In my previous post on civics, I talked about the structure of the federal government and how it works. Knowing that is a fundamental part being able to get things accomplished, as well as knowing what needs to be fixed. Ideals are wonderful, but if you don’t know how to make those ideals become reality, they’ll remain just that. Ideals. Nice theoretical constructs, but nothing that actually happens. But that’s just one of several governments you should be concerned about if you’re talking about getting progressive ideals into progressive reality. As it turns out there’s another 50 to look at, and yes, the Constitution as well as Congress gives them certain responsibilities. Those are the states.
Tag Archives: frustrati
Back in my IT days, one of the banes of my existence was “the friend who knows something about computers.” Hearing that phrase meant that I was in for a long, involved effort to repair not just the original problem, which would have been a quick fix, but to repair what the helpful friend had done. I’ve run into it in other fields, and it is often put as “They know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to know what they’re doing.” What would cause me to think back to that? Over the past few weeks, I’ve been running into a lot of the more rabid Bernie Sanders supporters, and what has stood out in those encounters is that they don’t understand government. In particular, they don’t understand the government this country operates under.
This past week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced that he would enter the Democratic primaries to run for President. Given the amount of buildup, leaks, and hype before this in various sectors of the press, it was one of the least surprising announcements since Hillary Clinton’s announcement. In the build-up to this, and now after the announcement, various “progressive” sites have been swooning over it. One of the common threads through them is that even if – and they’ll admit it’s more likely than not – he doesn’t win the nomination, he’ll “push Hillary (or whomever is the nominee) to the left.” There’s also a lot of chatter about the need to keep pushing the nominee to the left, to make sure they stay there. All of which is fine, except for what they ignore: It doesn’t really matter how far to the left a presidential candidate is.
In the South Pacific, there’s a set of beliefs which are known as “cargo cults.” While they may seem ridiculous at times to Westerners, they make sense in terms of a society attempting to explain something in terms of that society.
Since the modern manufacturing process is unknown to them, members, leaders, and prophets of the cults maintain that the manufactured goods of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors. These goods are intended for the local indigenous people, but the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake. Thus, a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members.
Many of the rituals mimic what they saw during various times, particularly World War II. There are “airfield,” “control towers,” and so on, all designed to influence the gods to redirect the cargo to them. So what does that have to do with politics?