Onthewilderside posts opinion piece and contest on the subject of bipartisanship

An opinion piece and contest announcement from onthewilderside.com:

The Wilderside’s “We Want More Than Bipartisanship Contest”
by Kimberly Wilder for onthewilderside.com

Political blogger Elizabeth Benjamin caught a great line from an editorial that NY State Senate Majority Leader John Sampson (D) wrote: “Bipartisanship is the only tool that will help fix New York’s problems.”

Bipartisanship. Harumph. Why is the word “bipartisanship” such a pet peeve of mine? Because, I am a third party activist. And, I am someone who also values the right of independent citizens to run for office. So, it galls me that someone would use a word that pretends to stand for some kind of “unity” and “all-inclusiveness”, when the word actually stands for the two most powerful groups teaming-up against everyone else and smothering the political process. I do not call that “bipartisanship.” I call it the gentleman’s agreement that keeps powerful people in power, and keeps ordinary citizens out of the smoke-filled back room, and out of any meaningful input into the political process.

Jay Jacobs, who was then only a Nassau County Democratic leader, but is now, Chair of the New York State Democratic Committee, once said on the radio, “The Republicans are my second favorite party.” That kind of bipartisanship is a tool to suppress third party and independent voices. (And, we note that it was not so effective for Jay Jacobs, who was part of the crushing loss of Democratic Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi to a Republican.)

Bipartisanship. On its face, it means friendship and cooperation among two parties: The Democrats and the Republicans. Those two parties are the duopoly who march us to war and injustice.

What is needed, instead, is discussion, media attention, election law, and ballot access rights at the service of everyone, regardless of their party affiliation. What is needed is at least multipartisanship — with the understanding that citizens who choose absolute independence are included in that model.

The Times Union published the bipartisanship quote above, in an opinion piece by State Senator John L. Sampson. State Senator Sampson discusses why he is appointing Republicans to the chairs of certain committees. He praises the effectiveness and accomplishments of bipartisanship, and goes on to say: “…And just imagine what we can do by working together.”

Your mission: describe who State Senator Sampson means by “we”. Please put your thoughts in the comment section [of the onthewilderside post] to participate in our “We Want More Than Bipartisanship Contest”. Your prize will be delighting the third party community, and being at the top of the post we will write to summarize the results.

On the surface, State Senator Sampson’s “we” means to stand simply for all the members of the NY State Senate. But, couldn’t his “we” also refer to all of the incumbent elected officials in Albany who have Albany wrapped up in their flag of slush funds and self-importance?

Please share your thoughts. But, let’s play this like Jeopardy. Your answer only counts if, at the top, you put in quotation marks the exact words you mean for “we”. After that, you can write any explanations.

Good luck and have fun.

A recent video at the Times Union might give you some visual inspiration about the folks in New York State government:

Times Union Video

8 thoughts on “Onthewilderside posts opinion piece and contest on the subject of bipartisanship

  1. Kimberly Wilder Post author

    Of course, I would love to see comments, here. But, to the extent is a “contest” to see who writes the coolest comment about who “we” is for the summary post, I am going to only use comments posted at wilderside. (So, please, consider cross-posting!)

  2. Darcy G Richardson

    Whenever a politician uses the word “we,” I always assume that they’re either pregnant or have a tapeworm.

  3. paulie

    We (disambiguation)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    * Pluralis Majestatis, or the Royal “We”
    * We (novel), a novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin
    * We (rat snake), the albino two-headed snake

    The majestic plural (pluralis maiestatis in Latin) is the use of a plural pronoun to refer to a single person holding a high office, such as a monarch, bishop, pope, or university rector. It is also called the royal pronoun, the royal “we” or the Victorian “we”. The more general word for the use of we to refer to oneself is nosism, from the Latin nos.[1] Its most common use denotes the excellence, power, and dignity of the person that speaks or writes.

    In pluralis maiestatis a speaker refers to himself using a grammatical number other than the singular (i.e., in plural or, where attested, dual form). When used formally within the context of a government or other authority structure, the plural form may implicitly refer to the principle that multiple legal persons or legal capacities may be embodied in a single physical person (as are the United Kingdom’s Crown and its King or Queen). For example, the Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman opens thus:

    On the Issue of the Basic Law of the State We, Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman…[2]

    Other instances of use:

    * We are not amused. — Queen Victoria (in at least one account of this quotation, though, she was not speaking for herself alone, but for the ladies of the court.)[3]
    * In his abdication statement, Nicholas II of Russia uses the pluralis maiestatis liberally, as in “In agreement with the Imperial Duma, We have thought it well to renounce the Throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power.”[4]
    * United States Navy Admiral Hyman G. Rickover told a subordinate who used the royal we: “Three groups are permitted that usage: pregnant women, royalty, and schizophrenics. Which one are you?”[5][unreliable source?]
    * Mark Twain once made a similar remark: “Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial ‘we.'” [1]

    We (Russian: ??)[1] is a dystopian novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin completed in 1921.[2] It was written in response to the author’s personal experiences during the Russian revolution of 1905, the Russian revolution of 1917, his life in the Newcastle suburb of Jesmond, and work in the Tyne shipyards during the First World War. It was on Tyneside that he observed the rationalization of labour on a large scale. Zamyatin was a trained marine engineer, hence his dispatch to Newcastle to oversee ice-breaker construction for the Imperial Russian navy.

    Plot summary

    We, set in the 26th century, is related by the protagonist, D-503, in a diary which details both his work as a mathematician and a constructor of the space-ship INTEGRAL, as well as his misadventures with a resistance group called the Mephi, an obvious reference to Mephistopheles, one of the many allusions in the novel.

    D-503 lives in the One State,[3] an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which allows the secret police/spies to inform on and supervise the public more easily. Life is organized to promote maximum productive efficiency along the lines of the system advocated by the hugely influential F.W. Taylor. People march in step with each other and wear identical clothing. There is no way of referring to people save by their given numbers. Males have odd numbers prefixed by consonants, females have even numbers prefixed by vowels.

    In the One State, the “Lex Sexualis” states: “Each number has a right to any other number, as to a sexual commodity.” Blood samples inform the State of sex-hormone levels, allowing the State to designate how often any “number” may have sex with some other “number.” Any individual may file a requisition for sex with any other individual via a system of pink coupons. During such sexual hours, the room blinds may be lowered. Incorrigibles and criminals in the One State are publicly executed by exposing them to a ray that converts them into a puddle of water, in a manner reminiscent of ancient barbaric sacrifices. Food consists of a petroleum-based soft drink.

    D-503 spends a good deal of time with his plump clinging girlfriend O-90, and the State poet R-13, referring to their relationship as a “triangle”. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the regime and its aims, and begins his diary as a testament to the happiness that the One State has discovered, and which, by means of the Integral he hopes to export to extraterrestrial civilizations. Interestingly, while D-503 is perfectly aware that the Great Benefactor is a ruthless dictator, he accepts this fact, believing that the Benefactor is a competent and honest man who uses his harsh brutality for the greater good.

    An encounter with the enigmatic and sexually alluring I-330 brings this complacency to an end. She is in league with the rebellious Mephi, and as D-503’s infatuation begins to take over his life, the struggle between his loyalty to the state and the subversive imperative of human passion drives him towards heterodoxy.

    D-503 is eventually arrested and brought in for the Great Operation (similar to a lobotomy),[4] where his imagination is removed via triple X-ray cautery and he can watch the execution of I-330 with equanimity. Meanwhile the Mephi revolt gathers strength; the Green Wall begins to crumble, birds begin to populate the city, and people start to commit acts of social rebellion. The novel ends with the issue in doubt. A repeated mantra in the novel is that there is no final revolution.

    Dystopian society

    The dystopian society depicted in We is presided over by the Benefactor[5] and is surrounded by a giant Green Wall to separate the citizens from primitive untamed nature. All citizens are known as “numbers”.[6]

    Every hour in one’s life is directed by “The Table,” a precursor to Nineteen Eighty-Four’s telescreen. It is also prefigured by Vicar Dewley’s ‘Precepts of Assured Salvation’ in Zamyatin’s 1916 Newcastle novella Islanders.

    The action of We is set at some time after the Two Hundred Years War which has wiped out all but “0.2 of the earth’s population”.[7] The War was over a rare substance never mentioned in the book but it could be about petroleum, as all knowledge of the war comes from biblical metaphors; the substance was called “bread” as the “Christians gladiated over it” — as in countries fighting conventional wars. However, it is also revealed that the war only ended after the use of super weapons of mass destruction, so that the One State is surrounded with a post-apocalyptic landscape.

    Totalitarianism, Communism, and Empire

    The Benefactor is the equivalent of Big Brother, but unlike his Orwellian equivalent, is actually confirmed to exist when D-503 has an encounter with him. D-503 incidentally gives his age here as 32, the age Zamyatin was in Newcastle. An “election” is held every year on Unanimity Day, but the Benefactor is unanimously re-elected each year. The vote is also public, so that everyone knows who is voting.

    The Integral, the One State’s space ship, has been designed by D-503 to bring the message of the One State to the rest of the universe. This is often seen as analogous to the ideal of a Global Communist State held by early Marxists, but it can be more broadly read as a critique of the tendency of all modernizing, industrial societies’ toward empire and colonization under the guise of civilizing development for “primitive peoples.” This was, fundamentally, a materialist view that reduces the world to physical laws and processes that can be understood and manipulated for utilitarian purposes. It was a world view that Zamyatin despised, and We dramatizes the conflict between nature/spirit and artifice/order.

    The role of the poet/writer, as Zamyatin saw it, was to be the heretical voice (or “I”) that always insisted on imagination, especially when established institutions seek conformity and concerted effort (“We”) toward a defined goal. Zamyatin was disturbed by the way in which the Party viewed literature as a useful tool for realizing its goals, and he witnessed particularly troubling compromises from fellow writers who increasingly toed the party line through institutions like the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP) or the Writers Union, from which he resigned in 1929.[8] References to official efforts to co-opt literary talent cannot be missed in We. The story begins with D-503 deciding to answer the One State’s call for all with literary talent to “compose tracts, odes, manifestos, poems, or other works extolling the beauty and grandeur of the One State.”[9] These contributions would be loaded on the Integral as its first cargo, exporting efficiency and un-freedom to the populations of the universe. D-503, before he becomes afflicted with a soul, records his “Reflections on Poetry” in which he praises the “majestic” Institute of State Poets and Writers.[10]

    We is generally considered to be the grandfather of the satirical futuristic dystopia genre (but see The Iron Heel). It takes the totalitarian and conformative aspects of modern industrial society to an extreme conclusion, depicting a state that believes that free will is the cause of unhappiness, and that citizens’ lives should be controlled with mathematical precision based on the system of industrial efficiency created by Frederick Winslow Taylor.

    George Orwell believed that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) “must be partly derived from” We.[11] However, in a 1962 letter, Huxley says that he wrote Brave New World long before he had heard of We.[12] According to We translator Natasha Randall, Orwell believed that Huxley was lying.[13] Kurt Vonnegut said that in writing Player Piano (1952) he “cheerfully ripped off the plot of Brave New World, whose plot had been cheerfully ripped off from Eugene Zamiatin’s We.”[14]

    Ayn Rand’s Anthem (1938) has several major similarities to We, although it is stylistically and thematically different.[15]

    George Orwell began Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) some eight months after he read We in a French translation and wrote a review of it.[16] Orwell is reported as “saying that he was taking it as the model for his next novel.”[17] Brown writes that for Orwell and certain others, We “appears to have been the crucial literary experience.”[18] Shane states that “Zamyatin’s influence on Orwell is beyond dispute”.[19] Russell, in an overview of the criticism of We, concludes that “1984 shares so many features with We that there can be no doubt about its general debt to it”, however there is a minority of critics who view the similarities between We and 1984 as “entirely superficial”. Further, Russell finds “that Orwell’s novel is both bleaker and more topical than Zamyatin’s, lacking entirely that ironic humour that pervades the Russian work.”[12]

    For some reason, the wikipedia article about * We (rat snake), the albino two-headed snake
    linked from we (disambiguation), instead goes to


    Polycephaly is a condition of having more than one head. The term is derived from the stems poly- meaning ‘many’ and kephal- meaning “head”, and encompasses bicephaly and dicephaly (both referring to two-headedness). A variation is an animal born with two faces on a single head, a condition known as diprosopus. In medical terms these are all congenital cephalic disorders.

    There are many occurrences of multi-headed animals, in real life as well as in mythology. In heraldry and vexillology, the double-headed eagle is a common symbol, though no such animal is known to have ever existed.

    Bicephalic or tricephalic animals are the only type of multi-headed creatures seen in the real world and form by the same process as conjoined twins: they all result from the failed separation of monozygotic twins. One extreme example of this is the condition of craniopagus parasiticus, whereby a fully developed body has a parasitic twin head joined at the skull.

    # Janus, a two- or four-faced god in Roman mythology

    *In Egyptian mythology, Nehebkau (also spelt Nehebu-Kau, and Neheb Ka) became depicted in art as a snake with two heads (occasionally with only one). As a two-headed snake, he was viewed as fierce, being able to attack from two directions, and not having to fear as much confrontations.

    Zaphod Beeblebrox is a fictional character in the various versions of the humorous science fiction story The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams who based him on his Cambridge contemporary, Johnny Simpson.[1]

    As a character, Zaphod is hedonistic and irresponsible, self-centered almost to the point of solipsism, and often extremely insensitive to the feelings of those around him. In the books and radio series, he is nevertheless quite charismatic which causes many characters to ignore his other flaws. Douglas Adams claimed that he based Zaphod on an old friend of his from Cambridge called Johnny Simpson, who “had that nervous sort of hyperenergetic way of trying to appear relaxed.”[2] In the movie, however, he is not very bright (in fact, his opponent in the previous Presidential election had appeared to have graffitied a “Vote for Zaphod Beeblebrox” sign into a “Don’t vote for Zaphod Beeblebrox stupid”) and perhaps even more boorish than his previous portrayals. He is portrayed as a vacuous California surfer-type, and Sam Rockwell, the actor who played him in the film, cited Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley and George W.Bush as influences[3].

    Throughout the book and radio versions of the story, Zaphod is busy carrying out some grand scheme, and has no clue as to what it is and is unable to do anything but follow the path that he laid out for himself.

  4. Ross Levin

    I don’t know what this means, but it made me laugh:

    “Fourhead” redirects here. For the facial feature, see Forehead.

    That’s on the top of the last wikipedia page you linked to, paulie.

  5. The Inquirer

    It means that some people misspell the facial feature, forehead, as “fourhead.” However a fourhead is actually not a forehead, but a thing with four heads, thus a case of polycephaly.

    The redirection points those who instead were looking for information about foreheads in the correct direction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *