Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brain Dump Op Ed


I have been avoiding politics news for the most part lately -- in part because I have a boat load of stuff going on in my personal life including health insurance wrangling and medical care for my son which has me stressed beyond my norm. Because politics news can send me in a rage in a matter of seconds, I have had to chill a bit. I have reached a max when it comes to bullshit and crazy. I can't stand the inability to make sense of even sources I appreciate and enjoy. Every six months or so I ask, "BUT WHAT CAN WE DO"? I get tired of venting and ranting with like-minded friends and against idiots when I see a pervasive confusion. We are confused. We are a nation of mixed-up, falsely-led, nit-picking, too-much-information-to make-sense-of-most-things-so-we-just-go-with-whatever, group of people. I spend part of every day wondering how to get through to people who think differently from me simply because they do not know the facts. I think that if I can just inform them, they'll at least think things through rather than having opinions based on whatever it is they base their views on. I think that if I mock or beg or appease or something, anything, people I actually care about will believe ME over Glenn Beck.

But they don't.

So I go through a funk when I feel as if the American culture is eating itself and those of us who try, through this blog and elsewhere, to make sense of it so that others will see the common sense, are desperately trying as we slowly lose our minds.

I stand with President Obama today more than ever. And one main reason is because of my belief that his greatest challenge is not policy CHANGE but behavior CHANGE. Americans were not and are not ready to think big picture or long term. And many think he is a failure as a leader. But I don't think so. He is the constant. He is governing exactly as I knew he would and he is setting a perfect example of how to be a productive, responsible and ethical citizen of a country that demands its people pay attention.

I didn't always follow politics this closely and I imagine there will come a day when I won't have the opportunity to follow even a fraction I follow now. But I do know that I am a better citizen today than I was before Barack Hussein Obama ran for President. He set a standard I can only try to emulate. I try to reserve my snark and hate but I fail miserably. I try to learn as much as I can but I only have so many hours and brain cells. I try to see where he's going and why and I usually grasp his goal even if it's different than my ideal vision.

Obama became a celebrity with his Red States/Blue States speech because we all knew he was right. We are a nation of differing opinions. And yes, it's true that we are entitled to our own opinions and not our own facts, but how people interpret one set of facts can vary. Polls should be irrelevant but we all use them when they work to our advantage. And a fact is only as good as the detail it focuses on. And as Americans we are quick to vilify the person who focuses on a different poll or a different fact because that doesn't hold the same significance as the poll or fact we want to highlight. And so we continue to thrash against each other solely to thrash against each other.

I keep hearing talk about Democrats not wanting Obama to compromise with Republicans; he tried that and failed. They want him to be a hard-ass, a walking penis, a man's man. They want him to go against the very thing we admired most about him. Why? Because what he is doing is hard and it highlights the differences that even our party doesn't want to concede. We don't want to say we'll give an inch even if it means we gain a mile. We'd rather play tit for tat. And frankly, I am tired of my own party for playing that game. I want us to be the smart, sensible and compassionate party we value and take each discussion, each policy, each potential compromise at face value and have the debate point by point on the merits we always stand by. I don't want our party to fight against something we would have once supported just because we are tired of the Republicans. I don't want us to let a detail get in the way of a greater success because we can't possibly let them have a win.

I don't want the current Democratic party to become the current Republican party.

Several months ago many liberal bloggers, analysts, journalists and friends (who shall all remain nameless) were saying the same thing: Screw the deficit! Democrats didn't want to make any decisions with the deficit as a factor. It was irrelevant how the deficit could be impacted because we need to barrel through this recession. Well, we aren't in a recession, jobs are growing, the deficit is declining. And now Democrats are obsessed with the deficit because of the Bush tax cuts. The same people, from MY party, who were saying "screw the deficit" are now saying we can't extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy because it will hurt the deficit.

I was one of the few who would say I wanted to help the economy AND the deficit and I faced ridicule as the naive one. And now, the same people are making the deficit the number one reason to stick it to the rich.

I want the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire for the same reason I wanted them to months ago: the deficit. I want to shrink our deficit and our debt so we aren't held back in negotiations with China. I want the US to be able to demand better relations in different parts of the world but we have no leverage as long as we are in debt to the very people we demand changes from.

So, as I sit here feeling the old addiction of politics news creeping back into my life, as I have resolved some of my personal struggles, I wonder if I will find myself being more annoyed with the Republicans or the Democrats. Chances are I will be accused of making some false equivalency for even saying that but I don't really care. I imagine the people who would accuse me of that are the very people pissing me off as it is.


Penelope said...

Your best post yet. Right on!

jhw22 said...

Thanks, Penelope. :)


vicci said...

Jhw22 - I wish you progress in your health situation for you and your son.

Good to hear from you re the political situation! I am amazed sometimes when some of my reactions mirror yours. I totally hated politics/politicians before Pres O, but I am definitely a more aware citizen since his advent! I can't explain it, but I started to pay closer attention when he came on the scene. And, although I've always voted, it took his very simply statement that as president he represents ALL of America to highlight that simple truth. It was like a slight slap upside the head for me - you campaign, etc, etc, but once elected you represent the entire county/state/region ?/country.

This is why the Republicans 'no' position and their stated intent to bring him down has been so disgusting to me. Sure each party has its ideals/policies, but once the electorate makes a choice, you should go about the business of governing! Those elected should work together in the best interests of ALL. I continue to trust the President, even when I can't quite see where his steps are leading. He seems the most rational of the bunch, AND, he seems to have a 'long-term' plan [and he doesn't yell ;)]. There are times when I feel like yelling to the Democrats -"What are you doing?" but I have to agree

"I don't want the current Democratic party to become the current Republican party".

idreamofskiba said...

Couldn't agree more.

Thank you.