I’m going to be honest here, I don’t know how funny I can be today. Dangerboy is fed up. I suppose I should know better by now.
I recently clicked on a political post thinking I’d find some political humor. On a site filled with humor by people I enjoy, where one would reasonably assume such humor is featured, I found a hate-filled piece of drivel. I’m not going to put a link here, because I disagree with the entire premise of the post. Suffice to say, it prompted me to exlcaim: “Enough is enough.” Seriously.
I am sick to the gills of the wild hyperbole that makes up our current political “debate”. How can we hear each other when we’re so busy screaming?
There’s just no entering into a rational political conversation these days. It’s like petting a unicorn, it ain’t gonna happen. There’s no reason to be had. You have to dig through a haystack of half-truths, damn lies, and skewed statistics to find the needle of truth.
It seems you can’t be anything right now without somebody actively hating you. I can’t be Republican, because that makes me a “woman hating greedy Nazi”. I can’t be a Democrat, because then I’m labeled a “baby killing peacenik Nazi.” I can’t be part of the tea party, because I’m a “racist Palin-worshipping Nazi.” And yet there are women Republicans, Democrat generals, and a brilliant black man named Herman Cain delivering addresses at Tea Party rallies to thunderous applause.
People claim those examples are the exceptions to the rules, but I say there is a deeper truth we can find. Painting with a broad brush gets that paint all over the trim. It’s sloppy. It’s inaccurate. And it ends up putting a label on an entire group of people which only a small number deserve.
Gang, I’m pretty sure that we don’t have a ton of Nazis running around the country. Indiana Jones would have already knocked them all out. But somehow, people who are normally rational human beings start frothing at the mouth screaming “the enemy” about fellow Americans who just have a different opinion on some issue or another.
Well I’m done with it. Whatever political leaning you have, dangerous or otherwise, the “other side” is probably just another citizen, just another human being, who has different beliefs on an issue or two. The faces on the TV are not us, they are the bookends of a wide range of us.
I’m done with this whole “holier than thou” party affiliation. Politicians have played politics since governments were first formed, and the game is old indeed. It has been called corrupt since the time of Plato. Why should anybody think “their side” is any different?
While I’m at it, let me fire a shot at a group of people who drive me batshit insane. I am done with one-issue voters. Gun control, abortion, party affiliation, immigration, climate, protecting the mating grounds of the left-handed opossum, whatever. It is not our job as voters to vote so we win our one issue, it is our job to select the politicians who will best run the country we share. We forgot that. I’m asking that we all remember it.
I’m also done with the corporate shills we call politicians. Let me make an example here. I’ll show one issue, from two sides of an aisle.
A Republican made a speech about how gambling is destroying American families, and attached the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to a Safe Ports bill that pretty much had to pass. This pretty well outlawed online poker. In speeches, he claims he's protecting family values. But when you look at his campaign records, he received a very large donation from a corporation that runs casinos. Hypocrite much?
A Democrat talked about how gambling should not be outlawed, how it is up to personal choice. He introduced legislation to legalize online poker, but to tax it and of course to favor American companies, and one in particular that gave his campaign a very large donation: the same corporation that donated to the previous politician. Less hypocrisy, perhaps, but embracing the same corruption.
Neither of these men were championing the “people.” They were both championing a company that gave them money, while they claim to champion the people. But whenever you follow the money, true allegiances are revealed. “Our side” really isn’t our side at all. They’re in a completely different game than you and I are playing.
Why on earth are we screaming at each other about how much the other side sucks, instead of discussing the issues and creating solutions? We can do it, if we’ll stop looking at our politicians as captains of our freaking sports team. It’s not about winning, it’s about making a better future for our children.
Did you know that George Washington warned us about this very situation? He knew that “us vs them” party politics was a danger to our very way of life. This quote from his Farewell address in 1796: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
A “frightful despotism” exists. We hear this every day. CNN vs FOX. Dem vs Rep. Obama vs Bush. Us vs Them. We are “them.” They are “us.” We don’t even disagree on as many things as you may think.
Please, please, the next time your thoughts move you to condemn an entire half of the country as stupid, hateful, violent, or as “the enemy”, do yourself a favor. Look in a mirror. Realize that the other half of the nation is YOU. I did, and I feel better for it. I’m not perfect, not even close (just ask Wifefish!), but I do want to be a good example to my son, and that means being part of the solution, not part of the problem.
We can resist the us vs. them mentality, and more importantly, we can communicate this to our servants, the politicians. We can change this, if we will treat each other with respect. I cannot hate you, for you are me.
I’m not saying we need to all hold hands and sing songs while we roast s’mores…I’m saying we need to tone it down and listen to one another. Take the time to look beyond headlines, and talk to one another. Forget the labels, and communicate.
The future we leave to our children depends on it.
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Those of you who follow me from afar (I'm looking at you Australia)...are your politics this screwed up?