Tis the season. The 2012 Prez election is more than in full swing. The news is full of “he said this” “he said that”. Debates occupy the water cooler talk. Pundits are weighing in. There is so much information it is hard to digest and understand it.
I know people who have claimed to stay off of Facebook because they can’t stand the blatant partisan postings of videos, pictures, sound bytes, quotes, you name it. I am guilty of these postings and equally annoyed by others. We don’t appreciate the slanted misguided postings.
I totally understand why people hate to talk politics. I don’t like talking about ‘politics’ either. I prefer actual policy talk. Policy is the stuff that our elected officials vote on and get signed into law and then effect each of us more directly. … Let’s be clear and define it now. Policy is different than politics.
Politics revolves around rhetoric and belief systems. Politics is more about how people are presenting and less about the reality of the policy that is tied to it. For example: Nancy Pelosi was often stating that the healthcare bill will make people healthier once it passed. This is a political statement instead of a policy statement. I surely believe she believes it, but the healthcare bill was about insurance not healthcare. I suppose she means that with more people being covered by insurance are more likely to visit a doctor thus be more healthy. This is vague at best and I would disagree. The DARE program hasn’t really moved the needle on underage smoking and drinking. I digress.
Policy digs into the numbers, intention of a law, prescribed outcome, and so on. Using the healthcare bill as an example, we are only now really understanding what our lives will look like once all the pieces of the law are implemented. These higher costs and shifting of insurance coverages were not fully understand during the politics phase of the debate. (Note: it is important to note that this bill was passed by only the Democrat majority. No republicans).
Politicians will stand up in front of crowds and say a lot of things. Most times the rhetoric is boiled down into a few easily digestible sentences for the masses to consume. If more policy was being presented, people would tune out. I get it. It makes sense.
I think people are afraid to talk politics for a few reasons. One, they don’t the issue very well. There are many and most are hard to follow. Two, they hate when someone gets far too animated or upset. Three, the disagreement turns to an individual attack and name calling.
I believe people would engage more if they asked more questions. Don’t be afraid to ask about a current event that you are not familiar with. It is perfectly fine to ask “why did Todd Akin say ‘legitimate rape’ on tv”. If your immediate group doesn’t know the answer, google it.
The information age is both a blessing and a curse. There are just a many sources of info that are wrong or slanted as exist to be true and legitimate. Between online newspapers, columnists, government resources, and youtube we should be able to find the information.
My wish for this great country is to have an educated voting public. Each voter should vote with their head and their value system. This is a responsibility to be engaged and know who represents you. The United States is stronger when we have a full bipartisan representation (note: call back to the healthcare bill being passed by all Democrats and no Republicans).
I am also curious when I get to know someone whom I would consider a conservative person in the way the live or raise their kids, but they will lean more liberal when voting. Don’t get me wrong, they have every right to do so but I don’t understand it. Is it a lack equating their values to the vote? Is it a shallow approach to the politician choices (I like that guy, he seems nice). This concept would be an entirely different topic altogether, so I won’t go any further.
This must be said also. When talking politics, don’t ever turn the discussion into a personal attack. Don’t call the other person “stupid” or “you don’t know what you are talking about”. The best approach is to determine the facts first then move into why you think the fact is good or bad. Another fun tactic when debating is to reverse the politician and the topic (sort of walk in anothers shoes). It helps keep the discussion away from “my guy” “your guy” conflicts.
So… don’t be afraid to talk politics.
PS. Yes, I am conservative leaning guy but I respect the other sides opinions. That is what keeps out country great.