When I was about 20 years old, I was asked by a city leader if I “like politics.” At that time, I really didn’t know what it was and relied on the opinions of others to form my own. I didn’t really have them explain in depth about any of the issues but would passively listen and would take the views of those I deemed “smart” as my own.
The easy part was, most people had the same opinions. I was in Business school at Ohio State so of course just about all the opinions were conservative. Growing up in a Catholic environment, just about all the opinions were conservative there as well. I actually had no access to the other point of view until I took some liberal arts classes at OSU and it was so easy to discount those views given the 20 years indoctrination on the conservative side.
Nowadays, the words Liberal and Conservative are both toxic to the other side so I’m trying to write carefully as most readers will just be looking for which points I make that agree with their side and probably become angry should I make points that agree with the other side.
During my college years not many people of my age group actually cared about politics. When asked if they supported Bush or Gore it was a given they would support one or the other depending on their course of study. If you’re in Business you supported Bush, whereas if you were in Liberal Arts you supported Gore.
Then I left the country for five years and was astounded at what I returned to. Bush had started two wars, had trouble making sense in public and the left was really hounding the President. It seemed that everyone had taken sides and everyone had an entrenched opinion. The media seemed pretty much like a tabloid and there were these blondes with big boobs wearing large crosses around their neck as well as something called “Evangelicals” bashing the Left. And I wondered what the hell happened while I was gone. These “conservatives” were really angry at “the mainstream” media which they considered biased so Fox news along with others counteracted and started their own T.V. shows which were extremely biased on the Conservative side. No matter what the other side did there were hundreds of talking heads criticizing every single step.
Further, both sides tried to identify with something called “ordinary Americans” and said the other side was “out of touch.” By 2008 Bush had really plunged America’s reputation into the toilet and most people thought “America was on the wrong track.” Hence a very skilled orator comes along named Obama and wins the election!
Now, the conservative side becomes really angry at losing most of their moderate base and what we are left with is the “extreme right” which is spouting venom at every single thing the president does. In the past week they have called the President a “racist” and even question his legitimacy as President and are saying he was actually born in Kenya! I remember the left treating Bush pretty bad but I do not recall them calling him something as bad as a “racist.” It seems that what is left of the Conservative base is really upset and for them Obama will never be able to do anything right.
So now we have these T.V. large personalities on the right such as Limbaugh and Beck who are very good at making every issue seem very simple in which their opinion is “the left is always wrong.” This works very well since most issues are very complicated and they have a great market in making everything seem simple for the left over, hard-core Conservatives. Beck doesn’t even try anymore to take a serious tone but instead gets all excited, starts jumping around and even makes sound effects!!
At this point in my post, most Conservatives are probably steaming mad. And this is the fun point where I change direction. The Liberals are spending tax money like crazy people. For a hard core and determined Capitalist, all this spending must seem like a nightmare. Our financial system acted extremely recklessly but did what they do best which was help consumers spend more money then they actually had! Can’t blame the system for wanting higher profits as that is what the Capitalist system is all about and there is nothing wrong with that. However, all this excess eventually comes crashing down and people realize that spending more then they earn cannot continue forever. The financial system realizes that if people cannot pay back what they owe then they cannot pay their own bills either and everything comes to a halt.
Then we have citizens losing their jobs, houses and crying to their elected politicians to do something about it! If the politicians want to keep their jobs they better do something and quickly. So they spend gobs of money which makes any fiscally responsible person vomit. Besides those that are not in favor of all this spending are probably in a stable fiscal position and don’t care about everyone else that “spent too much.” It seems like perfect justice! However, this is all over simplified and we have “ordinary Americans” who did not spend too much and are still losing their jobs, pensions and so on.
Yet, this makes an easy target for the Limbaughs and Becks of the world who see a very easy way to pander to the group that is very upset about all this. And it doesn’t stop with financials but spreads to just about everything the current President is doing. It would be best to have a Conservative viewpoint that does not pander to a small hard-core group but I doubt this person would get many viewers. It’s much more entertaining to take one side or the other to the extreme and create anger or “a crisis.” Pandering to emotions creates viewership whereas rational minded debate does not. It is no longer news but “entertainment” and as the name implies entertains the viewers instead of a long and boring serious debate.
The right has done a much better job of capitalizing on this then the left has. I can name several hotheads on the right than I can on the left. So in the interest of moderation I’ll actually point out a few of my own political views which will either be agreed with silently by a slight majority or hounded upon by those slightly to the left or right.
1. Abortion (might as well start with a hot one)
Political stance: Neutral
– For the right it’s murder and for the left it’s for the women letting her do what she wants with her own body. I’ve read a lot on the topic and came to this conclusion. To kill a fetus is still killing but the state should not dictate what a woman can or cannot do with her body. So in effect, the woman should be able to choose weather or not she wants to kill that baby developing. Neither side will like that outcome.
Political Stance: Slightly Left
For the right, they all have it and don’t want to pay for those (lazy in their opinion) people who don’t have it. For the left, there are so many poor out there and it’s obscene that in a developed society we let people suffer without it and that will clog the emergency rooms anyway.
It costs a hell of a lot to finance and might even come close to breaking the bank. Yet, most other developed countries do have it even though it might not be as good. Healthcare costs so much that you better not have any serious injuries if you don’t have insurance or your in serious trouble.
Even though I have insurance I think that as a developed and good nation we need to help those that need it even if it makes them get off the couch and get a job with some insurance. One poke at the Right is that Jesus (and other religious leaders) tried to teach us to love each other and help others. The Right is just mad because it seems those that don’t have insurance are not doing enough to help themselves.
3. Obama vs. Bush
Political Stance: Left
– Obama is smarter than Bush. Bush was not a very good President but in a hedge to Conservatives Reagan was pretty good! Obama has been very masterful in the way he has dealt with so many massive problems at once. I don’t think any other leader could handle these terribly difficult issues as skillfully as he has.
Political Stance: Conservative
– Let it all crash. Things would go to complete hell but would recover more quickly. However, this would involve letting a lot of people suffer for a long time. What we need is light regulation and more a more responsible financial system.
Yet that is laughable as “responsible” is just a word and the business of business is to make money. So, light but firm regulation is necessary but let people make money. America is Capitalist and is not in the business of being “fair.” The smart people win and that’s that. If you don’t like it move to another country. And for the left, I do plan on moving to another country. 🙂 Capitalism isn’t fair at all so let’s either be Socialist and be done with it or let the Capitalists make their money.
5. Talking heads
Political Stance: Neutral
– Shut up. You are doing nothing but making everyone dumber with simplified arguments which equals dumb talk. One word to describe what they are doing is “demagogy.”
Political Stance: Way Left
– Protecting freedoms etc is nonsense. Let other countries alone. America used to be this way but ever since the World Wars America has been crusading all over the place. I don’t even feel like getting into it but unless one has actually traveled, understands other cultures and speaks another language you cannot understand other points of view.
Political Stance: Way Left
– If it were up to some, we would still be stuck in the Middle Ages. It’s very difficult to have an open mind and most people have never EVER changed their opinion on important issues. I’ve changed mine several times depending on better arguments. Unfortunately, the arguments today are trite and just a lot of words without any depth.
There are others I could go on but am spent for now. If I was asked if I “like politics” I would say that I do but only when debating with intelligent people. Intelligent people for me are those than are able to change their opinion and carefully weigh the arguments. In fact, these people see good and bad to both sides and express it!
Unfortunately that is not the case now
Profound and thoughtful. What precipitated this?
I like reading the news but am tired of all the toxic bickering. All grandstanding and dumbness all around. I miss being overseas when I couldn't understand the news! 🙂
Yep, the media is all about perpetuating these wars: black vs white, (R) vs (D), socially conservative vs socailly liberal…the list goes on. Too bad nothing in life is ever black and white. A friend of mine and I were having a talk about that the other day. We both have the same party affiliation and social leanings, but when it came to hot topics like immigration, death penalty, abortion, and public healthcare, we had pretty different perspectives. I think my biggest point of focus in "picking a side" when forced to revolves around personal freedom and equality. If I feel like either is being hendered, I oppose…but then people have different gauges for what constitutes henderance of personal freedoms and equality.
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