Shawlitics: The Return of Shawcial Capital

Sanrith Descartes

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This community needs a place to discuss politics like adults. Robert Putnam wrote essays and books on the collapse of social capital here in the US. Nowhere would that collapse be more evident that looking at /pol here on FOH. This came out of the action we took back in Feb/March where the Coronachan thread got split off into the shitposting thread and the grownup version where actual facts and figures could be discussed. Or as actual as the facts and figures were on any given day of the week.

One word of caution. This is the Grownup section of the board. Rules and decorum apply. Act accordingly.

Lets start here. This is usually a formality every 4 years. There is discussion that this might actually be a thing this year with Pence. I don't believe Pence will do anything other than read the votes as written, but there is a reason the Founders wrote Amendment # 12 so who knows.


For anyone interested in Putnam and what the heck social capital is and why its important to our society, start here...

 

Alex

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I do wonder what the long term impact of COVID will be on "social capital". I've honestly just gotten used to being alone. And I find it horrifically depressing. Pre-COVID I would be out and about at least five days/nights a week. After this I might be staying in that amount. And just because I've gotten used to the isolation. And that sucks. COVID - well, our reaction to it - has probably been the worst thing that's ever happened in my life.
 

wormie

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I do wonder what the long term impact of COVID will be on "social capital". I've honestly just gotten used to being alone. And I find it horrifically depressing. Pre-COVID I would be out and about at least five days/nights a week. After this I might be staying in that amount. And just because I've gotten used to the isolation. And that sucks. COVID - well, our reaction to it - has probably been the worst thing that's ever happened in my life.
Why are you alone? Is it really that you have nowhere to go? I go out a few times a week and I am in a similar shit hole state as you, thought not the same state.
 

Alex

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Why are you alone? Is it really that you have nowhere to go? I go out a few times a week and I am in a similar shit hole state as you, thought not the same state.

I just live alone. A number of friends have peaced out of the area since COVID hit. It's not like I have zero social interaction. I do hang with friends once or twice a week. But that's just not enough for the extreme extrovert that I am. And as for places to go, besides my place or friends' places what am I going to go out and do? Parks are open I guess. But my favorite things to do in this world are see live music and travel. And both of those are just not happening right now. I've never spent so much time at home. The holidays and time off have been good for me because I'm re-evaluating and taking time to think of better ways to spend my time. I've been so wrapped up in my job for the most part since March and it's not healthy.

I will say that some people here are finally starting to turn on our government. I think the glimpse of limited freedom for a few months was all we needed for people to defy the rollbacks. But I still think too many people are buying into Rona Fear for our shitty leaders to do anything about it. There's apparently going to be some NYE protest tomorrow at city hall. I wonder what the turnout will be.
 

lurkingdirk

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I just live alone. A number of friends have peaced out of the area since COVID hit. It's not like I have zero social interaction. I do hang with friends once or twice a week. But that's just not enough for the extreme extrovert that I am. And as for places to go, besides my place or friends' places what am I going to go out and do? Parks are open I guess. But my favorite things to do in this world are see live music and travel. And both of those are just not happening right now. I've never spent so much time at home. The holidays and time off have been good for me because I'm re-evaluating and taking time to think of better ways to spend my time. I've been so wrapped up in my job for the most part since March and it's not healthy.

I will say that some people here are finally starting to turn on our government. I think the glimpse of limited freedom for a few months was all we needed for people to defy the rollbacks. But I still think too many people are buying into Rona Fear for our shitty leaders to do anything about it. There's apparently going to be some NYE protest tomorrow at city hall. I wonder what the turnout will be.

I seriously feel for you, man. I have five kids and my wife, and we're even growing tired of the restrictions because we want to see other people, and we want to travel. One suggestion I have is to skype/zoom/facetime with friends. I know it isn't awesome, and it will be awkward to start with, but it's totally worth it just to get some human interaction.
 

wormie

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I just live alone. A number of friends have peaced out of the area since COVID hit. It's not like I have zero social interaction. I do hang with friends once or twice a week. But that's just not enough for the extreme extrovert that I am. And as for places to go, besides my place or friends' places what am I going to go out and do? Parks are open I guess. But my favorite things to do in this world are see live music and travel. And both of those are just not happening right now. I've never spent so much time at home. The holidays and time off have been good for me because I'm re-evaluating and taking time to think of better ways to spend my time. I've been so wrapped up in my job for the most part since March and it's not healthy.

I will say that some people here are finally starting to turn on our government. I think the glimpse of limited freedom for a few months was all we needed for people to defy the rollbacks. But I still think too many people are buying into Rona Fear for our shitty leaders to do anything about it. There's apparently going to be some NYE protest tomorrow at city hall. I wonder what the turnout will be.
Travel is happening and easy enough but yeah, RIP music events for sure. I prefer food and bars and have to travel to another state for that but I live close by so its not too bad.
 
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Alex

Still a Music Elitist
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Travel is happening and easy enough but yeah, RIP music events for sure. I prefer food and bars and have to travel to another state for that but I live close by so its not too bad.

I think I just need do my homework on where I can go to enjoy a damn cocktail or a primo meal that I didn't have to prepare myself. I am going to Cabo in late February with some folks and I am extremely excited about it. But I might have to find somewhere else to go before then. I'm a very avid world traveler and I've always had some big blockbuster trip to look forward to. And much of this COVID nonsense I haven't really had anything to look forward to. Or maybe I just need to temporarily live somewhere else again. I rented a place for about a month in Nashville a couple months ago and it was a nice change in pace.
 

wormie

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I think I just need do my homework on where I can go to enjoy a damn cocktail or a primo meal that I didn't have to prepare myself. I am going to Cabo in late February with some folks and I am extremely excited about it. But I might have to find somewhere else to go before then. I'm a very avid world traveler and I've always had some big blockbuster trip to look forward to. And much of this COVID nonsense I haven't really had anything to look forward to. Or maybe I just need to temporarily live somewhere else again. I rented a place for about a month in Nashville a couple months ago and it was a nice change in pace.
I was just looking at heading out to Lima for a week or two. Travel there is cheap, everything there is cheap and everything place shuts down at a reasonable time of 4 am. <3 Lima.
 

Alex

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Peru is indeed radical. I've only spent time in Cusco (for Machu Picchu of course) and in the Amazon jungle, but I had a really fun time. Those Peruvians like to party hard into the morning.
 
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wormie

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Peru is indeed radical. I've only spent time in Cusco (for Machu Picchu of course) and in the Amazon jungle, but I had a really fun time. Those Peruvians like to party hard into the morning.
I hiked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It was awesome. Peru is also one of the better places for foodies, my weak spot for sure. I try not to revisit places because there is so much to see out there but Peru is definitely a place to go back to over and over.
 
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ZyyzYzzy

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I'm waiting to see what restrictions flow down for OCONUS travel for work, and I will assume, general travel/passports will follow whatever those guidelines may be.
 
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Alex

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I'm waiting to see what restrictions flow down for OCONUS travel for work, and I will assume, general travel/passports will follow whatever those guidelines may be.

I think it was Ticketmaster that said they'll require some proof of vaccination to attend events this summer as states start to [presumably] resume concerts. I'm sure various country governments will require something similar.
 
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Sanrith Descartes

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I do wonder what the long term impact of COVID will be on "social capital". I've honestly just gotten used to being alone. And I find it horrifically depressing. Pre-COVID I would be out and about at least five days/nights a week. After this I might be staying in that amount. And just because I've gotten used to the isolation. And that sucks. COVID - well, our reaction to it - has probably been the worst thing that's ever happened in my life.
Yeah Coronachan might be the only thing worse than social media for our social capital in this country. PTA meetings, VFW club hangouts, bowling leagues, dart leagues. All kaput.
 
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Sanrith Descartes

I love my shiny new medal, LLR
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I just live alone. A number of friends have peaced out of the area since COVID hit. It's not like I have zero social interaction. I do hang with friends once or twice a week. But that's just not enough for the extreme extrovert that I am. And as for places to go, besides my place or friends' places what am I going to go out and do? Parks are open I guess. But my favorite things to do in this world are see live music and travel. And both of those are just not happening right now. I've never spent so much time at home. The holidays and time off have been good for me because I'm re-evaluating and taking time to think of better ways to spend my time. I've been so wrapped up in my job for the most part since March and it's not healthy.

I will say that some people here are finally starting to turn on our government. I think the glimpse of limited freedom for a few months was all we needed for people to defy the rollbacks. But I still think too many people are buying into Rona Fear for our shitty leaders to do anything about it. There's apparently going to be some NYE protest tomorrow at city hall. I wonder what the turnout will be.
Good luck. Isolation of this length isn't healthy for anyone
 

Sanrith Descartes

I love my shiny new medal, LLR
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I think I just need do my homework on where I can go to enjoy a damn cocktail or a primo meal that I didn't have to prepare myself. I am going to Cabo in late February with some folks and I am extremely excited about it. But I might have to find somewhere else to go before then. I'm a very avid world traveler and I've always had some big blockbuster trip to look forward to. And much of this COVID nonsense I haven't really had anything to look forward to. Or maybe I just need to temporarily live somewhere else again. I rented a place for about a month in Nashville a couple months ago and it was a nice change in pace.
Florida is wide open. Bars, restaurants the whole nine yard. It's like one of the last redoubts against Coronachan.
 
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sakkath

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Is there any chance of decent electoral reform in the United States?
It's probably at least a partial lack of understanding on my part, but I stare in bewilderment about aspects of how their democracy works.
As an example the electoral system seems designed on purpose to entrench a 2 party system. This seems like a sub-par democracy and can only have poor outcomes in the longer term. I'm assuming that getting this changed would require the support of at least one of the 2 major parties, who I imagine are pretty comfortable with the current system that ensures their continuing stranglehold on power.

This issue could be lessened by for example:
a) utilizing a preferential voting system, where people can vote for a 3rd party or independant, but still preference the red/blue candidate of their choice, thereby not "wasting" their vote. This provides a path for good minor parties to build a following over successive elections.
b) changing the electoral districts so you're voting multiple candidates in from one pool. Imagine for example that in California instead of having 53 separate districts each electing their blue or red member, there was a huge pool of candidates and the top 53 from that pool became congressmen. That would provide a path for decent minor party or independant candidates to get in, providing wider variety of voices. It does have drawbacks though as for example it would reduce local representation in various areas. But are local areas really represented properly by the blue/red team? I suspect not that well.

It's also pretty odd to me that federal elections in the US are managed separately by each state instead of by a central federal agency.
 

Sanrith Descartes

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Is there any chance of decent electoral reform in the United States?
It's probably at least a partial lack of understanding on my part, but I stare in bewilderment about aspects of how their democracy works.
As an example the electoral system seems designed on purpose to entrench a 2 party system. This seems like a sub-par democracy and can only have poor outcomes in the longer term. I'm assuming that getting this changed would require the support of at least one of the 2 major parties, who I imagine are pretty comfortable with the current system that ensures their continuing stranglehold on power.

This issue could be lessened by for example:
a) utilizing a preferential voting system, where people can vote for a 3rd party or independant, but still preference the red/blue candidate of their choice, thereby not "wasting" their vote. This provides a path for good minor parties to build a following over successive elections.
b) changing the electoral districts so you're voting multiple candidates in from one pool. Imagine for example that in California instead of having 53 separate districts each electing their blue or red member, there was a huge pool of candidates and the top 53 from that pool became congressmen. That would provide a path for decent minor party or independant candidates to get in, providing wider variety of voices. It does have drawbacks though as for example it would reduce local representation in various areas. But are local areas really represented properly by the blue/red team? I suspect not that well.

It's also pretty odd to me that federal elections in the US are managed separately by each state instead of by a central federal agency.
The short answer is no, its not going to change.

The long answer is its complex. "Most" of the electoral process will not change because it is laid out in the Constitution. To change our Constitution is exceedingly difficult and it was designed that way. You say "their democracy" so I assume you aren't American which means explaining things would be beyond the scope of a post. So tldr:

We are a Republic, originally envisioned as 13 separate Sovereign States who came together in a Federal system for things like having a unified voice for foreign affairs, a single currency, and a set of basic inalienable human rights that cross all state borders.

Because the Founders understood that some states by their virtue of being more rural and agrarian would never have high populations so the electoral college was designed to make sure that each state was fairly represented in the Federal Government. The majority of changes to the Electoral college require a Constitutional amendment.

Your suggestions sound like they are based on the Westminster parliamentary system. California is always trying to be more Euro and is probably the furthest from how our Founders designed the voting system. Of note, each State determines rules for non-Federal elections. The electoral college is only used for Presidential elections every four years. The states also redraw our Congressional House Districts every ten years based on a National census. The Constitution lays down rules for the Congressional structure.

In essence, we are a two-party system and the two parties like to keep it that way. The only serious challenge to that was under Ross Perot in the 90's. My guess is that Trump, should he opt to, might be able to forge a nationalist type party with enough influence to take seats in the Congress. This would begin to fundamentally challange our two-party system and would take many years to achieve real scale.