Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What It Means To Talk About Politics

As the House of Representatives, prepare to vote on the Senate health care plan, the political debate over this issue is reaching a critical point. This blog is not about politics, it’s about my reaction to the world and the positivity in our culture that brings up hope. However, I feel compelled at this critical time in our country’s history to speak out against the negativity threatens our belief in our government.

If you are fighting and arguing against the current health care bill because you think defeating this piece of legislation will help improve the quality of life for the majority of Americans then by all means, please continue to argue. However, if you are fighting against this bill for any other reason, for the love of God, stop.

Sometimes people argue against something that you fear will make something worse, without providing alternative solutions. Hmmm. . . so I don’t think you should take this medicine because the side effects might be bad, but I’m not going to research any alternatives at the same time, I’ll just sit hear and let you rot.

I agree with Obama that not offering alternatives and just arguing things down is unacceptable. It creates a false image of a “party of ‘no’” while at the same time provides fodder for people to argue that Republicans are only arguing against Obama and Democratic to be vindictive and that they do not have the best interest of the American people in their minds. I strongly do not believe in the same way I don’t believe that all Republicans are right-wing moral conservatives.

Some of the negativity towards this bill has to do with our popular culture's negativity Bush. I never supported irrational George W. Bush hate. He is not the worst president in the history of the United States. He is not evil and he doesn’t live on the brains of puppies. Yes, he may have mislead America about the War In Iraq and spent more money than I can comprehend but really which president didn’t mislead the American people on some major issue and mess with the budget in a way that one party can argue is negative.

No matter how insidious and annoying criticism against Bush were it doesn’t justify applying that same attitude towards Obama and the current Democrats. It’s like bringing up something Diana did to upset me four years ago when we have an unrelated disagreement.

Next time you get into a political argument, ask yourself: are you simply arguing to win and prove that you're right about something? If that's the case, argue about something else, like sports or movies are who could win in a fight: Hulk or Superman.

Political issues are people’s lives. The budget, military conflicts overseas, health care, these topics are not theoretical subjects that exist to exercise your mental muscle. Government decisions about these issues change people’s lives, often for the better but sometimes unavoidably for the worse.

If you need to feel good about your knowledge and that you are smart, stop arguing politics and get in a field where the discussion doesn't effect the well-being of the people in this country. Selfishly motivated political discussions pollutes the political environment and distracts from people from the truth and people who are truly working to make our country a better place.

If the health care bill passes than let’s hope for the best. Being proven wrong and losing an argument is more than worth seeing people have a better quality of life through better health care. And if the legislation fails, then let’s take this as an opportunity to start with a clean slate and create a better plan that more of this country can believe in.

What we fighting for in politics is ourselves and each other with the hope that we can improve our lives and our country. Arguing about politics without this hope is fruitless, cynical and annoying.

The government isn’t some alien institution, it’s an extension of every single one of us. A lack of faith in our government is a lack of faith in ourselves. For if we lose hope, we are not only giving up who we are and this dream we call America.


  1. I think you fundamentally misunderstand the rancor regarding this particular debate. While I agree that mindless hate and pointless arguing is silly, I don't see that being employed en mass here. With Bush the hatred of him was what? Mostly foreign policy decisions which, unless you directly had military family, didn't directly impact your life. Unless you were traveling to the South of France and were worried about the angry chef spitting in your food, who cares what the world thinks? It lied in the realm of more policy wonk discussions which seem to be the kind of rancorous division you're decrying here. The current president is trying to engage in a massive reconstruction of an industry that is critical to the lives of every single American. This isn't policy wonk stuff, this impacts directly everyone here.

    My experiences with bureaucracy have not been good. Therefore I do not want a system that has worked for me (quite well and in recent years, mind you) to be thrown into chaos for the whims of government bureaucrats. Government is what our founders had referred to as a necessary evil, not an extension of ourselves. It exists to keep the basic bits of order so that we can live freely with one another and create our own opportunities. I have hope in myself and believe in myself to find ways around my problems, not a cabal of lawyers with R and D pins on their lapels thousands of miles away.

  2. I've always respected your approach to politics. I believe you argue from a well thought-out perspective based in research and experience.

    We have seen worse and more insidious debates over other issues, but I feel we've seen some pretty ill-informed arguments over this health care stuff. Asking people to make decisions about "Do Not Resuscitate" agreements (which insurances companies often do) does not warrant the term "death squad."

    That's a great point about government being a "necessary evil." My assertion come more from the way I see government (or would like to) regardless of what the founders thought. You make a clear and valid distinction, that I respect as a philosophical difference between two of us. This is exactly the kind of disagreement that I embrace.

    You are demonstrating exactly the kind of discourse that we need to continue to move our country in the right direction.

    Thanks for tuning into my first foray into this crazy world.

  3. Any time, I've been around here and there keeping up with things, but with the work I've been doing lately not had the time to comment as much. It's a tough topic to approach and stay civil if you care enough about the topics, at least not on a daily basis. I created that cartoon blog with the notion of doing something more wry and saw myself, in an effort to post daily, sometimes miss the mark.

    The point on information vs misinformation is extremely true. The blame on that lies with those in charge of this debate who are spearheading these attempted reforms. At various stages the American public has not been allowed to even view the 1000+ legalese bill before a vote has been cast. Even now, they are attempting to ram through a quick vote on the thing on the weekend before a major holiday for much of the country. So for those who already are mistrustful, they have to rely on the Glenn Beck's of the world (and that's one horrid source right there).

    Some sort of regulatory reforms are necessary. Even I would admit to that. To me the way to approach this is on a staggered approach hitting those issues on which everyone can agree. Writing smaller, more targeted, less destructive and obfuscatory bills that address specific issues rather than this special interest laden monstrosity. If they don't, then even if something passes, they'll be voted out, the next group'll be voted in and that bill will be repealed.