Saturday, August 29, 2009

Swing Vote


If there ever was a great commentary on our apathy as a nation, it's the movie Swing Vote. I just watched and I have to say that I was impressed with the message.

On the surface, it's played as a comedy where a total loser somehow ends up deciding the next president. There's a bit of song and dance - played for laughs - where each candidate immediately takes a position in support of whatever he says (whether or not he even understands the issue). Then he decides and the movie ends.

From that perspective, it was a terrible movie. I never laughed, his lifestyle made me really pity his daughter, and he had no redeeming qualities until the very end. They don't even tell you who he voted for.

However, it was the end that put it all into perspective. The undertone of the whole movie is the media circus that is a presidential election and how the candidates bend over backwards to appeal to people who just don't care.

In the beginning of the movie, the main character's daughter gives a report that spells out the cycle of liberty. It goes (if I remember correctly): bondage -> liberty -> prosperity -> complacency -> apathy -> bondage. The question I have (and that the movie hints at) is: are we at complacency or apathy? How many people and/or candidates actually think about what's best for their country, state, county, city, etc. when they vote and/or campaign? Do they even understand the issues they're taking a stand on? I always accuse the rank and file of America as voting for selfish reasons but I hadn't really thought about how many candidates are running for selfish reasons. The candidates say they want to make the country a better place but are they so focused on a few specific issues that they somehow think that those issues are all that matters? Probably. After all, nobody gets elected any more by putting their country first - it's just not popular enough.

The movie brought out these points and a couple of others. Some of these are as follows:
  • The main character slowly realizes that his vote really does count for something and that the issues actually have real effects on real people.
  • The candidates slowly realize that they are prostituting themselves to one man - just to get elected. The Republican who goes green and endorses gay marriage. The Democrat who goes pro-life and anti-immigration. Both end up being disgusted with themselves.
  • The media who are more obsesses with sensationalizing than actual reporting.
At the end, our "hero" becomes the voter we all should be. He knows who he's voting for and he knows why. That's the point of the movie.

It's not necessarily a good movie but it make a great statement.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Rights and Not-Rights

I stumbled upon a great little rant against liberalism. While I don't necessarily agree with everything on there, it made me smile and made me think.

Here it is:

NEW PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION

The following has been attributed to State Representative Mitchell Kaye from GA.

"We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetters. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights."

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure..

ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful. (AMEN!)

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness... Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from!

(Lastly.....)

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

AZ Budget Gets Bigger Spotlight


It seems that it's not just Arizonans that are interested in the State Budget. The New York Times is running an article about it as well. I guess the fact that a Republican governor with a Republican legislature can't seem to agree on a budget is a great news story.

The worst part of this whole fiasco is that we're so close. It seems like we're one State Senator away from passing the budget. However, the three Republican holdouts have stopped the whole thing. Then there's the Democrats who are quick to heckle the Republicans but are so angry at being sidelined that they've taken their toys and gone home (perhaps they're justified as they haven't been treated well by the Republicans).

So where do we go from here?