How Elections Work in America

I’m not sure whether this week’s comic was about the short sightedness and ignorance of the American people, or the weakness of our corrupted two-party system. Maybe it’s both.

In other news, I went down to the Daily Show/Colbert Report Rally to Restore Sanity/Rally to Keep Fear Alive this past weekend. It was great! It was so nice to be around so many nice, calm people who shared the same beliefs. More than 200,000 of them, to be exact. Of course the event was billed as non-partisan, and the guys on stage did a pretty good job of pulling that off, but the crowd on the other hand was 100% liberal, at least from what I saw. I brought two two-sided signs. Here’s a look at one side of them:

The other sides of the signs said:

I’m reasonable as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore unless you convince me otherwise with a rational argument.

America: Love it or leave it, or stay because it’s your constitutional right to do so.

So the signs were a big hit and a ton of people stopped us to take pics of them (along with my bad haircut). But one person did NOT like them. He was a middle-aged dude with his wife and teenage sons, and they were definitely not in town for the rally. After it was over, he saw us leaving the grounds and said loudly: “Hey, there are those people who said they’d leave the country if Bush won! But look, they’re still here!” We tried to ignore him, but then he came up to me since I was holding the tax sign.

GUY: Let me ask you a question! Did you pay taxes last year?!

ME: Yes.

GUY: Oh really?

ME: Yes.

GUY: How much did you pay?

ME: A lot.

GUY: Oh. Sure. Well then, are there things you think our taxes shouldn’t pay for?!

ME: Yes. For instance, we have a bigger military budget than the rest of the world combined.

GUY: What about the department of education?!

I’ll spare you the rest of the conversation, but basically, from here on I proceeded to have an increasingly calm talk with this guy. I began by asking him if he was a Libertarian, and then asked him if he really believed schools shouldn’t be publicly funded, and it turned out he was more or less an advocate for states rights blah blah blah. Most importantly, the conversation ended with us both smiling and shaking hands. We even agreed on a few things, like the negative influence of lobbyists and the problems with some of our recent military efforts. There was no yelling. No screaming. No hate. It is possible β€” at least on a small scale.

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12 responses to “How Elections Work in America

  1. Hurray! Dustin, great signs, and dare I say it, a heart-warming anecdote. I love that you and he were able to have that conversation; thank you for going to the rally, and thank you for telling us about it.

  2. Good post, and great comic. Simple, but to the point – an insightful, accurate point. Sadly, most taxes pay for interest on the national debt – debt that is mostly held by the Federal Reserve, not the US Treasury. The Fed is private, largely unaudited, and its actions do not need Presidential approval. Whoever controls the money, controls everything else – the Fed controls the money, not the government or the US Treasury. Ever notice that a dollar says “Federal Reserve Note” not “US Treasury Note.” IMO, all the Fed does is create wealth for its members (Tim Geithner was one) and cause inflation and bubbles, and create money out of thin air, to pay for things like wars. I love Ben Bernanke’s charming story of how he just logged into banks’ Fed accounts and increased their balances. That’s like me logging into your bank account and just changing the numbers, willy nilly. No checks and balances, no oversight, just creating money out of thin air. Here’s a fun chart. For the non-economist, CPI is a measure of inflation.

  3. I’ve been irritated by the cycle your comic talked about for a while. As a libertarian, I’m obviously not happy with Democrats (or Republicans, to a lesser degree) in office, but I’m disappointed that we’ll never get to see the results of all of Obama’s fiscal policies, since most of them that have already passed will be repealed and he won’t be able to pass new ones. So, as a result, two years from now when our country still sucks, Democrats will say “If we had only been able to keep our people in office and actually get stuff done, we would have been able to fix such and such”, and there will be no way for people with whom I agree to argue with that. I’d rather Obama had four years to try to work things out, since two years, in which Republicans have done a decent job of slowing down his policies. Now we’ll never know if those policies were any good.
    People need to realize that there is a limit to how much a president and congress can do to help the country. If a country is full of lazy, stupid people, as I think America is, no number of economic policies can save its economy. Most Americans, however, rely on the government for everything, and think that a bad economic situation is entirely the fault of the government.

    sorry to write such a long response

  4. in the second to last sentence of my first paragraph, “since” should be replaced by “instead of”

  5. Wow, America is becoming a place where people are being forced to rely on the government for everything. Our money is becoming rapidly worthless, and we are thus becoming poorer. Poor people are then forced to turn to Big Brother for help. So said that you think America is full of “lazy stupid people.” I have an MBA, earned my Bachelor of Science in Financial Economics a year early, I’m a CPA, and have three other professional certifications – and I’m FEMALE on top of that. If you said that I am “lazy and stupid” to my face.. hoo boy, I’d cut you so fast you’d bleed out before you knew what would happen. oh, yeah, I’m also an NRA pistol shooting instructor – I can shoot a 2 inch group of 30 rounds from 45 feet, sucka.

  6. I think there is one thing we can alll agree with and be clear on. That Americans, lazy or not, tea party or tree hugger are all morons and the world would be much better without them.

  7. But Tom, without Americans, there would be no Dustinland.

  8. Tom
    You shouldn’t make general statements like that about large groups of people:
    tea party and tree huggers are all morons.
    Firstly, the tea party is made of a large variety of people with broadly varying political beliefs, united in their desire for limited government, especially in terms of the economy.
    I assume you mean by “tree huggers” people who care about and wish to protect the environment. Protecting the environment is a pretty good idea, as far as I can tell.

    You best be trollin

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