theferrett: (Default)
[personal profile] theferrett
In the wake of yesterday's shooting, I saw a bunch of people explaining under what circumstances they'd be happy to see a politician shot. Either it was comments on the news articles from idiot conservatives approving of the shooting of Rep. Giffords (and usually not mentioning all the other people who got killed in the process), or idiot liberals saying that it was a shame it wasn't Palin who got shot.

So let me explain when you should be happy to see a politician shot:

Never, you fucking morons.

Whenever a troublesome politician is assassinated, that sends a clear message to other would-be shooters on all sides of the spectrum: Hey, you know what's easier than convincing the public of the rightness of your cause? A bullet. And so, rather than doing the difficult work of trying to get voters motivated and on your side, they instead start working to kill people. And you know what happens when the other side starts seeing all of their idols getting shot down? They decide hey, maybe we should just kill them before they kill us.

Happens all the time in tin-pot dictatorships, man. One guy gets into power via a hail of bullets, overreaches, weakens, and the opposition steps into power via a hail of bullets. And nothing fucking changes. Because it boils down to, "Who has the gun?" and "Who can inspire the most fear?" - and that has very little to do with making things better for the little guy, or in fact having any sort of responsibility for the country at all.

Wanna know the miracle in our lifetimes? The 2000 election. That's right, in 2000, the liberals got fucking robbed by an activist Supreme Court that overreached - at least to hear them say it. All the votes weren't counted, the wrong man got into office thanks to a couple of not-really-legal conservative scumbag tactics, and the system was screwed....

...and we waited patiently for our next turn. No violent overthrow, no rebellion, just a quiet confidence. Because we knew even if there was a glitch this time, next time our votes would be counted properly, and if Bush had screwed up enough, then we could get rid of him. (As it turned out, Kerry screwed up even more with one of the worst election campaigns in ever, but that's the danger of democracy - you choose Indecisive Wooden Statue Head as your front-runner.) The miracle was that we routinely have peaceful transitions of power, because the vote is more potent than the bullet.

Whenever you cheer a politician's shooting, you are cheering for the bullet. You are cheering for a way of life that has patently not worked for millennia now, for a history of brutality and carelessness and neglect, and if there's anyone out there who doesn't deserve a vote, it's you. Yet, through the miracle of the system that lets everyone have their say, even pinheaded, short-sighted assholes like you, you do get a vote. Because the system lets everyone speak.

A bullet lets one man speak for everyone. It doesn't matter if he's on your side today. That gun doesn't care. If the gun starts to become a regular speaker, eventually it's gonna make you just as unhappy.

Date: 2011-01-10 07:46 am (UTC)
lithiana: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lithiana
You are obviously correct that killing politicians you don't like is not the right solution. It's sad that this even needs to be said (but it clearly does).

However, in the end, it always comes down to who has the gun. When the majority of the population are generally in agreement, voting is a useful device for settling disagreements such as 'Democrats or Republicans'. The vote itself, though, has no inherent power. Its power comes from the state forces -- the police and the army -- who, with the support of (the majority of) citizens, enforce the result of the vote.

It would be nice if we lived in a pure democracy where everyone peacefully accepted the result of a vote with no outside coercion, but I think it's pretty clear that this could never happen.

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