It has been a long while since I last posted anything. Granted, we have been very busy moving from Provo, Utah to Columbus, Ohio, and I have been busy looking for a job out here. But, that’s not the only reason I have been silent. I have been silent because, deep down, I don’t like confrontation.
I have had several ideas for blog posts, but each has been mostly a knee-jerk reaction to something that I have seen posted online, and I was certain that by posting, I would only be stoking a fire that is already blazing too hot and should be left alone to burn itself out. Yes, I am talking about politics again.
I enjoy following politics. I enjoy discussing politics with people, but lately it seems that one cannot discuss politics, one must argue politics. I don’t want to argue, though, I want to have a conversation where we each explain our views and the reasons behind them and try to either come to a compromise or agree that we are of different opinions. This is one of the reasons why, though I sometimes secretly would like to, I could never run for a political office. I don’t want to argue. I would simply state, “This is what I believe. This is what I will try to, if elected. If you agree with me, great! If not, then you should look at what the other guy says and see if you agree with him.” That’s not exactly the rousing political speech that has them jumping to their feet. Oh, well.
One thing that I really dislike, though, is ignorance being passed off as intelligence. People who have half of the facts spouting those facts loudly, hoping that no one realizes that they only have half of the facts. Please don’t hate me, but I sometimes (okay, fairly often) enjoy playing devil’s advocate, taking the opposite side of an argument just to challenge someone into considering the facets of their argument that they have not fully thought through. And that’s even if I agree with the fundamental stand of their argument. I just want people to realize what the implications of their arguments are.
For example, I have seen several references in the past several days to a certain statistic. The statistic (which may or may not be true) is that gas prices have more than doubled since President Obama has taken office. That may be a true statement, I don’t know, I haven’t done the research. What bothers me about this statement is the sometimes unspoken (sometimes spoken quite loudly) follow-up: Therefore, President Obama has raised the gas prices and one should not vote for him again. That is what I find ridiculous. Do you honestly believe that it is President Obama’s fault that gas prices are higher? Do you believe that he wants them to be higher? Do you imagine President Obama sitting in the Oval Office with a little button that he presses to raise gas prices all across the country, just to spite the average American, whom he must hate?
The President of the United States, as important as that office is, actually cannot do everything he wants. I hate to burst your bubble, but he has very little power, actually. He is only one third of the government- the Executive branch, which is in charge of executing, or carrying out the law. He does not, and cannot make laws. That is the job of the Legislative branch, Congress. If you want better, or different laws passed, then vote for better, or different Representatives and Senators.
And while we’re on the subject of voting – you do realize that the most publicized political races are the ones that affect you the least? The politicians who have the most direct influence in your daily lives are the ones who make decisions in your backyard: your local city councilmen, mayors, school board members, etc. Yet, unfortunately, these are the elections that most people gloss over because they aren’t as talked about in the media. And that’s to be expected. Most of our news nowadays is national news. Even the “local news” isn’t as local as you would think, it’s usually state-wide at best. These news outlets focus on the news that span their entire viewer base, and the national news programs like CNN or Fox News can’t spend time detailing each individual race in every town. Like it or not, you will have to do your own research into the candidates and issues in your local community and not rely on some talkshow host or Op-Ed piece to tell you who to vote for. These are the people who decide what gets taught in your children’s schools, and how to spend your tax dollars to benefit your community, and what is going to happen down the street from you. These are the important elections, the ones whose results you will see first-hand. Yes, choosing a president is important, but he does not enact policies that affect you as personally as those policies enacted by your mayor or city council.
And one final thing, as long as I’m ranting anyway – can we please use a dictionary once in a while? Or at least Google and Wikipedia? Words have precise meanings and connotations, but when we start throwing them around willy-nilly, our ability to communicate effectively is destroyed. My biggest annoyance is people who use the terms fascism, nazism, and communism interchangeably. They are not the same thing and cannot be used as such, just because they all represent horrible forms of government, they cannot be used to describe someone you dislike politically. These ideologies have specific tenets and beliefs and are drastically different from one another. To be honest, you only make your ignorance blatantly obvious when you use these terms to describe your political opponents, because I am almost absolutely certain that no candidate running as a Democrat or Republican in the United States is anywhere close to being a communist, Nazi, or fascist.
Well, now you know why I have remained silent for so long. Because when I don’t, posts like this one happen. I do apologize if I have offended anyone with my opinions, but like I said, I enjoy debating and discussing. If you have a particular point that you feel I am wrong about, please make yourself heard in the comments. That is the only way things are going to change in this country, if we try talking to each other instead of screaming and try listening to each other instead of simply pointing fingers.