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Sunday, January 25, 2015

How far is too far?

A lifetime ago I wrote exclusively about politics, very strident, very opinionated.  I was very loose with facts in order to prove my point.  Funny, I was able to see all the mistakes and weaknesses of my "foes" but I never saw the ones on my side.  Their leaders were useless, out of touch and actually evil.  My leaders? Forward thinking, honest and trustworthy.  I never thought I hurt anyone because the response from readers was so positive.  People loved what I wrote.  And then one day I ran into a friend of mine who happened to be a member of the opposite party.  He looked at me and said very slowly..."you are very.....political."  His words just hung there, like a gym sock on a curtain rod (totally stole that) I knew exactly what he was referring to, and I realized immediately how hurtful I had been.

I had gone too far.

I realized that politics is subjective and worse it is often run on emotion.  There is a big difference between being lighthearted and light minded, and when I started to look at both sides, really look at both sides my point of view changed.  I saw that hypocrisy drives the political bus. One side screams in pain over tactics they employed when their crowd was in power....I guess amnesia was riding on that bus to.

Right now we have the equivalent of a rancorous family dinner with all the organization of a food fight.  Democrats fling accusations that republicans want poor people to remain poor, women to remain barefoot and pregnant and hungry children should stay hungry.  And don't forget Republicans would like babies to have gun permits.  To flick the mashed potatoes back in this food fight the democrats are being served up as anti-Israel and not caring if Iran has the bomb.  Democrats are so anti war that they will let prisoners out of Gitmo under any circumstance, give them a one way ticket to Falujah where they receive a hero's welcome and immediately go back to the front lines of Al Qaeda.  In this fight, Democrats don't care about the Arab problem because President Obama is a Muslim and those are his people.  With democratic rule our military is weak, our debt is skyrocketing, and we have impossible rules from small business to environmental problems.  Republicans are the party of hate, they hate homosexuals, women and Marni the Instagram dog.  Democrats just want to tax you to death (and after death) spend your money on a $300 million dollar blimp and give Facebook a $250 million dollar tax refund.  Republicans are hailed as the party of "NO!"  Yet their Republican held congress passed more bills than any other congress had.  But none of those bills were even voted on in a Harry Reid Senate.  President Obama pushed through a health bill that made insurance affordable to a great, great many people.  But because it had to be paid for somewhere, many middle class folks got hikes in their premiums to a place they had never seen before.  Some people see it in a monthly bill so it hurts...others don't see it because their employers absorb the extra cost.  But someone will have to pay for that, so the widgets being made at the factory are now more expensive.  If you are not able to breathe in the next 20 years, or if your home is under water due to glaciers melting, well find a Republican and thank them.

People who are pro choice view pro lifers as getting in the way of freedoms...a woman's freedom to choose.  But should it be ok to abort a baby because its a boy and not a girl?  Just like there are speed limits on a road couldn't abortion limits be a good idea?  Speed limits don't keep you from driving just keep you a bit safer.

Gun Control.....oh how I hate the word control, no matter where it is used.  But the problem with the anti-gun crowd is they don't like the people who like guns.  Think about that....they don't like the people who like guns.  And to the Republican backed NRA, is a waiting period to buy a gun such a bad thing?  Why don't we trade?  A waiting period for the gun crowd, and a waiting period for the abortion crowd.  They could have just a few days to think about it.

"We are supposed to fix our problems, government is not supposed to create them for us."

Both parties are expert at putting a bill together for something wonderful, then inserting something in the bill the other side would never pass.  AND THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING!  Then they go to the press and say "See!  See!  We try to govern but they won't cooperate"  When in fact both sides make governing impossible.  It's all staged to make the other side look unreasonable.
I would like to ask most folks to admit the news they listen to is biased.  Fox is slanted right, MSNBC is slanted left.  We watch to buoy up our position, not for critical thinking.  Some will bring the opposite viewpoint in for a more interesting debate, but Rachel? Nope, Sean? Nope, Megan? Nope, Ed? Nope.  For instance this morning I heard the president's trip to Saudi Arabia for the King's funeral described two ways.  The Right leaning network said President Obama changed his mind and decided to go to the King's funeral instead of the planned Biden led group.  He didn't want  another "Paris" like firestorm.  The left leaning network reported President Obama was cutting his trip to India short to attend the funeral.  One side reports the news and adds an opinion, the other side reports the news and adds an opinion.  Not very honest is it?   We watch "our news" just like I read the football bleacher report from the University of Texas.  It's always slanted toward the Longhorns, weaknesses are hidden, strengths are heralded and anyone who disagrees is an idiot.  Hook e'm!

Every time I see something on Facebook that is politically incendiary I "hide" it.  I am able to avoid  disliking the person who posted it, or taking it personally.  I wrote a lot of opposition papers in college...lots of them. I have learned how to bolster almost any argument.  It's easy...use enough truth to make it plausible, mix in some threats and emotion and you really have something.  I am suggesting we think about the stories we share.  Words are powerful, if it is written down people have a tendency to believe it.  Fact check your articles to the best of your ability and then if you still think it's worth passing around, well, go ahead.

People that I am friendly with I have written some ghastly things about conservatives...they are all this or all that.  And people I am friendly with have written some ghastly things about liberals.  They would be the first person to be appalled at hearing a racist is this different?  
We have even discussed anti-bullying laws, don't you feel bullied sometimes when someone attacks your opinion?  Remember that the next time you suggest a liberal isn't patriotic or a conservative hates women.

Most people are center right or center left and want as much government as it takes to keep the water running and bad guys off the streets.  

We are supposed to fix our problems, government is not supposed to create them for us.

I want a leader to stand up and say America is a great place and we not only have room for all opinions, but we must have all opinions.  If your stand is a good one it will stand up to scrutiny.

Maybe I just want someone to stand up and lead us.