I sometimes listen to the Patriot radio station on Sirius. (For the uninitiated, “Patriot” is a station devoted to far, far right political talk.)
This is almost always a mistake.
Although I vehemently disagree with everything said by Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Co. on that channel, it fascinates my morbid curiosity. After all, it is always good to know what the opposition is saying.
But, as I was listening to Glenn Beck today describe the events happening in the world today as nothing but a prelude to the inevitable World War III, I had to question my motives. Are these politicos really the opposition? They certainly don’t appear to be living in a world based on any type of reality. Facts don’t matter. They cherry-pick data and sound bites in order to forward whatever their message of the day happens to be.
Should they, then, be considered as opposition? Why are we even viewing them in that manner? See — there’s the rub.
Although it may be trite to say that the politics in America are divisive, it is nonetheless accurate. It is black or it is white. There is no middle ground to be found — those who seek it fall (eventually) into the realm of obscurity and failure. (Poor Ron Paul.) Politicians are forced to take extreme stances during the elections in order to fit into the preconceived notion of what a person in that position should mold to.
Mitt Romney is guilty of this, in particular. While I do not believe that he is as flip-floppish as he is painted, he is certainly guilty of wearing masks in order to appeal to whatever crowd he is pandering to. The Republican party and their placement of Romney as their nominee forces him to “toe the Republican line,” as it is. This is unfortunate for Romney, who has been (historically) moderate.
As a result, the race is being described as a “clear choice between options for the future.” Both sides are saying this — and it troubles me greatly.
Why should we desire an easy choice for president? Nothing about that job or the electoral choice in November should be easy. We should demand quality information and quality answers from our candidates — not simply accept them as the latest in the assembly line of Washington D.C. Although the debates are near in the future, they will provide nothing that has not been heard hundreds of times already in stump speeches and campaign commercials.
Our intelligence is not viewed highly enough to ensure that a substantive debate takes place. We get, instead, the third-grade level treatment of repetition. Truthfully, we probably deserve such treatment as a result of our national voter turn-out statistics. If we do not show interest, how can the ones who we “support” presume to do the same?
The system is confused.
SO — what is the answer? It is as it always has been: participate.
For the record, I will be voting for President Obama in November. Why?
- I am very liberal on social issues — Obama has been as well.
- I support government mandated health care. (Just on philosophy alone.)
- Obama’s foreign policy has been strong.
- I am pleased that he is seeking to remove America from the Middle East as a warring presence. As I am (essentially) isolationist, this pleases me. It is not our place to police the world. Ever.
- I genuinely believe that a Keynesian economic model is stronger than the like that Romney and the Republicans favor.
It does not matter who you vote for — as long as you have reasons. If you are voting based on sound clips you hear from your favorite news channel or what you heard from a friend, you are doing a disservice to the country. Seek information for yourself from reputable websites like: http://www.politifact.com/ (leans slightly right) and http://www.factcheck.org/.
We deserve better than a 24 hour news cycle dominated by so-called “gaffes” coupled with a smattering of misquotes.