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[personal profile] bursar42
The raspberries are almost ripe. They're a little more tart than usual. Also, this year, they're domestic raspberry bushes, so picking the berries no longer actually draws blood. It's great.

So. Here's my issue with the GOP. I, being the lily-livered, waffling Pinko I am, am leary of anyone who is intent on governing with the resounding motto Deus vult. Aside from the inability to engage such people in reasonable debate because of the question-begging nature of any of their assertions, there's the inability to accept other viewpoints (something the Democrats may be too good at). All of these things lead to a refusal to compromise, something democracy relies upon, something the two oldest democracies seem to be having trouble with lately. This manifests itself in such excesses as the "Nuclear Option", Rangel (D-NY) being kept out of a conference committee, despite being appointed by the minority, and the ridiculous exercise [Sorry for the poor link, but what can you do?]we saw a year ago when some Congressmen decided to hold up a bill in committee until someone had a chance to actually read the bill.

Why is this refusal to compromise bad? Because it breaks the system. The System, of course, is there to prevent the tyranny of the majority. Consider, for example, the Nuclear Option. For the entire history of the Congress, it has taken 2/3 of voting members to change the rules, not a majority. Even when a party has had 2/3, this rule, and many other fundamental rules, have never changed significantly (at least not to purposely benefit one party). Never did the Jeffersonian Republicans do it. Never did the Radical Republicans of Reconstruction do it. It breaks the system, the system which allows there to be a meaningful "loyal opposition", as the British put it. The opposition has a say and can influence things while having a real shot at (re-)gaining power. This is the feature of mature democracies which prevents the formation of paramilitary "parties" with armed goons (read as Red, Black, Brown, &c. Shirts). It means the Democrats have get out the vote drives and don't bomb polling places. But the Republicans are too short-sighted to understand all this because they're too busy looking at "eternal values" and believing themselves to be acting as the right hand of the Most Holy One to see damage done to the unwritten fabric of our political system.

This paragraph is here to remind me why I like the humanities. You can ignore it. Today, I spent a while chatting with my aunt. For a while, she was a nun who taught school in the poorest parts of Brooklyn (the ones where people want to be so lucky as to live in the projects), then she taught school in Panama. And so forth, until she quit the nunnery and became a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society. Really interesting lady. Anyhow, we got to talking about politics, the War, the war in Iraq, religion, the magazine America, the fortune of the Christian Science Monitor, and other things of more local interest, like the fate of one of the neighbors from half a century ago. At any rate, this has led me to sort of think about what I want to be when I grow up. Periodically, I get this ridiculously strong desire to do something mathematically oriented. Engineering, physics. Then I read an excerpt of something by Origen, for example, and I want to be a theologian (or something similar). It's kind of odd, these radical shifts. It would be nice if I had any idea what I was good at. But I've got at least four years to decide what that is, so we'll have fun guessing until then.
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May 2007

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