WARNING: Rambling post ahead.
One thing that bothers me about the current conversation in America is the domination of the racists and the hate-mongers. Surely there is a better way to have a conversation than spewing random hate and bile of your failures.
And it is a failure. It is a societal failure that has led us to this point. We, all of us on the right and the left, have failed to engage in rational debate without the hyperbole and sensationalism invading the conversation.
(And yes, that was some hyperbole, right there. Even I am not immune to it.)
What bothers me is that a whole segment of the population is seemingly hellbent on running over the rational minded folks. I think we could all benefit from a step back to consider the moment and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Rationality it seems is a dying art in American politics. The right is distrustful of the left, the left is distrustful of the right and the centrists thinks we are all nuts. (Okay, that last might be an over-generalization, but I think the point is made.)
Seriously, what happened to rationality? The one thing, I think, that all three sides can agree on is that politicians are out of control. The one thing any career politician fears the most is an engaged body politic. This was one of the key motivating factors in the 2008 Presidential Election. Groups like ACORN mobilized the body politic in such a way that scared a lot of the established career politicians.
All of a sudden, a huge segment of the population that never voted in a presidential election were suddenly casting ballots for the first time. Career politicians on both sides of the isle were caught off guard by the turnout.
It is this engaged body politic that will enact change in our system, either by turning it on its ear or changing it altogether.
“How,” you might ask, “do I become involved?”
Good question. The first thing you do is study the issues thoroughly. Look at a particular issue from all sides and find out what you believe in relation to the issue at hand. Note this down on a piece of paper. Do this for each issue.
Once you have a one or two sentence thought on each issue, study each of the career politicians that are vying for a job. Study what is on their websites, what they say in public, and (probably most important) how they’ve voted on similar issues in the past.
It’s also important to note how they’ve handled minorities in the past. Do they actively engage minority groups to help them or do they brush them off (or cater to them just for their vote and then leave them high and dry when they are elected?) This, more than what is said, is most important, for actions speak louder than words, especially in politics.
Once you find a candidate which seems to fit the bill, study what that person says. Read interviews, watch press conferences, and, if that job-hopeful has written a book (or two) read them.
If you still agree with what they say, register to vote. Then do it.
An engaged body politic is the only defense against a group of career minded politicians who, like anyone else, are subject to the ravages of temptation. Being in Congress, whether it is at the state level or national, carries with it tremendous power. But also responsibility. It’s up to us, the engaged body politic, to make sure that power is exercised in accordance with our wishes and the best interests of the country, as a whole.
Knowledge is what will help us the most to offset the tide of irrationality and sensationalism. By interjecting rational discourse into the American Conversation, we can contain the race-baiting, the hatred, and the irrationality that is the current norm.
Scare a career politician. Learn all you can about the issues of the day. Register to vote and exercise your voice.
See. Told you I’d get to the point, eventually. 😉