Do we have a democracy in the US, or a plutocracy? Or somewhere in between? Or something completely different? How much does money really influence American politics?

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I vote for Democratic Presidents. It does feel pretty useless. I didn't vote when Gore lost, and I just wonder how people feel who voted for him and know that in reality he won but we ended up with 8 years of GWB instead. I did then vote for Kerry, who lost, and then Obama, who won. But then look at what has happened since. Okay, things would have been even worse if it were McCain/Palin (shudder), but Obama didn't take any stand against the banks, he didn't pass a truly national healthcare system, he didn't do a lot of things that the left stands for. He took a middle road approach, a compromised approach, which, being better than what those on the right are advocating, isn't a truly leftist alternative. So we on the left have to choose between going full right or some compromise with the right. We don't have a true democracy where our voices are represented. So revolution becomes a real alternative for us.
The problem with Obama is that he believed so much in compromise in a civilized manner, but you can't compromise with hostile people who won't budge. So he ended up caving in. The man was just too nice for the circumstances at hand. Let's see if he learned his lesson with his new jobs plan -- the Democrats and we intelligent :-) people have to support him, but he alone has the veto power -- let's see if he can use it.

Sorry to barge in, hijack the thread, and try and talk you into voting. I understand if you are hell bent on not voting and respect that and won't bug you again and corporations do rule us for sure.

But, just want to respectfully ask that you please consider Voltaire's' famous quote "the perfect is the enemy of the good."  Meaning, if we will only accept the perfect we pass up chances to do some imperfect good. Some call it the lesser of the evils but it is more than that. In terms of physical or social evolution things happen in tiny increments.  Think of your vote as an ultra tiny increment, it actually does influence evolution in the long run. 


Think of me as the crazy old atheist auntie down the street that's always trying to get you to vote.   :)

An excellent, thought-provoking quote, Anne. However, in defense of Richard, asking someone to vote can be kind of like asking them to spit into the air so as to spark a thunderstorm. Our system of voting is nowhere close to good - it is atrocious, and the quote is therefore not appropriate to this situation. Saying that someone like Richard isn't voting because he is not completely satisfied with the way the system works doesn't do him justice. It's not like he is waiting for the perfect candidate to come along or something. He rejects the argument that our votes really even count for anything. Sure, in certain situations it can be important to get out there - I am not completely defending his position. But in nation-wide elections when even the states usually get decided by millions of votes, it is not being defeatest to say that it is pointless - it becomes pretty realistic. Voter apathy is, in a sense, a political statement, a way of protesting against the system, and I would not take that away from anyone.
I have 2 teenagers so I'm used to being futile. :)  I understand both of you and sorry for sounding like your ex-fil.  ew!   My point is for example the Bush elections. More voters could have had an impact and Ralph Nader splitting the votes changed the outcome. Sheer numbers of votes can out muscle the corruption in some cases.  IMHO, not voting does not pass Kant's test of universality. If everybody didn't vote, things would be even worse than they are. What is the alternative?  </soap box>
Another good quote Anne, but again I would disagree with your application of it. I think it does pass Kant's universality test if one asks, should everyone refrain from voting when the system is, not just flawed, but corrupted? If everyone did, and there were then no votes for any candidate in a broken system, the illegitimacy of it all would only be more pronounced, and it would then be required that a new system be installed. Just a thought!
The apparent separation by nation is mostly a veneer now. National governments dance to megacorporate tunes. Since the megacorporations pulling our strings are, according to Richard Brodie, as much mind viruses as cults, I say we have a new form of global government controlled by memeplexes. Plutocracy refers to government by the wealthy. If wealthy individuals are themselves manipulated by memeplexes,  the systemic problem we face differs enough from historical plutocracies to warrant a new term.
Hmm, but weren't the wealthy individuals of former plutocracies under the influence of memeplexes, albeit of a somewhat different character? Whether governments are controlled by wealthy individuals or conglomerates of individuals, the essential characteristic of a plutocracy is that wealth translates into power for those actors. So it doesn't seem to me that a new term is necessary or even helpful. Perhaps you can clarify this point for me, Ruth?
I think the rich, like the religious, are good at creating and perpetuating memeplexes to their benefit. They capture truthiness and make money out of it.
I think we are a plutocracy soon to be a theo-plutocracy.  The definition of plutocracy includes the term "by policy".  In the beginning, couldn't only landowners vote?  That would make it a government which, by policy, is run by the rich.  Now, I think financial policies gave such power to the rich that they just took over the government.  We should take it back.

The US = Oligarchic plutocracy, and if the 'Republicans' (read: fascists worse for the average person than the Nazis) get their way you can add in 'theocratic' and 'psychopathic/pure-evil' to that description.

 

It's offensive for you to claim that the current govt., even though it is being held hostage by TP Republicans is worse than the Nazis. I don't see men, women and children being carted off to death camps, do you? The average person is ALL of us.

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