Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

I watched Tuesday night’s second presidential debate with great interest.  Although I am conservative and will vote accordingly, I genuinely tried to listen to each exchange and hear it from the standpoint of an undecided voter in order to make my own judgment about the potential impact of the debate on that all-important segment of the voting population who will determine the winner of the election.  I wasn’t listening in order to cheer on every punch my candidate threw or to combat every point made by the other side.  I seriously wanted to sit with a notepad in hand and put a simple tick mark in a column for Romney, Obama or Draw after each question’s series of responses.  While I won’t share the score in all three columns here, I will say that I put more tick marks in the Draw column than in either of the other two.

It was a challenge to try to listen to each speaker and imagine how the general population might respond to the debate.  It is impossible, of course, to completely separate our biases from our ultimate judgments of who wins or loses arguments.  It is, however, possible to try to do a far fairer job of it than we typically do in politics and other areas of life.  It is not difficult at all (if we try) to be more unbiased than the spinmeisters who clutter the airwaves after a debate.

Our country is as polarized as I’ve ever seen it politically.  No matter which side wins in November, about half the country will be disappointed.  Many will hold grudges and be uncooperative until they get a chance to win again in 2016.  That’s a shame.

Part of the leadership we need is to unite our people around common concerns and purposes.  For someone to lead that way, he will have to do the very hard thing of being as unbiased as possible, listen to all, work across the aisle, and then make a decision and own it.  Anything less will just perpetuate the division.

That is no small task.  I wish the eventual winner well.

Leap year lesson #290 is Bringing people together takes real leadership.

This is not a partisan political Post.  In fact, I hope it’s the opposite.

Normally, I love watching the political conventions in an election year – both major party conventions.  While I obviously side with the more conservative one philosophically, I really do appreciate good wit and humor, even when it jabs at those who share my beliefs.  Who doesn’t remember former Texas governor Ann Richards’ comment at the 1988 Democratic convention speaking about George H. W. Bush when she said “Poor George, he can’t help it – he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”  Now that’s just funny, I don’t care who you are.  (And, yes, I voted for Bush #1 in both elections.)

What is saddening, though, is the tunnel vision so many demonstrate these days when it comes to political spin and the corresponding lack of willingness to listen at all to the messages others have.  It simply is not the case that nearly everything one candidate or party says is true while the other is nearly always false.  Anyone who claims otherwise just isn’t willing to listen to both sides and address issues.  To believe everything from one side and nothing from the other is to be stubbornly blinded by partisanship.

In today’s political climate, such tunnel vision does nobody any good and is, in fact, intellectual dishonesty.  I can’t stop others from preferring and promoting this disease, but I can sure commit myself to intellectual honesty which I believe is its cure.  We must be able to have discussions about issues, basing our reasoned positions on clearly stated values and principles, and then vote for the candidates that most closely align with our positions.  Vilifying the other party or candidate does nothing to convince me to vote for your party or candidate.

If you want my vote in November, then you have to share the values and principles that are most important to me.  Show me how you have done that, are doing that and will do that and you have a shot at my vote.  Nothing less will convince me.

Leap year lesson #243 is Political tunnel vision is a condition that needs correction.

The presidential election is over three months away and I am already completely sick of it all.  I hate the false accusations, the negative ads, the lies, the posturing, every attempt to make your candidate look perfect and the other candidate look like a complete idiot, and I hate the way it infiltrates daily conversation, news broadcasts, social media and relationships.  If there was some way to automatically prevent political posts on Facebook from showing up in my news feed, I would do so in a heartbeat.  And, yes, I do occasionally post something political on Facebook myself, but not too often.

It’s tiring seeing the incivility and hypocrisy of people who find a way to villainize a company that sells chicken because – heaven forbid – they disagree with a personal opinion of the CEO.  Seeing politicians jump on that politically correct bandwagon is sickening, especially when they take it to the level of threatening to prevent free commerce in “their cities.”  I hope such politicians get sued if they really try to prevent free commerce without laws to back them up.

Folks, we have serious issues to address in this country.  Vilifying a chicken restaurant and trying to force everyone else to believe and act like you is neither tolerant, progressive, admirable nor American.  Eat or don’t eat at their restaurants and leave it at that.  Do something to address real problems like $16 trillion in debt, a currency that is headed into the toilet like foreign currencies, gridlocked houses of Congress, complete political polarization, a stagnant economy, too many people unemployed, rising inflation (how convenient that the government doesn’t include gas and food prices in that figure), rampant crime, spiritual depravity, moral bankruptcy and a host of other matters that can only be resolved if we genuinely work together to beat them.

Maybe if a few people stop yelling at each other long enough to try to work and solve real problems, we can make some progress.

Truth be told, though, I’m not very hopeful.  Everyone seems more concerned with what they want than with what we need.

Leap year lesson #205 is Political polarization is destroying us.