Thursday, June 18, 2009

Motivations for creating this new blog - deja vu all over again!

Most of you may know that I am very active in the verified voting movement. Part of my reason for getting involved was that I saw people take positions on voting matters that were very peculiar. It wasn't that they held different opinions than those I held on voting and other matters - it was why they held those positions.

With very few exceptions, the people I associate with are very intelligent people who hold opinions which are largely well thought out. But on issues that are very technical or detail oriented, many people tend to glaze over and defer to people - especially in the Progressive movement - who they respect or maybe even know personally. IRV is a perfect example of this. Even when you show someone that IRV doesn't do something others claim it does - they don't want to believe it.

So it made me wonder - why do people trust the opinions of others without checking the facts, and still hold those opinions when the facts disprove the basis for their opinion? Do we have too many sources of information for us to be able to weigh the value of the information - and just rely on networking and personal relationships - or even "truthiness" to form our opinions?

And what of the motivations of those people who work for non-profit and non-governmental organzations - and also those people who fund those groups? For example, we know that the health care industry created faux astro-turf groups with names that suggested they were for improving health care in order to battle the Clinton health care reforms of the early 1990s. Is it that much of a stretch to imagine that voting machine companies or the health care industrty would create foundations to fund NPO/NGOs to influence or even divide progressive thought to prevent the formation of a real grassroots movement to deliver real election, health care or other reforms?

For that matter, could elected officials build separate grassroots organizations which are parallel to political parties, that give people the feeling that they are doing something when they are in fact doing very little? Is this being done to prevent people from really joining together in a political party where they realize they have leverage and power to influence government and elected officials that pose a threat to the elected officials themselves? What if the political parties consent to being taken over by these parallel organizations that are really responsible to the politicians and not to the rank and file grassroots members and officers of the political party?

To me it looks a lot like those kiddie car seats I sat in as a child - ridding up front with my dad. I had a steering wheel, turn signal and horn - just like daddy had. And it made me feel like I was really steering the car. Of course we all know that I wasn't really driving the car - my dad was. Nothing I was doing had any real effect on what was happening. My dad determined where we went, how fast or slow we drove - he had all the control. But it sure made me feel like I had something to do with it - until I got old enough to know better.

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