I have intentionally stayed away from addressing anything political in my blog if for no other reason than it has become more divisive than usual. But it is just for that reason that I have decided it’s time to say something, even if I receive grief for it. You see, politics is part of my life, part of my job responsibilities, but it is not my whole life. Unfortunately, it has become a religion of sorts for so many people now, a religion that is divisive and mean spirited. And before you blame the other side, trust me, no political party has the corner on being holier-then-thou anymore than another!
I would like to think that we all identify as Americans first, but sadly we seem more focused on and aligned with partisan politics. Personally, I pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag, not to a political party. I used to think that the two party system was beneficial for the forging of well thought out discussions and debates, and ultimately better decisions. Sadly, it seems as though it has become an all or nothing conquest, with the ultimate goal of complete and absolute power, while vanquishing the other side. If people would focus less on the (D) or (R) next to a politician’s name and more on the individual candidate I think we would have better quality officials. My real wish is that more of us would register as an (I) Independent voter, which is someone with no political party affiliation (not to be confused with the Independence Party), but NYS laws make that difficult due to the fact that Independent voters are not allowed to vote in the primaries, unlike other States which do allow it. If however, you feel as though a certain political party association is what you want, then in my humble opinion you have a responsibility to not only let the opposing party know where they can improve, but just as important, if not more so, to hold your political party to account for their actions, or lack thereof. I have done this myself on many occasions, and I can honestly say that I was not ostracized for speaking my mind. If your political party cannot stand constructive criticism from within, then perhaps you should look for another party.
I think what saddens me the most is that more times than not people don’t want to hear anything that doesn’t fit with their narrative. And should someone present them with some piece of evidence or a study that should challenge that narrative, then they lash out at that person and then strive to discredit any and all information as well as its author, that doesn’t fit their perception of the situation. Not only does this sadden me, I also fear it is most dangerous for the future of our country. If we are unwilling to look at or consider information, ideas or opinions that are outside of our comfort zone, then how do we truly expect to improve the country’s current situation? Sometimes I will review political comments made online at various news outlets, and I am shocked at how mean and cutthroat people can be. Is this what we want to become as a nation?
I truly try to make an effort to listen to both sides, and I will admit, I’m not always great at it, but at least I make an effort. I have come to the conclusion that people would prefer their news source give them affirmation of their beliefs instead of all the information that will help them to use their own intellect to reach a logical conclusion. To quote Henry David Thoreau –
“Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.”
And guess what, it’s ok to disagree with someone on any given issue. That is why we have the art of compromise.
I have never recommended that someone NOT watch, listen or read a particular news outlet or commentary. If anything, I always recommend that you watch & listen to as many as possible in order to be an informed voter. As I have found out over the years, the devil is always in the details.
Lately it’s seems as though if you’re not disparaging the U.S., its leaders, political body and history then you’re tone deaf, racist, etc. I know that the United States is not perfect, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be. What I do know is that it has provided opportunity for millions of people since its founding, as well as a level of prosperity for its citizens that has more often than not improved with each new generation.
Have there been problems along the way, and past sins that need to be rectified? Absolutely! But here’s the thing, this country continues to do just that, work towards rectifying the sins of the past while also addressing the needs of the future. Now, I’m not saying that it’s happening as fast as anyone would like, but unlike so many other countries, it is happening, and via the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we have the necessary tools to make it happen.
So I guess all I’m saying is let’s stop all of the shouting at and disparaging of one another, and lets start listening to one another. And lets not only listen to those with which we agree, but more importantly, lets talk with and listen to those who may have something else to say, that just might, maybe, possibly enlighten us and make us a better citizen and a more informed voter.
As Jesus said, “the poor will always be with us”. That doesn’t mean that we should accept it or ignore it, but we should continue to strive to eradicate it, or at the very least minimize it to the best of our ability. And this is how I view racism. As much as I would like to see it eradicated, knowing the human condition as it is, that may never happen, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it either. I believe the United States will continue to improve race relations and with God’s guidance make racism the exception and not the rule.
Here’s an illustration of perspective. When you look at the above picture of the U.S. flag what do you see? Do you see a symbol of oppression, a flag falling to the ground as the sun sets on its promise and glory, or…………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
do you see what I see? I see a flag pole that’s pointed left, thus recognizing our liberal values, while the flag itself is flowing right, signifying our conservative values, both perspectives creating a tension that keeps them in balance with one another, all while the sun is signifying the start of a new and promising day.
I pray that all of this turmoil will lead to a new day for our country where we accept and respect one another, and go on to achieve great things for all of our citizens.
So, no matter your political affiliation or views, I wish you all the best that this country has to offer. And as always, thank you for reading.