Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reality Check: Is This the Political Atmosphere We Want?

Election season's over!

  I had a blog all ready to go today. And it had nothing to do with the election or politics. But some thing's been eating at me this election season, and now is as good a time as ever to address it.

  It seems to me that we, as Americans, have a problem. Safe to say, that you've seen it too. I know, because I've seen the fed-up posts on FaceBook; the 'now we can go back to being decent human-beings' posts.

  Really? Why was it acceptable to NOT be decent human-beings? Just because it was election season?

  When did our political atmosphere become so polarizing? When did we become so fragmented? So hateful even?

  How do we expect to move forward and progress? We don't even respect each other's opinions.

  I'm far from a political junkie, and still relatively young in this voting game, but it seems to me that year after year, the gap between the right and the left widens further.

  That's not how it should be. And that's not the atmosphere that will most-benefit our country.

  How was the atmosphere 20, 30, 40 years ago? I know a lot has changed, just in the past few years, with the influx of social media and information being at our fingertips 24/7. But we cannot allow those advancements to change us for the worse.

  We need to demand more from ourselves, and maybe more importantly, more from the media.

The Media Effect
  Like it or not, the media has a great deal of power over us.

Blue vs. Red?
  If we continue to watch it, they'll continue to put the bickering, hateful, argumentative stories on air. Because it sells. In turn, we become hateful, bickering, argumentative people; that get nothing accomplished.

  We voted at the polls yesterday, let's vote with our viewership as well. Every day. 

  Demand better from our mainstream media, or seek out other sources. Simple as that.

Not 'Us" versus 'Them'
  We all know, to accomplish anything in this world, we need cooperation and teamwork. We need both sides in this fight to make our country better. There cannot be a huge crevasse between the left and the right. If we truly have OUR country's best interest at heart, we need both sides to make progress.

  It's not 'us' versus 'them'. We're all Americans, remember? We're in this together. We need to, at the very least, respect each other's opinions. Once we have that, then maybe we can work on compromise.

  Am I naive to expect more from us?

  I watched President Obama's acceptance speech. He talked about this very thing. We're not red and blue states. I hope he's right when he says we're not as divided as the pundits say we are. But as I take a look around me, I'm told otherwise.

  He seems confident that he can lead us closer together. I hope he's right. But there's a lot of work to be done, by US all.

More to be Done
  While we're at it, there are a few more things we should address:
  •  Having 100s of millions of dollars (billions???) thrown into campaigning is NOT OK. There is entirely too much money involved in our elections.
  • It's not OK that people's right to vote is threatened. Every American deserves the right to cast their vote. And in a timely manner. Four+ hour wait-times at the polls are unacceptable.
  • Church and state were separated in our First Amendment for a reason. Religion has no place in our government.
  • Campaigning needs a serious overhaul. It's not OK to demonize the opponent, and tear him or her apart. It's not OK to lie and cheat our way to the top.
  No one's going to fix it by themselves. So it's up to us to demand the change, and demand the compromise.

  These are just my two cents, and thank you for being patient through one last political essay (from me). But I doubt I am alone in thinking like this. I just think we need a little wake up call before we go too far. 

  What can we do to make a change for the better, and be 'decent human-beings' no matter the season?


  1. Agree with everything you say. To me, it's been this divided since Bush vs. Gore and gets worse every year.

  2. Here's the problem. You're wrong.

    People say that this is a new problem, and that things are "getting worse". But let's face reality:

    It is all a lie. It always has been, it always will be.

    In the 1920s, many people rejected progressivism and embraced lassiez faire economics. The Great Depression resulted.

    In the 1940s, there was widespead racism.

    In the 1950s, there was violence at the idea of desegregation, and the Red Scare.

    Everyone remembers the conflict of the 1960s, with the Vietnam protests, the sit ins, the summer of love vs the conservatives, drug use, ect. This lasted into the 1970s.

    Nixon ran on a race-baiting Southern Strategy to become president, and Ronald Reagan rose to power in 1976 in the Republican Party with his "moral majority", extreme crazy Christian fundamentalist friends. They got into the presidency in the 1980s.

    In the 1990s the moral majority lost some power, but they spent Clinton's entire presidency attacking him, over and over and over again.

    The fundies got back in power under Bush, and his policies were disasters for the country. And they've been forming various terrorist, racist organizations since Obama got elected president.

    There is nothing new here. It is the same people, over and over again, full of hate. These people are not capable of compromising. It is alien to them. They are fundamentalists, and they are like Osama Bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao - compromise is seen as weakness to them.

    The truth is there is no negotiating with people like that.

    Not everyone in the Republican party is that way, but most of the people who are extremist bigots today are Republicans. This is severely bad for the party, as they end up with far right candidates who are just like those who push them forwards, while many people vote for "their" party, even though it isn't really their party anymore at this point.

    You can't pretend like this conflict is anything but a natural extension of this extremism. Yes, there are people on the left that are this way as well, but its pretty hard for someone in PETA to get into congress because the democrats are not 50% crazy people.

    The truth is that somewhere between a quarter and a third of the population of the United States are never going to compromise and have a black and white, us vs them mentality. Crying about it won't fix that; its just reality to them. They don't see themselves as unreasonable, but the fact that they are unable to acknowledge reality - science, the constitution, ect. - means that there is no way to convince them. The best you can do is con them.

    The only real solution is improved education, to prevent these people from existing in the first place.

    1. Your comment immediately elicited many thoughts, but first, thank you for commenting, and for reading. I do wish, however, you had signed your name, so I know who I am addressing.

      Firstly, your dismissing my OPINION, that I clearly stated was simply my opinion based on things I have OBSERVED, is wherein lies the problem. As I said, I don't believe we respect other's opinions.

      Secondly, historically speaking, I understand there has always been opposition when it comes to one political stance or another. I'm not saying that is bad. Quite the opposite. That's what makes our country great. That we're allowed to voice our opinions, and oppose something we think is not right.

      Again, I say that times have changed. It's easier, these days, to immediately let your feelings and beliefs known. You no longer have to go to a rally, or a protest. You simply sign online, and get to it. So the atmosphere has changed in that regard.

      Are you saying it's OK for us to be hateful and disrespectful? Like I said, I expect more for us.

      Are you saying our mainstream media is fine the way it is? I believe they push agendas, and both sides are at fault.

      My main point, is that the entire political atmosphere in America: from campaigns, to voting system, to media, to our own behavior, needs work. That is all. No conspiracy behind it, just that there are many many things that need to be improved.

      I don't believe it's OK for us to just accept this atmosphere as 'that's the way it is', and move on. That's how we got here in the first place.

      I do agree with you on one thing: that the current Republican Party has become way too extreme. And I'm sure many of its members don't even recognize the party.

      Personally, I'm elated how this election turned out. But I do think we have major issues, and one of them is our behavior, which we are 100% responsible for.

      Thanks again, for reading, and for your comment.