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Bamboozled by US politics.

 
 
msolga
 
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 09:44 pm
There is so much about US politics that makes little sense to me. I sometimes peak into the many A2K threads discussing the major issues & end up scratching my head in bewilderment.
It is SO different to the Oz experience! You might as well be on another planet.

Here are a few things that a "foreigner" has difficulty comprehending:

How come religion plays such a huge role in the politics of a secular country?
How come the word "liberal" is often perceived as an insult, suggesting that a politician might be suspect in some way?
How could the infidelity of a president (& his lies to cover it up) be seriously considered as an impeachable offence?
How come movie "stars" like Ronald Reagan & Arnold S (sorry, not sure of the spelling of the top of my head) can be voted into such high office? I'm trying to imagine An Oz equivalent but can't think of one ....
How come there isn't some uniform system of voting in federal elections in all states? Why the local variations?

I could go on & on .....
My intention is not to be offensive to any of you A2Kers in the US, I just wanted to express my confusion from the other side of the planet.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:04 pm
If you are successful in finding answers to your mighty fine questions, please let me know I can become a very successful journalist.
we are the people who gave the world

The biggest ass nuclear tipped rocket called THE PEACEMAKER

A gazillion dollar arsenal of anti missile missiles, when we are about the only guys on the block with any missiles.

Our nuclear submarine navy is ready to go to attack our enemies like New Zealand or st Kitts

we cannot waste time finding out about who screwed up with bad intelligence on Iraq, but WE CAN spend all resources musterable to investigate a tit.

We in America are really quite contented
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:12 pm
farmerman

So some US citizems are just as confused as I am?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:13 pm
Oh fer sure. It's confusing.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:17 pm
Oh ..... I thought it all made some sort of perfect sense if you live there. Confused
Thought I was suffering from some sort of cultural ignorance.
But it's different , very different ...
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:19 pm
It prolly makes more sense if you've been raised on it. But yeah, way confusing.
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:53 pm
Oh sweet msolga, please stop worrying about the unexplainable! Most of us are amazed and confused by the discrepancies in our society.
Does a blow job merit impeachment when sending young men and women to war based on lies is accepted as appropriate national defense?
Beats me.
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Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:55 pm
Just goes to show you how much we get right quite by accident. Shocked
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 11:03 pm
Oh sweet Ms Diane, I'm not worried, I just thought it might make more sense to a local than a foreigner. Very Happy
It seems to me that their are many, many radically different versions of "US society". Almost like different countries, with different belief systems that somehow learn to live with each other, coexist ...
Australians tend to be quite overtly cynical of politics & politicians .... And religion is insignificant ....There is a sort of scary innocence about Americans, it seems to me.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 11:09 pm
Brand X wrote:
Just goes to show you how much we get right quite by accident. Shocked



Yes? Wanna give some examples?
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Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 11:19 pm
We haven't blown ourselves up yet.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 11:33 pm
Yes, well all things considered, that's a pretty impressive achievement ...
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Fedral
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 07:27 am
Re: Bamboozled by US politics.
msolga wrote:

Here are a few things that a "foreigner" has difficulty comprehending:


Ok, Here goes my best attempt...

msolga wrote:
How come religion plays such a huge role in the politics of a secular country?


Most of the original colonists of this country were people who had left their home country seeking religious freedoms that were not available in their home country. There were very specific provisions in the Constitution to ensure that no one's religious rights were ever, in any way, restricted. America was founded (as much as some people try to deny it) by some very religious people and it has been that way ever since.

msolga wrote:
How come the word "liberal" is often perceived as an insult, suggesting that a politician might be suspect in some way?


The word 'liberal' is usually considered a derogatory word by those of a conservative bent, just as the word 'conservative' is usually considered a derogatory word by those of a liberal bent

msolga wrote:
How could the infidelity of a president (& his lies to cover it up) be seriously considered as an impeachable offence?


The impeachable offense was NOT the infidelity, the impeachable offense of President Clinton was that he had LIED to Congress when asked about it.

msolga wrote:
How come movie "stars" like Ronald Reagan & Arnold S (sorry, not sure of the spelling of the top of my head) can be voted into such high office?


The great thing about America is that anyone can grow up to be anything they set their minds to achieve. Just because R.R. had been an actor in his youth did not restrict him from getting more and more involved in politics. As to Arnold... he is the living embodiment of the 'American Dream' in action:
A penniless Austrian bodybuilder comes to America. He works hard, becomes a successful actor, makes millions of dollars, becomes a Republican, marries into one of the most famous Democrat families (Kennedys) and goes on to become the governor of the richest and most populous state in the Union. God Bless America. Very Happy

msolga wrote:
How come there isn't some uniform system of voting in federal elections in all states? Why the local variations?


America was established as an association of States. The Constitution was written to give a framework to a group of states, each of with had their own views on what was best for themselves. The Constitution spells out that any powers NOT defined in that document, will fall to the states to handle 'as they see fit'. Since the exact form of primaries are not spelled out in said document, it falls upon each state to decide how it is to be handled locally.

Well thats the best I can do for now msolga... thanks for dragging all the history and civics that I learned in high school and college out of my brain so early in the morning. Very Happy

Any other questions class?
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 07:47 am
I"m confused enough by Australian politics.
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Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 07:48 am
But I am happy about the fact that here, being overly or overtly religious is more likely to lose a candidate an election than to win one.
0 Replies
 
hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 10:45 am
Re: Bamboozled by US politics.
Fedral wrote:
[
Most of the original colonists of this country were people who had left their home country seeking religious freedoms that were not available in their home country. There were very specific provisions in the Constitution to ensure that no one's religious rights were ever, in any way, restricted. America was founded (as much as some people try to deny it) by some very religious people and it has been that way ever since.

Actually, most of the Europeans who came to the new world were lured here by the prospects of wealth or trade. It was only a small group in New England who had religion as a partial reason for emigration. The "pilgrim story" is quaint, and fun for elementary school kids, but but has little bearing on fact.



Quote:
The word 'liberal' is usually considered a derogatory word by those of a conservative bent, just as the word 'conservative' is usually considered a derogatory word by those of a liberal bent

actually that seems mainly to be true among the fringes of either "side."


Quote:
The impeachable offense was NOT the infidelity, the impeachable offense of President Clinton was that he had LIED to Congress when asked about it.

The Clinton impeachment occurred at the end of along process during which the opposition party had been attempting to remove the sitting president for any reason possible. It was an example of partisan politics at the expense of public service. I expect something similar to transpire when Kerry wins the election.


Quote:
The great thing about America is that anyone can grow up to be anything they set their minds to achieve. Just because R.R. had been an actor in his youth did not restrict him from getting more and more involved in politics. As to Arnold... he is the living embodiment of the 'American Dream' in action:
A penniless Austrian bodybuilder comes to America. He works hard, becomes a successful actor, makes millions of dollars, becomes a Republican, marries into one of the most famous Democrat families (Kennedys) and goes on to become the governor of the richest and most populous state in the Union. God Bless America. Very Happy

Reagan was elected after an unpopular presidency that encouraged "belt tightening" fiscal policies. In addition,he was able to mobilize the vote of the far right with this views on fundamentalist religion and his bellicose foreign policy. He also had massive support from the wealthy industrialists.

The governator capitalized on efforts by the dominant party to remove an unpopular leader. He further played on his cinema image, and, given that many Americans are not sophisticated enough to discern public image from fact, convinced them that a "hero" was going to take care of them. In addition, he also capitalized on his wealth and his connections with the powerful.



Quote:
America was established as an association of States. The Constitution was written to give a framework to a group of states, each of with had their own views on what was best for themselves. The Constitution spells out that any powers NOT defined in that document, will fall to the states to handle 'as they see fit'. Since the exact form of primaries are not spelled out in said document, it falls upon each state to decide how it is to be handled locally.

I'm impressed. You actually got one right. Smile

Quote:
Well thats the best I can do for now msolga... thanks for dragging all the history and civics that I learned in high school and college out of my brain so early in the morning. Very Happy

Any other questions class?

No, but I suggest you do some reading into American history. You may wish to start with Taylor's The American Colonies: The Settling of North America, (New York: Penguin. 2001.).
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 03:47 pm
Thank you for that, Fedral. In the wee small hours, even! I really appreciate the time you've taken. Good, clear answers.

A thought on the following:

The impeachable offense was NOT the infidelity, the impeachable offense of President Clinton was that he had LIED to Congress when asked about it.

I'm thinking it's kind of strange that the president's infidelities were even considered Congress's business. Sure, I know it was a witch hunt at the time, but to me anyway, marital infidelity wouldn't have affected his ability to run the country.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 03:50 pm
hobitbob

Thank you for your views, too. Very interesting. I'll follow up that link, too.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 03:55 pm
Wilso wrote:
I"m confused enough by Australian politics.


Laughing Yes, Wilso, me, too. Why people have voted the way they have at the Federal level in recent years is a complete mystery to me. I have hardly ever heard anyone I know support Howard's policies, yet apparently many do. They rush out & vote for him! And we end up with a few more years of the same, or worse. Maybe I'm mixing in the wrong circles? Laughing
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