When will we wake up?


We had organic solvents dumped into West Virginia rivers thanks to lack of regulatory concern. We’ve got Republicans rah-rah-rahing for fracking, which risks our aquifers…and of course, they want to run the leaky ol’ XL pipeline across our midwestern farmland. And now 400,000 people in Ohio are without drinking water, and are draining the markets in Michigan of bottled water. What’s causing this problem?

The annual algae blooms have been concentrated around the western end of Lake Erie. The algae growth is fed by phosphorous mainly from farm fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment plants, leaving behind toxins that can kill animals and sicken humans.

Somehow, we seem oblivious to the fact that we can’t poison our environment and also have a good quality of life. You can’t just say, “I’ve got good water now,” and then neglect the infrastructure that maintains that water, or worse yet, charge off and let people profit by wrecking it.

Comments

  1. hyphenman says

    Good morning PZ,

    We who live around the Great Lakes have become smug in the last few decades because we live next to 84 percent of North America’s fresh surface water and, this always blows me away, 21 percent of the World’s fresh surface water.

    We can fuck this up.

    Do all that you can to make today a better day,

    Jeff Hess
    Have Coffee Will Write

  2. says

    These aren’t concerns that can be laid at Republican feet alone. Obama is a huge champion of the XL pipeline, and Democrats have been making money — excuse me, collecting campaign contributions — hand over fist for supporting fracking, including laws that keep the contents of fracking solutions secret.

    In short, all of this is the kind of crap that arises when the only political choice voters are allowed is a Hobson’s choice.

  3. hyphenman says

    @ Gregory in Seattle No. 3

    That’s true. You’re absolutely correct. Perhaps the time is appropriate to consider opting out and voting for a 3rd Party candidate? Remember, in 1856, the Republican Party was the third party.

    Jeff

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Perhaps the time is appropriate to consider opting out and voting for a 3rd Party candidate?

    In other words, waste ones vote on a non-viable candidate? No thanks.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Considering that Freedom Industries faced only a fine of $11K for poisoning the water supply of many more than 11K US citizens, the answer to the title question is, Not This Year.

    Just imagine the fervor and frothing if the same had been done by, say, Al Qaeda…

  6. nichrome says

    @ 8 Nerd

    Perhaps the time is appropriate to consider opting out and voting for a 3rd Party candidate?

    In other words, waste ones vote on a non-viable candidate? No thanks.

    Yes – you certainly haven’t been wasting your vote choosing between Corporate Lackey Party R & Corporate Lackey Party D for the past 40 years or so…

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes – you certainly haven’t been wasting your vote choosing between Corporate Lackey Party R & Corporate Lackey Party D for the past 40 years or so…

    If you can’t tell the difference between the Dems and the Rethugs, you are so far out in left field you are like the radicals during my university days, who said the same bullshit. So no, there is a difference to us middle-of-the-road folks, and it does show up in laws enacted.

  8. Rey Fox says

    If we could just redivert pipelines of this sludge into the living rooms of all the oil and gas tycoon parasites and their government enablers…

    Sorry I got nothing more constructive today.

  9. hyphenman says

    @ Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls No. 6

    Go back and look for a video titled “Beyond The Fringe,” a British comedy group from the early ’60s that preceded Monty Python.
    In an early sketch, Dudley Moore seeks advice about going to America and asks about the politics in the colonies.

    The response goes something like this: “Well, the Americans have two political parties. They have the Republicans who are like our conservatives and they have the Democrats, who are like our conservatives.”

    That was 50 years ago. I haven’t seen much getting better. (I worked on the McGovern campaign in 1972 as a teenager and cast my first presidential vote in 1976 for Carter.) Richard Nixon would feel comfortable running on a Democratic ticket in 2016.

    Voting Democrat today, at least for Congress and the Presidency, is voting for a difference that makes no difference.

    Jeff

  10. Gregory Greenwood says

    Over in dear old Blighty we are soon going to be having fun and games with fracking as well. A couple of days a go I was listening to a programme on BBC Radio 4 that was interviewing some exec from a fracking company who was trying (and failing miserably) to make fracking seem totes safe and harmless to the environment and people. As a sampler of his attitude, when asked about the possibility of fracking compromising the potability of water drawn from boreholes, he completely avoided the question (which the interviewer shamefully allowed him to get away with) in order to chide borehole users for using boreholes, because he claims that 80% of all boreholes in the UK include toxic levels of methane dissolved in the water, a statistic airily quoted but that, so far as I can tell, has no actual basis in reality and ignores the fact that borehole owners typically have the water tested for potability before just quaffing it by the jug full, and that it is not always possible to get mains water when you live in isolated locales.

    He also refused to give any undertaking to not frack in areas of special scientific interest or otherwise fragile habitats, claiming that each case must be examined independently, and the criteria being used to determine where to frack could not be revealed because it is supposedly finaically sensitive information of use to competing companies.

    That kind of evasive misdirection does not exactly inspire confidence.

  11. Jackie says

    The wealthy conservatives and Randian Glibertarians in favor of these things are not asleep. They just don’t care.

  12. Jackie says

    I voted third party when I cast a write in vote in the last election. My state was going to go red. My vote for Obama would have been pointless. The third party candidate wasn’t going to win either, but at least I could give some support to a third party and I believe in supporting smaller parties. But, when you claim that voting for a Dem is no different from voting Repub and you don’t care about risking an election to make a point, you are saying you don’t care about women and minorities. You’re saying you don’t care about the poor and the ill. You’re saying they are collateral damage you are willing to write off. The two parties may be the same to you, but they mean a very different present day for many other people.

  13. says

    @Nerd of Redhead #8 –

    Perhaps the time is appropriate to consider opting out and voting for a 3rd Party candidate?

    In other words, waste ones vote on a non-viable candidate? No thanks.

    I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone illustrated my point. It is people like you, and everyone else who screeches “Voting for a third party is a waste!”, that has destroyed America by enforcing the political options of Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dummer. Things will never change until the electorate grows the gonads to force change.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Things will never change until the electorate grows the gonads to force change.

    And things will never change until you stop belittling the public as your inferiors, and start listening to them. Why you think your arrogant and aggressive attitude will win over anybody who doesn’t totally agree with yous is rather naive.

  15. brett says

    I think it’s the cleanliness of it that’s baiting the “Oh it’s not a big problem” conservatives with regards to environmental conservation. Some of the ugliness of the old polluted environments from before the mid-20th century is getting farther and farther in memory. It’s like how anti-vaccination folk started popping up in part because existing herd immunity meant they could get away with not vaccinating their kids and not facing real problems because of it, at first (not anymore).

  16. hyphenman says

    @ Jackie No. 17

    I get that, in the ’84, ’88 and ’04 elections I voted for presidential candidates that I didn’t really like but thought that seeing the bigger picture, regaining the White House, was important.

    In 2008 I blogged that unless he proved to be truly different, that unless he made a difference where it counted, Barack Hussein Obama would be the last Democrat I would ever vote for for president. Like Bill Clinton before him, he quickly showed, that even with a majority in both houses of the Congress, he wasn’t really interested in making meaningful change.

    The only success I can point to him for is the repeal of DOMA and that was more due to the shift in sentiment among Americans than it was his leadership. He got an easy win there and I’m glad he did, but that is not enough. He has not fought the hard fights. The Affordable Care Act was better than nothing, but not by much.

    The Democratic Party has become Republican Light.

    I don’t vote that way.

    Jeff

  17. nichrome says

    @ 11 Nerd –

    If you can’t tell the difference between the Dems and the Rethugs, you are so far out in left field you are like the radicals during my university days, who said the same bullshit. So no, there is a difference to us middle-of-the-road folks, and it does show up in laws enacted.

    I agree with hyphenman – the US national political system is utterly corrupt and broken and voting the current status quo, two one party system will change nothing. It’s like staying in a poker game that is rigged against you but you keep playing saying, “I know I’ll win a hand one of these times!” I believe this so sincerely that I emigrated from the US.

    This is a great rant on just one aspect of the corruption in government:
    http://youtu.be/RBqsREBVdqg

    I don’t want to quash your hope and optimism but until the money is out of US politics, you’re screwed.

    I’ll end this with some cheery thoughts from George Carlin ;)

  18. Gregory Greenwood says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls @ 11;

    If you can’t tell the difference between the Dems and the Rethugs, you are so far out in left field you are like the radicals during my university days, who said the same bullshit. So no, there is a difference to us middle-of-the-road folks, and it does show up in laws enacted.

    Unfortunately I must agree – neither party is even within sight of ideal, but it is a situation where you need to hold your nose and pick the least bad option. The Dems may be corporate shills all too eager to sell the entire country to the highest bidder, but the Repubs are corporate shills all too eager to sell the entire country to the highest bidder and religious fanatics many of whom eagerly anticipate an imagined apocalypse and who are waging open war on women, LGBTQ groups and bascially anyone else who isn’t a middle aged or older, cis/het middle or upper class white man.

    Putting up with the Democrats is acceptable in order to keep the Republicans out; taking a chance on a third party candidate unlikely to have the political momentum to overcome the main parties’ guaranteed core support runs the risk of a Republican win, which given their lineup of fanatics and reality-denying hardcore ideologues could quite easily spell disaster not just for the US but for the entire planet.

    This is one of those unpleasant times when it is imperative to recognise that while the lesser evil may still be evil, it is as nothing set against the possibility that by standing upon one’s principles one may allow the far, far greater evil to come too pass.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    hyphenman @ 13;

    Go back and look for a video titled “Beyond The Fringe,” a British comedy group from the early ’60s that preceded Monty Python.
    In an early sketch, Dudley Moore seeks advice about going to America and asks about the politics in the colonies.

    The response goes something like this: “Well, the Americans have two political parties. They have the Republicans who are like our conservatives and they have the Democrats, who are like our conservatives.”

    That was 50 years ago. I haven’t seen much getting better. (I worked on the McGovern campaign in 1972 as a teenager and cast my first presidential vote in 1976 for Carter.) Richard Nixon would feel comfortable running on a Democratic ticket in 2016.

    Much the same could be said about contemporary UK politics. The modern Labour Party, especially under Blair’s tenure, was more than a little reminiscient of the Conservative Party of the ’80s and ’90s, and the Lib Dems have proven their unseemly eagerness to get any whiff of power even if that means hopping into bed with Cameron and his cronies and betraying everything they supposedly stood for in the process.

    What credibly electable progressive political options are left for the UK voter? What we seem to be getting are marginally different flavours of Conservatism, where what you are really voting for is the colour of the party leader’s tie.

    It isn’t as bad as the situation in the US yet, but it certainly seems to be drifting in that direction. I choose to vote for the least toxic expression of our ever more rightward leaning politics, because one parliament under Cameron & Co is quite enough, and I would rather not have to endure another. That does not mean that I am a fan of Miliband and the rest of the current Labour lineup (rather the opposite, especially since they are on the same page as the Conservatives on all too many topics for my liking), but they are still the only electable option other than another 5 years of Cameron’s travelling clown show (unless Farage and his racist UKIP goons somehow pull off a win, but let’s not entertain that nightmare scenario just yet).

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    All you third party fans, try doing something useful other than handwringing and whinging for a change. Start petition drives in states with such capabilities (it’s hard here in Illinois) to change the ballot from first past the post to a Australian style instant-runoff ballot. The parties will hate it, but the regular people? They would probably go for it in a general election. Why? They’re afraid to vote for alternatives if their vote won’t count at the end of the day. The Australian ballot allows for their vote and preferences to count all through the process.

  20. says

    Remember, in 1856, the Republican Party was the third party.

    Well if it happens once every century and a half, we’re due any day now!

  21. blf says

    The proposed Keystone pipeline should be re-purposed and relocated… pipe the Lake Erie water to Washington DC for drinking.

    You’d get all the alleged benefits (e.g., jobs (albeit in different places), and the transporting of pollutants long distances), and some additional ones as well, such as the elimination of politicians. Furthermore, you wouldn’t have to deal the fruitcakes in the Canadian “government”.

  22. says

    I would love to see third parties in the US, your two party system is in a sorry shape, but I do not see it happening as long as there is so little representation by third parties at lower levels of government. A third part candidate is simply not going to win the presidential election with the current system, there is no base of support and concentrating on those races does not appear to be doing very much good at the moment. If you want to make the current parties sweat start working on building a base of third party voters at the local level, at state level, and eventually even in congress. They would not even have to win a majority to make a difference, imagine how different congress could be with third party candidates holding the balance of power.

  23. says

    @24, Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls:

    All you third party fans, try doing something useful other than handwringing and whinging for a change. Start petition drives in states with such capabilities (it’s hard here in Illinois) to change the ballot from first past the post to a Australian style instant-runoff ballot. The parties will hate it, but the regular people? They would probably go for it in a general election. Why? They’re afraid to vote for alternatives if their vote won’t count at the end of the day. The Australian ballot allows for their vote and preferences to count all through the process.

    Speaking as someone who has done the research and actually has a degree somewhat related to the question: IRV is a change without a difference. It’s no wonder that a Democratic tribal loyalist — which is what you persistently reveal yourself to be — would champion it. It has essentially all the flaws of “first past the post” (most notably the fact that it doesn’t address the second-guessing you’re so fond of, where people are encouraged to give their vote to a party they don’t really support but which seems more viable) but is more difficult to implement than the system we already have. And the small hints of improvement it does offer are not valid unless every voter is required to rank all the candidates, which most voters will refuse to do in practice. If you start permitting voters to say “I like candidate A and I’m not filling in the rest” then in a race with 4 or more candidates, it is possible for a candidate to “win” who would lose in a 1-on-1 contest against 2 of the other 3 candidates. (It’s not even difficult to construct a plausible scenario where such a thing would happen — based on party loyalty!) IRV is a waste of time.

    The voting system which is most likely to solve the actual problems we currently have in the real world, as opposed to addressing problems which don’t actually exist in reality, is approval voting (each voter checks as many boxes as they like, and the candidate with the most votes wins). It has its flaws as well — every voting system does; if they didn’t we would have a single one which was universally recognized as “the best” — but the flaws in that system are ones which are don’t currently match the problems which people changing the voting system are trying to attack.

    A question for you, though: how far can the Democrats go before you actually say “enough is enough” and refuse to vote for them? They’ve abandoned and then attacked the unions, they campaign on anti-abortion rhetoric (“nobody likes abortion” — I seem to recall Hillary Clinton saying that in 2008), they vote for wars, they carry out wars against countries Congress has refused to declare war against (Libya), they drone-bomb innocents and reserve the right to assassinate U.S. citizens, they blatantly stand with polluters and corrupt banksters, they jail dissidents and prosecute whistleblowers, they adopt right-wing policy written by Republicans (like the ACA) shamelessly and without a murmur (and only the fact that the Republicans are confident that they’ll get their way either way permits the Republicans to pretend to resist). Where do you draw the line, if you haven’t done it yet? What act could they possibly commit which would actually make you say “no more” if you haven’t done it already?

    I remember an old Watergate trial Doonesbury cartoon where two senators were complaining that no matter how horrible Nixon’s behavior was, the defense was claiming it wasn’t an impeachable offense, and finally one of them says “if only he’d knock over a bank or something” to which the reply was “then we’d have him!” Is that seriously what it would take? Would a Democrat have to go buy a semiautomatic and fire into a crowd to shake your loyalty? If that’s your answer, then I’m sure it’s coming, because they’ve repeatedly demonstrated that they will push as far as they can in the direction of reprehensible behavior as long as their loyalists are willing to look the other way.

  24. unclefrogy says

    there was a time there when I was some what optimistic about the future as managed by those in power (who ever they are) that things would be some what OK that we would avert the worst parts of the coming disasters.
    We did seem to avoid the “Nuclear Holocaust” (I hope we just did not just put it off instead) just barely
    we did begin to control pollution for acid rain
    the only way we will begin to make any real meaningful changes I am afraid will require things to get much much worse.
    I was trying to find a quote from George Orwell about believing all sorts of things that even when proven wrong twisting thing so as to sound like they were not wrong and how this mostly ends on a battle field but I gave up. I have on my wall as a reminder that I am often wrong.
    My fear is we will have to see some (a lot?) death and destruction resulting from our actions and our inaction before we change course.
    uncle frogy

  25. says

    I would love to see third parties in the US, your two party system is in a sorry shape, but I do not see it happening as long as there is so little representation by third parties at lower levels of government.

    The bottom line is that there will never be significant ‘third parties’ in a First Past The Post electoral system such as prevails in the U.S. and U.K. unless one of the current 2 parties is in complete collapse for some reason. The most practical option would be to do what the religious right did a few decades back to the Republicans : Get a bunch of real progressives into the Democratic party apparatus; precinct captains and suchlike, and thereby gain control of who the party nominates. The problem with this is that it takes loads of money, and unlike the Right, big-money sponsors tend not to go for progressive politics.

  26. says

    I am pretty sure when the deniers can no longer be heard over the destruction of our natural resources, people will do what they always do. And the people unfortunate enough to inherit what is left will have to pick up the pieces. That is if there is anyone left. I can reasonably see a collapse of the US within my lifetime, 10 years ago it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind with any real concrete evidence.

    Now we cannot even demand to know how our food is produced. And anyone trying to expose a company for breaking food processing laws can face prison time if they cannot get footage outside the property of the business.

  27. Amphiox says

    The direct consequence of voting for a third party right now on the left is that the Republicans will win the next few elections.

    That may not make a difference with regards to corporate and environmental policy, but it will make a HUGE difference in women’s rights, immigration, health care, and foreign policy, among other things.

    And I for one do not think it a good thing to throw the women off the bus like that.

    To say that the GOP and the Democrats are no different is equivalent to saying that birds and bats are no different because they both fly and shit on you.

    It takes a peculiar kind of fixation on only one set of metrics for comparison, and a notably arrogant and privileged presumption that only the metrics you care about matter.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And anyone trying to expose a company for breaking food processing laws can face prison time if they cannot get footage outside the property of the business.

    Given I work under a FDA regulated facility, you do need to cite where the FDA will not both visit/audit said sites, and especially after they receive a legitimate complaint of grievous non-compliance.

  29. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    I would vote third-party, but I recognize there is a clear and present threat with the modern republican party that should be tackled with regard to other vitally important human rights issues. Voting third party may be what I ultimately would love to do (or rather, vote in a Democrat with vetted progressive stats), but it is unconscionable to allow the chance that the Republicans are able to do more destructive shit to our society. If you really do not see a difference between R and D these days then I’m not sure what else will convince you. Between the shutdown, the obstruction, the filibusters, the anti-woman agenda, I do not see a vote in the third party direction having any impact on a large scale due to the scattershot approach third-party campaigns use to reach people. Practically the only thing I ever hear about third parties is that those who vote third party don’t think their vote is a waste… Not a very convincing argument from the devotees, especially when the screeching comes from people who declare Rs and Ds exactly the same, disregarding fairly obvious distinctions.

  30. says

    The only wasted vote is one you cast, against your better judgement, for someone other people tell you you have no choice but to vote for.

  31. chigau (違う) says

    I have a Technical Question (AKAJAQ).
    Fantasy scenario: the aliens came and wiped all the brains.
    What would happen in the USA if no one voted Dem or Rep?
    How would TheSystem handle it?

  32. lpetrich says

    What Dalillama, Schmott Guy #31 described is called Duverger’s law, after sociologist Maurice Duverger, who studied the effects of different voting systems on party compositions.

    First past the post, what the US and the UK use, gives rise to two major parties. Runoff systems are somewhat third-party-friendly, but the best is proportional representation, where parties get seats in proportion to the numbers of votes for them.

    Short of implementing alternatives to FPTP, one ought to get involved in the primaries, as the teabaggers have done.

  33. Anri says

    Jafafa Hots @ 39:

    The only wasted vote is one you cast, against your better judgement, for someone other people tell you you have no choice but to vote for.

    I actually didn’t say voting for a third party progressive candidate is wasting your vote.
    It is actively helping elect a Republican, but that’s not necessarily wasting a vote. Depending on your goals, of course.

  34. hyphenman says

    @ Anri No. 43

    I, for one, understand that fear is never a good reason to make a choice. If the best case a candidate, or those who support that candidate, can make in favor casting a vote for them is fear of what the other candidate might do, then the candidate has no good reason for running for office and certainly is not worthy any citizen’s vote.

    Jeff

  35. says

    It’s unclear that proportional representation would make a real difference. Such systems are dominated by center-left and center-right parties anyway, which is exactly what you’d expect in a democracy. Instead of forming coalitions before the election like we do in the USA, they form coalitions after the election. Big whoop.

    The real problem with leftier-than-thou types is that they lack the numbers and influence to control the center-left coalition. The idea that this will change just because we change our voting system is foolish. As is the idea that the proper response to an environmental disaster is to launch an attack on the Democrats, a behavior too stupid for words.

  36. Marc Abian says

    PR would allow everyone to vote for third parties, and still vote democrat. PR would have probably allowed Gore to get elected in 2000, which is surely a “real difference” by any meaningful definition.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hyphenman still sounds as illogical and as idiotlogically pure as the radicals during my college days. Do what you want. Just shut the fuck up, as you have nothing cogent to say on how I cast my vote. That responsibility for that was up to me, or anybody else, last time I checked. You have had your say. Which is all you can do.

  38. says

    PR would have probably allowed Gore to get elected in 2000, which is surely a “real difference” by any meaningful definition.

    Instant run-off voting might have resulted in a Gore win. Proportional representation would not have, unless we start having multiple presidents.

    Another way in which Gore could have won is if the people who voted for Nader would have just voted for Gore.

  39. anteprepro says

    Seriously, how is this so hard? You will know when a third party candidate is viable. It will be obvious. Until that part, until you get a groundswelling of support for a third party candidate, there are only two viable options. If you vote for a third party candidate anyway, but you still would have preferred one of the two options to the other, then you just supported the one you didn’t prefer by omission. And Democrats aren’t great, but they aren’t evil. Republicans are ridiculously bad. I cannot believe anyone who regularly reads this blog, or any of the blogs on the FTB network, could convince themselves otherwise.

  40. Marc Abian says

    Instant run-off voting might have resulted in a Gore win. Proportional representation would not have, unless we start having multiple presidents.

    I’m surprised. It turns out that you are exactly correct. It is my constitution which is wrong in its terminology.

    Replace PR with instant run-off in my post above. #46

  41. Nick Gotts says

    What credibly electable progressive political options are left for the UK voter? What we seem to be getting are marginally different flavours of Conservatism, where what you are really voting for is the colour of the party leader’s tie. – Gregory Greenwood@23

    Which is why I’m campaigning for Scottish independence!

    First past the post, what the US and the UK use, gives rise to two major parties. – lpetrich@41

    Tends to, but two-party dominance has been in steady decline in the UK (and in Canada, which also has FPTP) for several decades. In 1951, Conservative and Labour between them won over 97% of the vote. In 2010, that was down to 68%, and may well go lower in 2015. The USA really is unique in the extent of 2-party dominance; the Dems and repubs seem practically to have inserted themselves into the constitution (official registration of party affiliation, legal gerrymandering, voting for judges who advertise their political partisanship…)

    It’s unclear that proportional representation would make a real difference. Such systems are dominated by center-left and center-right parties anyway, which is exactly what you’d expect in a democracy. – Area Man@45

    They are (usually) dominated by those parties because that’s (usually) who most people vote for. But it does make a real difference: a much wider range of political voices get to be heard. The USA, which has a system that might have been designed to prevent new parties emerging (I note that none have for well over a century), so if both are captured by the corporate elite, you’re completely stuffed, and your country is no longer, in any real sense, a democracy. Revolution is the only viable option.

  42. says

    ..the Dems and repubs seem practically to have inserted themselves into the constitution (official registration of party affiliation, legal gerrymandering, voting for judges who advertise their political partisanship…)

    That stuff isn’t in the Constitution and isn’t even practiced in many (or most) states. And the idea that 3rd parties could compete if there weren’t party registration or elected judges is kind of crazy.

    But it does make a real difference: a much wider range of political voices get to be heard.

    Political voices can be heard anytime they want as long as there is free speech and they have the money and organizing muscle to get their message out. What they don’t necessarily have is power. But this is just as true in proportional representation systems. Only those parties invited to join the winning coalition have any power. Arguably, the US is much better at giving power to minority views through its separation of powers and multiple systemic veto points (though these mostly function as status quo facilitators, and are hence a net negative in my view). The real problem in the US is that the majority can’t govern if a minority interest is sufficiently motivated and can work any one of the many veto points, which is the situation we’re in now, with the entire Republican Party having decided that they’ll burn the place down rather than accept the humiliation of Democratic control.

    Revolution is the only viable option.

    If you could convince a critical mass of people to revolt, violently or otherwise, you could surely convince enough people to vote for systemic change. And therein lies the problem. Left-wing dreamers simply cannot muster enough votes to elect their ideologically pure candidates (before they inevitably turn on them). The idea that voting 3rd party or changing the voting system will solve this problem is delusional. What you need is more people who agree with you.