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Posted by on Jul 5, 2013 in Government, Life | 2 comments

A New American Revolution?

Like someone at Skeptic Ink (sometimes I hate the danged internet) who said that any title with a question mark can be answered “no”, I think that a new American Civil War (or Revolution) to be unlikely.  Staks Rosch wonders the same thing and comes, I think, to the same conclusion.

It is highly unlikely that Americans will revolt.  I used to think it was because we’re too lazy.  But I live in Austin. I remember Wisconsin last year.  I don’t think that Americans are lazy.

I think we’re unfocused. We haven’t been stressed as a culture in over 100 years.  I’m sure someone can correct me, but I don’t think we’ve had a first world country with a civil war or revolution.  Not in the modern age.

Americans are comfortable.  We like our iPhones and big screen TVs and football Sundays.  You want to start a revolution in the US, tell Americans that because football is work, it’s not allowed on Sundays.

I think most of us want to live in a comfortable oblivion. Americans are fairly unique in that we can have all sorts of opinions and there’s not  thing anyone can say or do about it.  If something happens that we don’t like, then we know that we have many layers of recourse before we get to outright warfare.

Even if an unpopular or dangerous law gets passed, there are multiple court systems that can be called upon to nullify the law (or parts of it).  And the system, for the most part, works.

I guess that’s the biggest part of our complacency.  The US government, flawed though it is, works.  It’s stable.  People realize that every 2-3 years, the structure of the government, from the local level to the national level changes to some degree.  And they are willing to wait, meanwhile spending their energies promoting their ides and candidates that agree with them.

The problem really appears when there is not a firm majority decision among the people… or there is a firm majority and the “representatives” ignore it.  People may begin to wonder what’s going on in the government.  Why aren’t the representatives doing what they are supposed to do… represent their constituents?

The old adage “just vote them out of office” is one of those great lies of modern politics.  It doesn’t work like that.  I don’t think it ever worked like that here.

Maybe the problem is that America has too many opinions and not enough representatives.  You either vote Democrat or Republican.  And, I’m sorry, but voting for  third, fourth, or fifth party is wasting your vote.  It sucks that we don’t have a more mathematically sound system, but we have what we have.  And that’s how we got governor Good Hair again, who won the governor’s mansion with less than 40% of the popular vote.

That too many opinions thing is also, I think, preventing us from armed revolt.  Think about your family and your five best friends.  Do everyone one of you share the exact same beliefs about politics, culture, and religion?  If not, then what if the driving issue behind a revolt is one that you feel differently on than your friends and family.

We can never find anyone to truly believe in.  President Obama is a case in point.  I supported him completely.  I still believe that he is a better president than Mitt Romney would have been.*  But right now, I wouldn’t do it again.  I’d vote for someone else in a primary.  Again, if I wanted to keep the GOP out of office, then I would have to vote Democrat, because no other party has a chance in this day and age.

But I drift off-topic… again.

Anyway.  I don’t think Americans are lazy, but I don’t think that we’re in any way going to have a coup d’état anytime soon.  Riots maybe, but those are generally local and very specific in nature, where a revolution is national and more general.
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* Of course, that’s like saying he’s the best hockey player in all of Ecuador. It’s a pretty darn low standard.

  • Peter

    I would be more worried about the US becoming a fascist dictatorship. It almost happened once in your country and it wasn’t religious it was by the corporate elites who wanted to establish a fascist regime modelled on fascist Italy.
    The Business Plot
    . From my perspective as a Canadian the US is drifting toward fascism. Think not, read this:

    Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism

  • im-skeptical

    Not so much lazy as complacent. The powerful interests that run the country are well aware that if they keep people entertained with a steady barrage of video games, television, movies, and football, they will not think about what’s happening in politics. What was once the party of Lincoln has morphed into the party of the Koch brothers, and most Republicans are blissfully unaware of the change. Democrats still do a better job of representing the interests of the people, but they are all too easily swayed by the those who hold the real power in this country. If anyone doesn’t think so, just look at what happened with gun control legislation that enjoyed the overwhelming support of Americans, both Republican and Democrat. Universal health care? A massive propaganda campaign (sponsored in part by the Koch brothers) managed to convince millions that having health care available to everyone is a bad thing.

    I think our two-party system is a major problem. As you say, voting for another party is wasting your vote, so we are forced to choose between one of the two entrenched parties. If we had a voting system more like many other countries, where voting continues until a single candidate achieves a majority, then people would not be forced into choosing between the big two at the outset. Other candidates and other parties could at least have a shot at it, because voters would feel more free to support them. And they wouldn’t become spoilers in the final round of voting. This could dramatically change our politics. But I’m not holding my breath.