It is “bad” and “ugly” when political opinions become a verbal mud-slinging contest instead of dialogue. Both sides of the political party swamp are to blame because the rhetoric has turned personal rather than remain political. One more time political zealousism (a new word) shut down dialogue and introduced pure and simple vehemence and to some extent hatred to a conversation. It is a social media disease because one can write “whatever” without a second thought and having to face no one; so instead of conducting an intelligent conversation, one “slings” anger at an opposing opinion. Probably I am guilty as well, but hopefully not to the extent of what is displayed in today’s political arena and unaccountable social media. So here is my analysis of the “good”, the “bad”, and the “ugly” in today’s political picture.
The “good” starts with the fact that our country allows its citizens freedom of speech and freedom to vote without repercussions. However, this depends on who is practicing “freedom of speech.” As it happened to me very recently, I quickly found out that “freedom of speech” is only acceptable when I agree with the other individual’s point of view. In recent years, people like me with much broader political and social opinions are shut down with such force and rage that our cheeks tingle with social media face slapping. But I am digressing. The “good” is imbedded in the constitution of our country which our forefathers wrote to guide and implement toward the wellbeing of all those “created equal”. They did not include social engineering for the purpose of equality, but the opportunity through “freedoms” and grace of God to enjoy equality. Unfortunately, history does depict a different picture; however, from the ashes of injustice and inequality the nation prevailed and in turn helped others regain their freedoms. The freedoms written down and forged from oppression of another government across the sea were not up for hateful debate, but thoughtful discussion that would eventually result in “freedom for all”. This is where the “good” has recently turned to “bad”.
In my response to a recent inane social media posting asking if one would re-elect the current administration back in office; I replied truthfully and exercising my freedom of speech that “I would rather have my teeth pulled out without anesthesia”. This was a tongue-in-cheek reply (pardon the pun) that brought on an onslaught of social hysteria based on pure party line rhetoric rather than gray cells. The “bad” continued in a back and forth pounding of my stance based on the man in the White House rather than his policies; which (I had stated) had split a nation. I made it a point to differentiate the personal from the political by saying that the president is a good family man. I actually admire him for raising a great family and openly acknowledging his love for them. To be exact my reply was that the country is going through the worst of times because of policies that ” his arrogant rhetoric has caused havoc constitutionally, politically, ethically, morally, and definitely militarily.” Notice I said “policies” and did not attack the person. I was admonished for not stating true facts because there are three branches of government and obviously the president cannot make decisions on his own. Really? Then who signs vetoes? Who refuses to sign bills? He holds the pen. I was also fiercely admonished when I stated that it was about time this president quit blaming his predecessor for most of what ails the country. That brought on this: “Obama has never blamed Bush the Republicans or anyone else for what has occurred during his tenure…” So I decided to fact check ME. After all I am getting on in years and my memory might be going south. This president has actually blamed the previous president and administration publically approximately eight times (that is officially recorded through the media). The reporting was on networks sympathetic to both sides of the aisle to include the administration’s private network MSNBC (I’m only kidding about the private network bit). The predecessory (another new word) finger pointing included: Fast and Furious, the economy, the deficit, the VA scandal, GSA, and Iran Nukes. (Louis Jacobsen, September 27, 2012, Politifact, Barack Obama says he’s responsible for just 10 percent of budget shortfalls}, (Joel Gehrke, September 20, 2012, Washington Examiner, Obama blames Bush for Fast and Furious, contradicts his DOJ IG), (Francis Martel, May, 2014, Breitbar, Obama: I always take responsibility but VA scandal started with Bush), and the list goes on.The “bad” is that hardcore partisan thinking and opinion that diminishes the capability of discovering the truth. I know that a predecessor should be held responsible for actions that reflect outcomes down the road, but to deny the fact that this administration and president has blamed his predecessor for eight consecutive years and on numerous occasions is infantile. To be fair, this goes on in both partisan camps. Try and say anything derogatory about Ronald Reagan to a conservative and you will be singed; Reagan is to hard core conservatives what the Pope is to Catholics. One can like the man, but one must also remain circumspect and acknowledge “in your face” shortcomings if they exist. I have no clue if this president will be named the best or the worst, and frankly I don’t care. I always cringe when any past or present president is referred to as “great”. I do not think anyone in particular was or is “great”. They have a very difficult job and you could not pay me real money to do it! Notice, they go in with dark hair and come out gray! (Except for Reagan). They are human AND men! They did some great things and blew others.
The “bad” continues with the divisiveness that has been instigated for political gain. One ethnic race against another, one class against another, one opinion against another, and the blatant crude and crass name-calling; because one can. Those who know me can vouch for my straight shooting, and I generally do not state something unless I can back it up. I have stated my opinions more than once, and whether liked or not, I normally approach them analytically rather than emotionally. Apart from the abortion issue which is emotional to the core; political standing is rather personal because it affects one’s life. However, in recent years, JFK’s “ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country” has vanished like yesterday’s rain. Now the government is expected to raise the populace. What is the government going to do for me? The land of opportunity was created through the assumption that if you work hard you will make it. It was not created so that if you work hard you give half of what you earn to someone else. The government should be a temporary fix and not a permanent means of livelihood. The “bad” in politics continues with the never-ending rhetoric that the government will and should continue to assist from the cradle to the grave. The word “free” is thrown like confetti in a parade on Broadway or Times Square. Hate to break the news: nothing is free; someone pays for it and I do not want to be the one to do it.
The “ugly” is more insidious and nefarious than the “bad” because it develops a mindset imbedded in the continual indoctrination by self-serving charlatans that the government owes you your happiness in life. Although politics were always ugly; this election has given birth to a “potty mouth” quagmirish (another new word) display of candidates we are expected to elect as the next leader of our nation. Both toxic to a degree not seen in any election to date, and by any American in past and present generation; this is no easy pick. Blaming one side or another for boorish behavior is inane because both sides have proven to be thuggish with and to the American people. Listening to the talking down of the pseudo political elitists to “us” the common folk is not only pathetic but downright disgusting. The stifling of free speech has now morphed into ugly confrontations that smack of communist or fascist ultimatums rather than “free” democratic thought. The indiscriminant accusations of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and other “isms” convenient to the moment should cease; or the Free Speech defined in our first amendment is just lip service to the few who refuse to engage in dialogue for the sake of a one-sided opinion. The “ugly” is the stifling and shouting down of any diverse opinion. The “ugly” is in the hypocrisy of those bent on defining social engineering as the last resort to Pollyanna while berating fellow citizens for voicing their right to disagree.
My parents were not very political. They were too busy raising seven children. They did not have time to go out in the streets protesting whatever there was to protest. They were pragmatic on life. My father never asked for a hand out from the government or any social service; and he would have been too proud to accept it. He managed to raise us on one salary. But our parents’ generation did not “want” things, they acquired what they needed and did not expect the government to be at their side for assistance. Poor people did exist. We all knew who they were and my mother would donate “stuff” discreetly not to offend or embarrass. Nowadays no one is embarrassed to ask for money or services from the government. They claim it like their birth right. They were entitlement like a badge of honor. We were raised to believe that if we study hard and work hard; we would be successful. Not necessarily wealthy, but successful. It meant feeling good about oneself and the sacrifices that were made to achieve whatever we achieved. That is contrary to the current political mantra of entitlement: I should have whatever my neighbor has because I deserve it. Not because I worked for it, but because by “being”; I deserve it. That kind of thinking is what has stifled our economy to a growth only seen in third world countries (1.7% annually, for those who want to research), 19 Trillion in debt and counting (US National Debt Clock in real time; by the time I post this it will be over 20 trillion!), and a global educational ranking of 17th place behind Finland, South Korea, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong (not necessarily in any order, except that Finland and S. Korea are in first and second place respectively). (International Business Times, 2012). Not much to be excited about right? But we do have transgender bathrooms in public schools. Hooray for us!
Voting in this election is like voting for dumb, dumber, or crooked! Not much of a choice. Plenty of “bad” and “ugly” to go around, and very little “good”. What I am hoping for is that somehow whoever is elected will wake up from his or her narcissistic stupor and realize what is at stake and do the right thing. The nation needs to come together in respect and acceptance of opinions. Elected servants of the people (because that is what elected officials are to include the president) must realize that those who elected them put their trust in them. That trust is sacred and it should be nurtured. We the people should make it clear that just as we voted them in we can vote them out. So to the next man or woman in the White House: Stop the divisive rhetoric and start uniting. Stop the name calling, and start communicating. Stop the social entitlement indoctrination and start teaching serious accountability. Do what is good for the country not your partisan friends. The country is the United States and not your private partisan playground. Lead all the people not the chosen few who voted for you. Grow a set of cohunes and go after the bad guys who are trying to kill us. Finally: once you raise your hand on the bible you own all successes and failures; enjoy the former and humbly accept the latter. That is what true leaders do.