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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

My American Second Life friends are very proud of their Obama. You know what the rest of us think? We’re bored already: The rhetoric is the same, he’s even referring to God in his speeches (ever heard of separating church and state, plus aren’t you guys meant to be anti religious-warfare / terrorism..?), I cannot get excited about him and I am not alone. Hell, let’s take a peak at the top story on the main New Zealand website I browse, here. Is it about how Obama will change the world..? No, it’s about the security measure for his inauguration. Cause that’s the most exciting thing to be noted about him at this point in time apparently. Oh it gets better. I’m watching our 10:30pm news – one of our main sources of news coverage for the day. And you know what they’re doing? They are providing snippets from Jon Stewart’s show pointing out the similarities between Bush and Obama. It’s funny, and it’s true! And it’s funny, I like funny.

Now let’s be fair, New Zealand recently had a major election and a change of government too – for the past nine years we had the same rubbish in power and they’re finally out. And I was sooo excited about it. And I was sooo wrong to be. Because at the end of the day it’s all the same rubbish. Boy am I glad I voted with my principles and not just for “change”. I’ll let you know if any “change” turns up at this end, right now it’s looking pretty unlikely.

I’m sure some people outside America care a lot about Obama being in power – but chances are high they like him cause his skin is darker than Bush’s. Which is racist if you ask me. Not that you did ask, but if you did, let me just say: That’s racist. Some people outside America will like him for his policies, which are what again? Change right? OK, it’s a pretty word, but despite watching months of endless American politics coverage I am still wondering “what change..?”

Oh I don’t like Bush either, don’t get me wrong here. I’m just sick of Obama. My husband is sick of Obama. My Second Life friends who don’t live in America, are sick of Obama. And it’s only day one.

Well you know what they say and they say it for a reason, I’ll let The Who do it for me cause they do it so well…

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war…

There’s nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight…

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

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It’s a common saying: If you want to stay on good terms with someone, don’t talk about politics, sex or religion. I can handle the sex topic – throw at me whatever you got, I can keep up and maybe even out-scare you. I can handle religion cause I was bought up smothered in it and I find arguing with people who believe in it rather ridiculous most of time; we all know their arguments and the replies to them can be trotted out without too much hassle. But politics? Touch politics with me to any real depth and I will not be merciful, because without politics, the horrors of various religions, prejudices, hatreds, ignorances, all have little in the way of teeth. But you give those things the force of law, you put them in politicians’ minds and let them vote or order them into wars, and you make it my problem. You ruin my world, you endanger my son’s life. And this powerful thing – this “politics” – is by far the least understood of the three topics.

If you ask someone what their politics are and they answer “left-wing” or “right-wing” straight away you know you have so much ground work to do that you best give up unless you have a few hours to spare or a lot of long-term patience. The left-wing / right-wing divide and terminology is one of the most unhelpful and mis-used ones I know of. The worst part of it is the huge number of people who think that if they hate what the “other side” believes then the furtherest they can get away from it the more correct and moral they are; I need to explain this because it’s an important point: Just because you hate right-wing politics, doesn’t mean the most extreme left you can go makes you a good person. That sort of reasoning is based on a false dichotomy that leads to huge and far reaching errors.

Second overlooked point of huge significance here: Your politics reflects your understanding of metaphysics, epistemology, logic and ethics. The politics we have are based on beliefs in these other areas. If you are not aware of the corollaries of your beliefs – of what they imply about your existence, your ability to know, your reasoning and your morality, then it might be time to do a bit of self-education and figure it out. This is serious stuff, this is not the playground: You shouldn’t have the right to vote away my fundamental rights but because of democracies that exist without constitutions, or because of constitutions that are ignored or purposefully perverted, you have that “right”. So you better start thinking about what you’re voting for and what it’s doing to other people’s lives. You should want to understand the consequences of your political beliefs – don’t blindly follow the pack. And don’t blindly rebel against the pack either. Think. Reason. Study. Understand. If you cannot clearly explain your own point of view, then why do you hold it? Question yourself until you find the answers. Best place to start that process in my experience, is this simple ten question quiz; please do it, it’s worth the brief minute or two of your life to find these things out.

You might not be able to deal with epistemology and other fancy terms, OK, I’m not an expert in everything either so let’s make it simpler. Do you at the very least understand economic theory? Because politics and economics are very closely intertwined. Do you realise that the economy is not a fixed pie where just because someone else gets more another person gets less, or do you say empty phrases like “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” whilst never having looked at true graphical representations of what happens under, lets say communism versus capitalism?

Let’s say you don’t have a grasp of that either, alright, let’s take it down one more notch. Are you aware of the realities of various political theories, of what it is like to actually live under the regime you want so badly to see in power? Do you dismiss (as so many people do), a political regime as evil because you haven’t separated the question of economic versus personal freedom at play in country you have in mind? Are you using the correct terminology when you claim that one country is “capitalist” let’s say, when really it is a mixed economy that any pure capitalist would call evil?

*sighs*

So you want to set me on fire, you want to risk ruining my opinion of you because I end up thinking you’re evil, ignorant, or both, then get me talking about politics and let’s see where it takes us. Who knows, maybe I’ll instead end up thinking you’re incredibly intelligent, well-informed, or at least willing to learn. If I care about retaining your friendship chances are I will ever so delicately steer the topic in another direction though, because to me this is make-or-break stuff. If I very deeply care about you and think you have potential, chances are I will encourage you to question your views and get into proper thoughtful conversations with me about it, because I want to see you live a better happier life, and knowledge and understanding gives us that potential. It’s a risky business deciding which approach to take with people sometimes: Avoid, confront or converse. Most of the time, at least in Second Life where I just want to relax and try to forget about the real world for a little while, I’ll just stick to the safe topics; sex and religion.

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How can I explain what happened last night in my country, to people in SL? I went on about it enough in SL on election day and said I would similarly pester them with the result today (the day after), but I can’t!

Yes, our government changed away from who’s been ruling us for the past nine years. But I can’t explain why that matters unless I first explain Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) compared to First Past the Post. And I’m not going to do that because as fascinating and vital as it is to me and my life, it would bore you. And for any of that to hold any meaning I’d have to then talk about the difference between the Parties – which is reflected most strongly in the leaders, and that’s at least another hour right there.

The MMP discussion that you don’t want to hear would also be required to explain why the little Parties can mean the world here, and why the small increase in voters for the Party I am loyal to means so very much to me.

I could talk about the immense changes in our political landscape caused by two of our most passionate and influential politicians losing their roles as leaders of their Parties in parliament over the next three years, but their names would mean nothing to you and you’d just nod politely and zone out.

OK, so what if I at least talked about how my own electorate changed hands for the first time in at least a decade..? Nope, how can I talk about that unless I explain to you how our electorates work, and about the relevance of the fact that the boundaries were shifted to include a classic strong-hold of the new Party? Can’t do it – well can, but you wouldn’t want me to.

Part of the international aspect of SL is that you can’t talk freely about things like your own country’s politics without having a lengthy and rather boring explanation first – which I don’t have to bother with with my countrymen. I’m expected to learn about the UK and the USA system and try to follow it and care because there are so many of them in SL and because their countries “matter”… Well the most important country in my life is my own, I love it, I want to spend my entire life here – and even though world politics impact now and then on us, the decisions and policies of my country’s leading Party touches me and my family every single day is just about every conceivable way.

So I decided that the best post I could give on the election is the one I just did. One that had no real substance and just reflected on the pointlessness of me trying to explain to my SL friends what happened here last night – and that even if I did explain it to them they likely simply would not care, because we’re small and unimportant. But I’m happy, I am elated, and I know they will care about that ^^

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Tomorrow I get to vote in my own country’s general elections. No one else in the rest of the SL world much seems to care so prrrffftttt, I’m gonna blog on it anyway *snuggles comfortably into her cosy corner of the world*

I’m going to vote, oh yes I am. And I am not going to vote for either of the two main Parties, cause hello, boring much. Well, besides it being boring, neither of them even come close to representing my personal views on either social or economic freedom. Rather, I’m going to vote for a Party that actually thinks freedom is kinda cool. Yay them. Cause you know, freedom is kinda cool *hugs freedom*

Incidentally – and it actually is incidental – my husband is on the Party list of the party group getting my vote. Yep, if they actually won enough seats he’d be in parliament. Neat aye. I was on the list myself a couple of elections back, cause I rock. I’d totally vote for myself, wouldn’t you..? The point of this extra diatribe is that one of the founding reasons me and my man got married is because our beliefs – about religion, politics, economics – mesh in a lovely coherency that most couples could only dream of. Everyday I get to have meaningful philosophical discussions with him if I want to (and I often want to), and we make sense to each other and we nod lots and all is happiness and sunshine. Well, not all, but close enough.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, voting. Gonna do it, gonna love it, and gonna walk out of that community hall voting booth knowing I voted with honesty and integrity, for freedom for all! YAY! And then I’ll go home and watch election coverage for a chunk of the night and will cross my fingers that the government changes (cause our current one is unapologetically socialist). And if it does change, even though it won’t be my Party leading the country, I’ll be happy anyway. And then the next day I’ll read in the newspaper the statistics for how my own Party did, and they’ll be low but it’ll make me happy I was one of the few rational people who voted :p

And then I’ll realise I spent the whole day fluffing around with election crap and will realise I have a deadline for marking a bunch of exams and will panic a little and get on with it again. Incidentally (word of the day that one), all this exam marking and voting stuff will mean I’m not in SL nearly as much as I usually am, for the next few days. But I’ll be back (said in an Arnie voice cause he’s cool and I like to think I’m cool too. Don’t look at me like that. I am cool. I… oh I give up, leave me alone). Will miss seeing ya all, missed it today, but it won’t be long until I’m back standing on your heads, hiding in your wings, and riding rockets by your sides ❤

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Nifty quote time!:

[0:32]  Landsend Korobase: there’s an election here tomorrow :p
[0:32]  SL Friend: anything important?
[0:33]  Landsend Korobase: haha, yeah. For who runs the country for the next 3 years o.O
[0:33]  SL Friend: oh you mean that’s not the Queen? 😛
[0:33]  Landsend Korobase: psh
[0:34]  Landsend Korobase: and yeah :/
[0:34]  Landsend Korobase: we are still under the queen o.O
[0:34]  SL Friend: in some weird way
[0:34]  Landsend Korobase: yep, but not the sexy way, cause ew

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