A Plea and A Not-So-Positive P-Word

January 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

And that word would be: Politics.

© Patricia Saxton

As a sort of personal rule, I refrain from posting anything “political” on my blog. But more and more – and more and more – I find myself very disturbed by “what goes on”, and feel compelled to make a statement. Which is really more of a plea. And it may be a pointless exercise, but here goes.

People: Please, please stop the name-calling and the blaming and the high-and-mighty righteous slants to your political rants.

I sometimes think I’m more upset by the “conversation” that goes on, than the actual politics ~ and as a natural cynic when it comes to “politicians”, that’s saying a lot.  It gets to a point where it’s no longer about who’s in power, which party or what policy is supported (which is of course distorted, depending on who you listen to). It becomes an “I’m right and you’re wrong” discourse. It not only becomes counter-productive, it becomes destructive. It’s the part where we turn on ourselves after becoming so divided we can’t talk to our neighbors with civility because they have different political viewpoints. It becomes a self-inflicted societal poisoning.

Beating the drum of negativity under the guise of making things better is not very effective. It might go something like this…

{Why can’t we all just get along? Why can’t we have an intelligent discussion about our differences? If those idiots would just stop (fill in the blank), we could talk sense. Can you believe they actually believe those things? If they weren’t so stupid, stubborn and blind to the (insert fact of choice), we could all go back to being normal, happy people. I don’t understand why (insert political party, person or media outlet) insists on inciting hatred. They should all burn in hell. Why can’t we all be more tolerant? “Those people” (insert group of individuals) are ignorant fools …Why can’t we all just get along?}

I find it incredibly unfortunate that people can get so wrapped up in their “position” that arrogance takes hold. They label, they spew, they judge and jury.

Why do I bring this up now? It’s been making my blood boil for some time now, but the recent events in Tucson have brought it to a head (for me). I want to shout “LET IT GO people!” Stop. Just stop!

A horrendous act has occurred. American blood has been shed on American soil by an unbalanced American individual and it’s a tremendous tragedy. The desire for justice is strong, and rightly so. But the quick jump to unsavory political conclusions was appalling. Placing that kind of  blame for the twisted behavior of one sick individual is ludicrous. The need to point fingers, mind-boggling. To exacerbate the division occurring within our nation, amongst ourselves, via an event of this kind is, in my opinion, shameful and irresponsible. To use this occurrence as a means to continue voicing personal distain for “the other side” plays no positive, productive role. What it does do is fuel the flames of that which is undesired; in and of itself “inciting hatred”.

And so it was this example that prompted this post. I’m not defending any political figures, because I think they’ve all done things worthy of scrutiny and criticism. Nor am I letting media outlets off the hook, whose influence is far-reaching and can inappropriately ignite the fires. And I’m not talking about the political cartoon or the jab here and there. I am talking about personal attacks. I’m talking about the concept that “calling Sally fat will not make you thinner”.

One thing I know for a fact: we don’t know half of what goes on in the upper echelons of Washington DC or global leadership. That does not mean to imply we shouldn’t try to educate ourselves as much as possible. But in the process of that education, we should hear all sides of any topic.

Fox News people, spend some time over at MSNBC ~ and vice versa. I think you’d be surprised at how intellectually engaging and persuasive each “side” can be. And beyond that, LISTEN to talk radio – right and left versions. READ left and right leaning “news”.  Do your homework thoroughly. Don’t go by what “they say” the “other side says”. Then, and only then, call the kettle black.

Feelings and beliefs run hot. People are passionate. That we have the freedom to share our views, I am eternally grateful. But to put it in real simple terms, we don’t need to be mean about it.

At the end of the day, I think most of us want the same things. I think most of us are similarly in tune with what truly matters in our lives. How we get there, and how we help others to get there, may be up for grabs – but that’s okay.

Common ground can be attained…… but NOT if we’re bent on what amounts to bullying in the private sector. “They” won’t need to do a thing, because we’ll self-destruct.

Sorry for the long post. I promise to go back to clever design and drawing dragons now.


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