Deserving What We Get

It’s early in the election season, and I’ve already begun to gloss what the politicians and pundits are saying. Blah-blah, blah, blah, blah. He said this, she said that.  Dog on car dog for dinner, Mormon, maybe Muslim, born here, not. Distraction.

Children are going to sleep hungry in the back seat of the car they call home.

Women are earning .77 for every dollar a man makes.

Soldiers dying for…?

I confess, most people consider me a liberal. And I’m ok with that; most of my personal beliefs are fairly liberal. But I don’t view myself as a liberal. At all. It would be amazing if it was the world according to Mel, but it’s not and I have to consider that not everyone shares my beliefs, or even system of beliefs.

I am a centrist. I wish that was a political party, I’d join in a minute. A political party based on the idea that a country isn’t like Burger King—you don’t always get to have it your way. A party that focused on the compromises this country desperately needs.

Already on social media sites the vitriol has begun. Liberals are idiots, conservatives are stupid. Every election cycle it gets worse. Every election cycle that attitude carries itself further into our social interaction, deeper into our cultural consciousness, our daily reality.

I can disagree with your opinions about gun control, abortion, economic recovery, even education, and equal rights and still be intelligent. I can still consider you intelligent. We simply disagree, we need to sit down and find the middle ground.

I watch lots of memes scroll across my Facebook page throughout the course of a day. Often, I think, that’s funny, I’ll share it. But then, I force myself to reread it – it might be funny, but is it offensive? Is it making derogatory statements? Attacking persons and not principles? I resist the urge to click share. Recently, a conservative acquaintance posted the following:

Handicapped Parking… @ Sears

Today I had to go to Sears. As I approached the entrance, I noticed a driver looking for a parking space. I flagged the driver and pointed out a handicap parking space that was open and available.

The driver looked puzzled, rolled down her window and said, ”I’m not handicapped!”

Well, as you can imagine, my face was red! ”Oh, I’m sorry” I said, “I saw your Obama sticker and just assumed…”

She gave me the finger and yelled some nasty names at me.

Boy! Some people – and when you’re just trying to help them out!

My reaction was, Really? Really? Someone who disagrees with you is automatically mentally handicapped? I typed out a scathing response. Then deleted it. What purpose would responding to something that petty serve?

I have opinions. Strong opinions—to which I am entitled. I can disagree with your opinions and we can still maintain a friendship because I respect your right to have those opinions.

Think before you click share. Who’s reading? Am I attacking a person or an idea? Can the United States afford this election cycle to rip us apart further?

Yesterday, ABC News ran a headline article with side by side pictures of Obama and Romney. Obama had a glass of Guinness, Romney, a cup of (presumably) coffee. The question in the headline read: Who would you be comfortable with at a party?

Um, really? I don’t want to be comfortable with the president at a party—I want him to make kick-ass decisions. I want him (or her) to have the ability to make heads of states uncomfortable if that’s what is necessary in any given situation. I want someone who will defend my rights as an individual American citizen in congress, the UN, anywhere. I hope that person would be capable of making me uncomfortable no matter what he’s drinking. This is a tactic that George W. Bush used against John Kerry – he’s too smart, he can’t communicate well with the “common” people of the United States.

K. This is a bullshit ploy, it was then and it is now. Don’t buy into it. Whether I’m comfortable with a politician or not isn’t the point. Can he or she bring American troops home? Work to fix our financial woes, inequality? Will he or she take positive steps to fix our broken education system? That’s what’s important.

If you want to have a political conversation with me, let’s focus on things that matter. Why would every Republican vote against a bill that made equal pay a law? Why is the United States ranked 14th educationally? Shouldn’t we talk about a way to fix that? In Virginia, you have a better chance of dying from a gunshot wound than in a car accident—that’s a discussion we should have. Let’s talk issues.

And if you don’t vote, don’t talk politics. By not voting you are making choices about the state of our nation. I think it was Joseph Heller who said, In democracy you get the government you deserve. Alternately you deserve the government you got.


4 thoughts on “Deserving What We Get

  1. Awesome post! People don’t have opinions anymore, they have immovable positions. TNRP did a story this week about how much money each party is spending on this year’s elections, and I wonder why they bother, since no one seems willing to change their minds about anything, let alone listen to an opposing point of view. It’s just become one big expensive shouting contest. Imagine how many children that money could feed.

  2. I believe Becca is correct, “Not nearly enough compromise. Or even willingness to discuss compromise.” Both parties digging into intractable positions and both accusing the other of being inflexible.

    Hard decisions need to be made, neither party wants to make them. IMHO, we don’t have anyone from any party that has a “presidential” presence. Is there really someone in the running that you can put your trust in to *lead both sides of congress*? If so, I envy you. You are a far more trusting soul than I.

    • Paul, I’m Irish-Catholic (well, recovering-Catholic), I don’t put all my trust in ANYbody! And I agree, there isn’t anyone “presidential” out there… Well, there IS one Kennedy, but he walked out of congress during the Clinton Impeachment proceedings and washed his hands of politics. It made me sad.

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