Saturday, November 27, 2004

One or Two Americas?


My previous post is long, I know. It is quite dense and there are lots of links. Many areas are touched on quite superficially. I have covered some of them in more detail earlier, and intend to cover some others in the near future.

One response to my previous post (on Kos, by "dotpeople", who I believe is Rich Persaud, a brilliant guy who appeared not to have liked me very much in the good old days of the Edwards campaign blog, particularly when I wrote this after Super Tuesday: http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/08/dealing-with-suspension.html) was that it is divisive.

My response: Exposing real divisions in not in itself divisive. One needs to come up with a diagnosis before embarking on a treatment. Blinfolding is not going to make the problem go away. Figuring out the substance of divisions allows one to see what is NOT substance of divisions - a starting point for any future action.

My conclusion is that the division is not 50:50 as the electoral results may suggest, but more like 70:30, i.e., there is only about 30% of Americans that we cannot possibly reach. Out of those 30%, perhaps half (Religious Right and White Supremacists) are pre-Enlightement and anti-Enlightement, thus a real drag on the country and virtually impossible to convert to reality (unfortunately, our dear President is one of them). Luckily, they tend to be older, and there is a hope we can still get their kids, or perhaps grandkids. The other half are the Super-Rich and the GOP operatives and officials. They are never going to vote for a Democrat, but they are rational, thus likely to work on purging the GOP from Neocons and Paleocons in the future, once those people become to dangerous to capitalism. I have no problem with a Rockefeller-style Republican party (people like Chaffey, Snowe, L.Graham , McCain). They are mixed-conservative, not core conservative, they are rational and modern. I do not want a one-party system where only the Democratic Party rules the world. I actually want, once it becomes possible (http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2004/08/smoke-signals-blogs-and-future-of.html ) to see many parties, each proposing a different combo of conservative and liberal ideas, but that time is not here yet.

A theme that goes through most of my posts is that history is on our side, that the ultra-right is a small minority that makes its presence known by being too vocal, that those people tend to be older, and that we need to neutralize their voice, then wait for them to die out.

Read this article that agrees with me:

Scrooge's nightmare
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/11/25/new_silent_majority

Many boomers and younger people are liberal, and most of the children of the conservatives will be more liberal than their parents due to exposure in school, college, through media and peer ifluence. Just check these amazing articles (and blog-comments):

"Why I'm Glad my daughter had underage sex"
http://mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=news&id=64489&cn=82


What Do We Do Now that the Sexual Revolution is Over?

http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/Jacobs-Speckhardt.html


Sex and the Campus
http://www.technicianonline.com/story.php?id=010671


No One?

http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2004/11/no_one.html#comments


Still, some kids will be lost. Why? Because homeschooling is used to indoctrinate them into the Rapturist Christian and/or White Supremacist ideology (http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2004/11/home-is-where-hate-is.html). Home schooling is great, but this is an obvious downside. What can be done? Can we make public schools so good that home-schooling become unnecessary, thus can be outlawed?

I love the concept of "smaller learning communities" in schools. I am wondering if it's possible to make all schools in the country responsive and not test-driven. Many people would send their kids to school if schools were good. The Rightists, on the other hand, are going to dislike the schools even more if they get better. Perhaps outlawing home-schooling is out of the question, but we can make tougher criteria for who can do it, and make the evaluation of home-schooled kids' progress such that test-taking of memorized material won't do any more. I want to see the kids EXPLAIN how natural selecton works.

Some people have stated that Barack Obama's "One America" speech is better than John Edwards' "Two Americas" speech because the former is a unifying and the latter a divisive theme. I disagree. Their speeches are essentially the same, but have a different effect. Obama's speech provides a powerful vision for a possible future, but in the back of your mind you think "Yeah, right, One America my ass. We know better than that". It is a static image. Edwards' speech is dynamic: it moves from a diagnosis of the obvious division into Two Americas, and shows how the two can be fused into One. His speech is a call to action, not an "I'm OK, you're OK" platitude. It gives more hope because it shows how a naive dream can actually be turned into a reality. It provides a concrete plan for doing so and shows it is within the realm of possible. Now can you imagine those two ways of addressing the same thing working together? What a powerful message that would be! Isn't Edwards/Obama a dream team for 2008?

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