went and quietly voted Barack Obama into office. 

Liberals, it seems to me, are particularly prone to becoming depressed and giving up.  Conservatives know that, and just wait for the liberals to wear down.  (See:  Congress.)

I’m personally very prone to that wearing-down thing, but I’m also aware of it.  I know it isn’t logical.  So I just keep plodding, mostly in small ways.  I’ve been involved in some political issues, most notably fighting Wal-Mart, and a little less high-profile issue involving a change to the animal control laws.  I’ve been on TV.  I’ve appeared at Commission meetings.  In neither case did I get everything I wanted.  But here is what I did get:  it’s better than it might have been.  If you define winning by getting everything you want, you will always lose.  But if you don’t say anything, you will lose more. 

And here is what keeps me going:  you never know how what you say may impact someone.  The cynics I know say that politics boils down to values, and that you can never change another person’s values.  I don’t believe that.  But I don’t really care about your values.  I only care about how you act. 

My perfect example is the Civil Rights Act.  It did not change values, but it forced changes in behavior.  Those changes in behavior eventually forced changes in values.  Sometimes you have to put the cart before the horse. 

So as I mentioned in my recent post Political Schizophrenia, I was asked by the Board of the business organization I belong to to explain my support for Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution.  This was your ultimate exercise in futility, since the organization had already voted to oppose it.  But how can I explain?  I just felt a need to do it. 

The two members of our seven-member Board who might even have felt some sympathy for me were absent.  Three of the five members present really had no idea what it was about.  That left me and the one other Board member who had any idea what it meant to duke it out, so to speak, since our opinions were diametrically opposed.  He was condescending;  I was biting my tongue.  If it were a debate, I’d say he won. 

But then…last week, our parent state organization asked for $10 more per member to contribute to an “industry defense fund”.  Which they said they might need to fight Amendment 4.  One Board member said…we already have a PAC we contribute $50 to per member.  Why can’t the PAC suffice?  And what exactly is a defense fund anyway? 

I replied:  In my experience, PAC’s lobby.  A defense fund is separate, and is used to defend against lawsuits.  Or possibly to sue.  (Like there is anybody to sue if a constitutional amendment is passed by the voters.  You can sue to keep it off the ballot, but after that it’s happy trails.)  More likely, they’re worried about being sued if the amendment fails.

The end result was, our chapter voted No–we will not give $10 more per member to a defense fund.  I think that had everything to do with them tying it to Amendment 4.  I have no objection to any organization having a defense fund.  But I think the quiet people in my tiny group listened.  Go, Quiet People.

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8 responses to “Stepping Out On a Limb…Or Not

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    I’ve found that I can accomplish more politically in one hour in my Masonic Lodge, than I could if I spent $200,000 in advertising and running a campaign.

  2. I don’t understand the Masons. Can you explain it to me without having to kill me afterwards?

  3. > I’ve been on TV.

    What? I missed your TV debut? When? What channel? You shoulda given me a heads up.

  4. Lol…it was before you knew me 🙂 But I used to get regularly interviewed during or after Commission meetings on the Wal-Mart issue. Which happened mostly by default. I was by far not the most outspoken opponent, but when the TV cameras showed up, they were all like no, no, no…Fakename, You talk!

  5. Amendment 4 circumvents the constitutional legislative process. If we don’t hold our legislators accountable but continue to pay them and take the power/responsibility out of their hands why go through the charade of electing them in the first place? The same is true of the bureaucracy that exists to enforce the regs. If growth management is the people’s choice then they are not responsible for enforcing existing laws, and providing the essential services necessary to support them. So we will no longer get new sewer plants because no one in their right mind would vote to site one in their back yard. No more new prisons unless they are in the middle of the Forest (whoops can’t go there either.) No nuclear power plants. Local Municipalities that still resent what happened in 1902 by the guys on the other side of the line (wherever it is) will vote to screw them this time.

    Who benefits from mob rule? Lawyers and developers just like now only it’s less structured than now.

    Development won’t stop FN until we limit population growth.

    We should not discard representative government just because it’s tough to make it work. It is the foundation of our system.

  6. pt, if you think curbing development is hard, try coming up with a practical way to limit population growth. How should we do that? Death panels? A one-child policy?
    As I’ve previously said, in my opinion it will be access (or the lack thereof) to drinking water which will curb development. And only then if somebody (e.g., the government) is minding the store.

  7. “As I’ve previously said, in my opinion it will be access (or the lack thereof) to drinking water which will curb development. And only then if somebody (e.g., the government) is minding the store.”

    If we were in a true debate forum instead of a blog this is where I would burry your position as spurious and contradictory. You simply can’t have it both ways. If you bypass government by giving development approval or disapproval to a popular vote you simply can’t expect government to then regulate what it can’t decide. (Think High Speed Rail) The people will not always get it right anymore than government does. Today’s comp plan and amendment process requires concurrency (which includes budget allocation) a popular vote could not possibly do that on a consistent basis. Financial issues historically are oversimplified in the popular voting system. Voters vote their pocketbooks for the most part and not engineering and construction costs projections.

    But truly HD is an example of emotional politics that deal only with symptoms. Much of the environmental damage to our environment is man made. Until we control population growth we only delay the inevitable. Is the theory popular? Would it get someone elected to office? Hell no! So no one admits it or deals with it. No One (as in Dead Man lol).

    Thomas Malthus was a credible economist in the 19th century and has been fairly demonized in later years. Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb in the 60’s was a great revival of Malthus but he sensationalized it too much (thus selling millions more than if it were slow and steady) so people again turned away from the face in the mirror. Here is the synthesis of Ehrlich:

    I=PAT (where I= Environmental Impact, P= Population, A= Affluence, T= Technology.)

    As Pogo so poignantly said, “we have seen the enemy and it is us.”

  8. Pingback: Stepping Out On a Limb: Part Two « Fakename2’s Weblog

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