Friday, July 25, 2014

Taking the Easy Way Out


                                               


Sometimes, I wish that every domestic political story would simply disappear from the television, from newspapers and magazines and from the internet. Instead, there would simply be a neutral recital of whatever congress was debating along with a list of how each one voted on each issue (perhaps on C-Span). Don't even add the D's and R's behind their names. Let us decide based on what we think, without being influenced by party. Just cut away all the crap of reporters explaining to us the political ramifications ("they had to vote this way to please their "base").

Put the text of each bill and how it is to be paid for right up there on the screen for those who care enough to read it, along with any amendments that go with it. I'm always hearing things like "the Republicans voted it down because the Democrats added 'pork'" or vice versa. Just tell me what it is and I'll determine whether I think it is "pork" or not. (Is repairing a bridge that is falling down in Ohio pork? - is research into why honey bees are dying pork?) Pork is in the eye of the beholder.

Just give us the facts without all the hyperbolic bullshit. All the "yeah, buts" as in -

Questioner: "Do you support Equal Pay for Equal Work?"

Answer: "Yeah, but....I couldn't vote for it because...."

Questioner: "That will be all, thank you, we have the wording of the legislation on the screen so people can decide for themselves if they approve of the bill or not."

I wonder how many of us would change our minds if we weren't able to simply follow our party? If we didn't depend on Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow to help us know what to think? If we didn't stick to our own prejudices and read both Breitbart and the Daily Kos and gave what they had to say equal consideration instead of reflexively supporting one and rejecting the other?

The media even tells us how we feel. I often read on the conservative blogs about something that I, as a card-carrying liberal, am "foaming at the mouth" or "enraged" or "have gone ballistic" about when I'm not even close to foaming at the mouth or being enraged or going ballistic. I may disagree with whatever the issue is but it isn't "foaming at the mouth" disagreement.

Or I see that some Tea Party type has "schooled" or "smacked down" or "crushed" President Obama but when I watch the video clip that not what I see at all.

I'm sure conservatives can come up with examples of the same thing on their side and they are welcome to do so. I'll be glad to post their comments here but that's up to them, I'm not going to do their work for them.

I admit to my own biases but I believe the conservative side is way more dug into staying in their own ivory tower world and refusing to even consider that they may be wrong about anything whatsoever than liberals. I have blocked exactly two people on Facebook and in neither case did it have anything to do with their rabid political views (which I'll gladly debate all day long) but that they both descended into personal attacks. Meanwhile, I have been blocked by several Republican/conservatives simply because they couldn't stand to hear my thoughts. They aren't interested in debate, they just want to sing with their own choir. (Of course, there are liberals like this too...just not as many.)

You have to believe that some issues would simply be a given for working people - minimum wage, equal pay, expanding unemployment, even healthcare, if politics didn't rear its ugly head. Who thinks any family can live on $7.25 an hour? And yet facts (there are still some realities, believe it or not) prove that states that increase their minimum wage experience job gains not losses. So how could anyone not be for it? Well, because their political leaders tell them not to be.

We do not even recognize our own inconsistencies. We don't want the minimum wage increased (socialist interference in business, don't you know), yet we want fewer people on food stamps.

My conservative debaters tell me over and over what terrible shape America is in. In fact, it is barely even America anymore. We are descending into tyranny with our freedoms being taken away right and left. It's just awful. We might have to have another revolution. Terrorists and illegal immigrants are descending on  us in hordes, threatening to destroy us. And President Obama is encouraging them. In fact, you know, Obama has never done one single right thing since he's been president. Literally, everything he has ever done has been wrong. Even things you might have thought on the surface that seemed good, killing Osama bin Laden, for instance, really wasn't when you know the true story. Rescuing our soldier from the Taliban wasn't a good thing, it was actually treason! Finding the first Fort Hood shooter guilty and sentencing him to the death penalty wasn't a good thing because they called him by the wrong name!

So, the economy is still in the bottom of the pit, according to them, but those lazy moochers on unemployment could get a job if they really wanted to.

Conservatives remind me of Lewis Carroll who told Alice, "I try to believe six impossible things before breakfast."

What do I think about the shape America is in? I'm 67 and trust me, I've lived through worse times. It's not perfect but on the other hand, I look around and I don't notice that the sky is falling. I can't think of a freedom I've lost. I still have my guns. None of my friends have been hauled off to a FEMA camp. The Tea Partiers still seem perfectly free to say what they want, no matter how scurrilous it may be. Ditto, liberals.

It's interesting to imagine how our thought processes would change if we weren't swayed by parties or labels....not that we'll ever find out, of course.