"This way. No this way"

@p1kef1sh (45642)
January 5, 2013 12:00am CST
Western countries generally operate a two party system, one leftwards leaning the other tends to look to the right. Conservative and Socialist is the typical configuration. Often, especially in Europe, there is a centre party too that tends to split the vote but rarely manages a sufficient majority to govern outside of a coalition. However, whilst this system has prevailed for centuries it causes such ill feeling (the recent US election where there was an almost hystetical opposition to both presidential candidates by some on each side) that I wonder whether it really presents the ideal sysyem that operates genuinely in the interests of the people rather than a small proportion of those wealthy or influential enough to manipulate government to their own ambitions. But if the current system is not fit for purpose what would be?
3 people like this
11 responses
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
6 Jan 13
I don't know what is better than a democratic process but it is obviously not the best but then what is? I just don't know. I agree that thee are usualy people behind a politician who often try (and often succeed) to manipulate a politician or his party or party in power. Being the mother of an M.P. it was our greatest pride and happiness that he did not have any backers and therefore did not owe anyone any favours. This has helped hoim this past year so much in decision making and i hope that it remains this way for as long as he represents the people of his constituency.
1 person likes this
@mariaperalta (19096)
• Mexico
6 Jan 13
Mexico is the same way.. and both sides only fight with each other. And both are always wrong. You pays? everyone does. Go figure. Take care there...
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84132)
• Shingle Springs, California
5 Jan 13
The "Free Chocolate for All" party?
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
Dawn for President!
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84132)
• Shingle Springs, California
5 Jan 13
Too much responsibility. Can I be Secretary of Food?
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
No. But I'll take you to lunch!
1 person likes this
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
5 Jan 13
The problem is not that we are a "two-party" system; because, we are not. We do have several other recognized political parties - Libertarian, Green, Communist, etc. The problem is with the media. The media refuses to cover the other parties or their candidates. This past election season, they refused to allow the other parties presidential candidates the opportunity to participate in the debates. The did not even cover a single event with a candidate that was not a Democrat or a Republican! If the media limits our information about the different choices available to us - how can we make educated choices. The country is no longer being run by the people but by the media (big business).
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
Here in the UK any party that can generate an advert is allocated time on the TV but the large parties seem to get more air time. Beyond that though the media is essential. If the press get behind you then you are made. There's a surprise! LOL.
• United States
5 Jan 13
Speakeasy, there are only two parties allowed in some places in the nation. If you're an alternative candidate, you have to run on R or D. Our Presidential ballots only had R and D. No I or G or L. So it's more than media keeping it a two-party system in some instances.
• Australia
5 Jan 13
There is a whole subdiscipline in Sociology on this sort of media issue, as I discovered when looking at the media in relation to the Greens for my thesis. One of the main points that came up is that the media is primarily owned by big business, so it's hardly suprising that it doesn't give minority views any genuine coverage. By concentrating on visual images (the equivalent of the 30 second sound bite), they have managed to cause considerable diffusion in the public view of Green philosophy by tying the Greens visually and almost exclusively to whale protests and tree hugging, both of which are somewhat important to most Greens but which are only very minor issues within the entire Green message. The media today has a lot to answer for, and that's without even mentioning reality television lol. Lash
• Australia
5 Jan 13
I have believed in democracy all my adult life, but as I approach the end of it, I find myself more and more in sympathy with Marx's concept of the lumpenproletariat on the one hand, and the justifiable cynicism with which thinking modern men and women approach modern politics, as per your subject post. I find myself thinking along the lines of limited franchise and strictly controlled candidacy eligibility, both limits set by the application of comprehensive tests to demonstrate (a) the degree of understanding of political, economic, and most importantly social issues in both potential voters and potential candidates the passing of which is essential to either vote or stand, and (b) equally comprehensive investigations of the probity, independence, and ethical understanding of potential candidates. Add to this strict limits on political campaign spending (say equal amounts provided by an electoral commission based on the number of candidates), limited terms, a ban on lobbying, and perhaps even a process of post-service assessment by an independent panel, and perhaps we might get honest, efficient government free of the influence of vested interests and hopefully free of the ideological blindness of party politics. We have now almost 150 years of development of adequate psychometric and sociological investigative and assessmnent tests, and I imagine we could devise tests for these purposes without too much angst or difficulty. Lash
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
A nice idea but I fear that the tests would fail to pass anybody competent to govern. By their very nature politicians maintain an ego that tends to serve themselves before those that they are elected to represent, Even Mandela and Gandhi were not above egotistical expression. To find a party truly impermeable to the vanity caused by the funding of influential lobbying would be a wondrous thing. Personally I feel that we should look to collectives that devolve power to the lowest level whilst central government worries about the truly strategic. But as soon as you introduce people into the equation you create an irreparable flaw!
• Australia
5 Jan 13
Oddly, Cuba under Castro devolved most of the practical day-to-day stuff to local councils, and the result took them from among the worst of 3rd World countries to equal to most OECD countries in terms of the UN assessment of social indicators (e.g. infant mortality, lifespan indicators, education, health in general etc.). Without the US boycott I suspect Cuba would have become a midget "tiger". The problem with these ideas in today's affluent societies is that the "bread and circuses" process has been so successful that such local initiatives would be highly unlikely to work, especially when we have institutionalised greed to such an extent. If the bulk of people weren't "lumpen" to start off with, they have been channeled that way. You only have to consider "reality" TV ...... Within the ideas I suggested, incidentally, there is absolutely no reason why such local devolvement couldn't be implemented. I do love that old saw about never electing anybody who seeks election lol. But perhaps under the vaguely meritocratic system I am suggesting, we could assume that many who would seek election within those parameters might genuinely be seeking public service rather than public mastery. Nowt wrong with ego as long as it is not all there is. Lash
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
I think that it was Groucho Marx that said that he'd never join a club that would have him as a member. Perhaps that should be the case with politicians! LOL.
@Mavic123456 (9440)
• Thailand
5 Jan 13
Out political system is like, stuffed roasted turkey.. So many ingredients... So mixed up... So many political parties competing, so many philosophies that sometimes are hard to believe, so many politicians to choose from but no one deserved to be chosen. This is our politics here in the Philippines, so many ..... So many.... So many money...questionable where these came from. So many idealism, idealism not is just idealistic and not realistic. So many liars... So many promises put into waste.
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
I think that politicians ought to be very concerned that they are seen as corrupt self servers by the electorate in just about every country. They should be squeaky clean. It all too often they are as grubby as it is possible to be,
• Thailand
6 Jan 13
There are still a lot of uneducated voters. Still being persuade with good political jingle and campaings over media.. So many actors turning politicians if they are doing good in the movie industry already or if they want to earn more. Here it is common joke if you want to serve the people. Enter showbiz. Lol. I think these corruptions and dynasty wil not really put into end until wll voters gain their maturity in voting wiseley...
@dragon54u (31583)
• United States
5 Jan 13
I don't even know why we have to have parties. Why can't someone just run on their ideas and not have to be represented by a party? The answer, it just occurred to me, is money. A party can raise money in an organized way and get the big bucks needed to defeat the opponent with lies, scandals, muck raking and other appalling traditions. Here we have the two parties plus Independents and Libertarians and a couple other small parties. Only the two main parties get enough funding to really campaign. I'm in favor of imposing a limit on campaigns--you can only spend as much as the annual salary of the position you're seeking. I also think that all visual media coverage should be forbidden; that would weed out the lazy people who don't bother to read anything but depend on television for their information and usually believe everything they are told. The majority of campaigning would be through print so people would have to read and consider the words they are reading--and it would prevent most voters from voting purely on the charisma of a candidate as opposed to his or her real abilities and talents. But I'm getting off the point. Our current system is awful and the parties work for their own interests and the bottom scum who fund them, making laws that favor that scum over the people. For instance, they are trying to pass a relief bill for victims of a hurricane and 2/3 of it is not for the victims at all but special interests! Our parties are corrupted. The people need to rise up and protest and demand our employees realize who is boss--then we need to BE that boss. Whew! You really woke me up today! I rarely start the morning in anger, I will try to be serene the rest of the day.
@GreenMoo (11842)
5 Jan 13
Excellent post Dragon. I hope the rest of your day is supremely calm to make up for it ;)
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
I'm glad to have got your blood rushing! I believe that our system lends itself to corruption and abuse and provides an effective ring fence that ensures that only one of two options ever sees government. The opportunity for corruption is rife but then again perhaps all systems would provide that weakness. I hope that your serenity has remained unbroken!
• France
5 Jan 13
I don't think you should assume that the caustic nature of the recent US election is necessarily typical of all liberal democracies. Politicians in the UK and France, for example, seem to manage to argue their corner without all elections descending into a slanging match - sometimes there is intelligent debate with each side arguing their case in a cogent way without slating their opponents personally. That said, I don't think the US system is ideal. There is virtually no chance of any third force, which might be a moderating influence on the extremes of both main parties, emerging. I believe there were actually four presidential candidates in 2012 but how many US voters were actually aware of candidates three and four? The democrats and republicans had adverts (high cost) and major TV air time sewn up between them so minot party candidates had virtually no chance of gaining any traction.
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
I agree with you. My illustration of the US candidates was simply to show the extremes that parties will go to. My point is that the overwhelming political contest in our countries invariably lies with two main parties. We saw that in France, we are seeing it in Germany and it is most certainly the case here in the UK although the Liberals, for the first time In decades are experiencing a taste of shared government. But my real question is does it have to be this way? Is there an acceptable alternative route?
• Australia
5 Jan 13
The current Australian situation echoes both of p1ke's points: on the one hand, we have the dirtiest, most virulently personalised parliamentary debate I think we've ever seen, and my political leanings apart, it is mostly on the part of the Conservative side (I think our female Labour Prime Minister has shown considerable restraint and dignity in not following suit, whatever else I may think of her performance), and on the other hand the power of the Greens, on the back of immense dissatisfaction with the two-party political garbage, has provided a degree of sanity. If the general voting public could think beyond its hip pocket, perhaps things might improve, but it strikes me that just as we get the televsion we deserve, we also get the politics we deserve, and until the public wake up and begin to demand decent television/politics etc., we can hardly blame the opportunists for jumping on the entertainment/political bandwagons and giving the lumpens what they want (as opposed to what they need). Hey, can I get a spot on the next season of "Grumpy Old Men"? Lash
@eagletrek2 (5148)
• Kingston, New York
5 Jan 13
Hi this might sound wierd but if you ever watch the TV show startrek, that Gene Rodenbery made. In the Startrek world on earth there no more money, people are free to learn any job they want to do, they do not have to worry about food housing cost or Medcial. the Challange is improving like your mind and skills for growth. I"M what you call that kind of socity, but all so on earth only there no more wars between countries. like ,this Only on earth in the Startrek relm. they still have left and right it just kind of differnt I kind of like Gene Rodenbery vison.ok have a good day.
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
Beam me up Scotty! But how do those people live?
@natliegleb (5186)
• India
5 Jan 13
why do you say or say otherwise because the government might ideally try any means or ways to get on to the action and by putting a strong anytime force
@p1kef1sh (45642)
5 Jan 13
I didn't!
@Hatley (164759)
• Garden Grove, California
6 Jan 13
hi pikey oh this election was the worst e ver. even my childhood best friend turned on me only because I voted democrat and she said but you born and raised in South Dakota and we all vote Rep ulican., I had changed. I still like her as I don't give a darn about what party either of us belong too we were friends for 86 years well no more like 78 years but we grew up together then all went o ur s eparate ways.We need to elect presidents who come from wo rking class not the wealthy who are really owned byu the big corporations here anyway as they contributed all the election money to both candidates. lol.Wealthy men do not have any idea of what its like for us ordinary working people here in the US.,It hurts that my best friend found me via Facebook only to turn against me because of my party!!