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Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,

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Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?

I have been increasingly amazed about something in American politics: Half the country apparently thinks the other half is some combination of insane, immoral, or perhaps just misled. I can't quite grasp how that can be true, but it seems to be true to me, as I listen to and talk to the vast majority of people who are firmly republican or democrat.

These aren't just simple things we're fighting about. We're fighting about life and death issues, like what happens to women when they get raped, and what our health care policy should be. I would think that with such disputes, eventually one side or the other would win out. Both can't be right. Yet both sides seem perpetually evenly balanced. Is there some force at work forcing this even balance? If so, what is it? Are we all just slaves to this force?

Throughout American history, there have been roughly equal numbers of republican (18) and democratic (16) presidents, ignoring other parties throughout American history. (Hopefully I got that right, but fact check me if you are so inclined...) This leads me to conclude that there must be some larger social force at work influencing the masses of people, to keep these numbers perpetually balanced. Because I can't understand how these forces can be so evenly balanced over so many years without some force keeping them balanced.

What force(s) keep on keeping republicans and democrats so evenly balanced in the United States? Are we slaves to this force?

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  • Nov 8 2012: My son would tell you that the force that holds us in slavery is STUPIDITY.

    The majority of the American public believe that the Patriot Act was and is a good idea.

    A big portion of us cannot find Afghanistan on a globe, still.

    Political ads are stupid because they are aimed at stupid people who are easily led and misled.

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. And that is enough.

    Pat Gilbert is correct when he says that education is a big part of the solution. We need a course in how to participate in democracy, starting with critical analysis of campaign ads.
    • Nov 8 2012: > My son would tell you that the force that holds us in slavery is STUPIDITY.
      A little known comedian and economist has that democracy routine wherein he says that the economy is always wobbly "not because the left believes in mandates, or the right believes in markets, but because the centre believes in MAGIC!" Which really is not the best thing to rely on, since it doesn't exist. I'd like to add there is also a group who believes in guns and god (bad mix) who happens to statistically occupy the biggest state in America. And a couple of others -- and my view is that if they were not Christian of any established flavour, you'd decidedly call them extremists.
      I second your argument about education being a good solution for this problem. However, I think that while it might be a good idea for a school to be a business (my school would be closed down if it couldn't be taken over by another), what happens in some schools in America is outrageous, and colleges/universities are simply there to max out credit cards.
      Yes, in the UK the situation is getting too similar too quickly, with Nick "I'm Sorry" Clegg aggreeing to vote for tuition fees increase (tripling the maximum, in fact). But America seems to be a prime example of how to screw up education and produce ill-prepared people. Guys, you need a reform. Fast.

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