Skip to main content

Pushing Reset


I had been looking forward to 2016.  My oldest kids were turning 15 then, and I had been anticipating that this was to be the first presidential election that they would be likely to follow through the party-specific campaigns as well as the general election. But what they witnessed, particularly during the debates, was a train wreck. Yes, Donald Trump was embarrassing, but he wasn't the only one. Other candidates, as well as party leaders and even pundits, expressed their views in the worst possible ways. It was as if Jerry Springer took over. It seemed everyone who had anything to say said it as loudly and divisively as possible. And as I write this a year after the election, issue-driven conversations between office-holders as well as between regular people have only gotten worse.

Since the late 80's, when I first became politically aware, discussions about politics have devolved; this is not news to anyone. But the discussions of why the current state of political discourse is so acrimonious has missed the root causes.  Many fingers have pointed at the Internet, which allows the previously unheard masses to throw unfiltered barbs disguised as political positions, emboldened by anonymity. While it's true that we say things to others online that we'd never say face-to-face, I find the argument that this is the reason for the lack of civility to be incomplete.

The truth is that political divisiveness was becoming more pronounced before the Internet was in every home. The cutting remarks we see online are the symptom; not the problem. Just as the web is not the cause, neither is talk radio, although I'd argue that talk radio and online discussions have deepened the divisiveness. Nor are cable news networks the cause of all the hostility, although the fact that the best-known networks have retreated to one political camp or the other has not helped.

No, finger needs to be pointed at something more simple: distraction.

By this, I mean that the people who care about our nation and about their respective local communities enough to have such discussions have been thrown off the trail and have let themselves become misdirected by having their focus shifted toward tangents rather than the core truths which should shape our opinions.

Thus, those on the Right come to regard liberals as welfare-sucking tree-hugging baby-killers, while Leftists think of conservatives as racist neanderthal Pharisees.  Negative thoughts about liberals or conservatives keep us from thinking of what liberalism or conservatism really mean, about the differences between them, and about what positive or negative impacts they have.

It's time to push the Reset button. I'm convinced that if we see Right and Left philosophies for what they really are, and hear what they really say, we won't bother with the name-calling and division. Ideally, we'd consider the core ideas behind these differing political perspectives, and formulate some actual solutions.

It is with this understanding that I will use as a basis for my next few blog posts. I urge readers to consider what is being said, regardless of your Left- or Right-leaning views which you come in with. I assure you I will be as objective as I can when I write them.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

5 Things Making Liberals and Conservatives Look Ridiculous

As I have said previously, I'm pretty much done with partisan politics. I'm skeptical of those  who claim they're neither Republican nor Democrat, but in reality, they still see the world through one lens or the other. I won't try to tell the same lie: when I say I'm equally disgusted with both parties, I'm also making it clear that I lean strongly to the Right on most issues. 

Believing in principles does not necessarily equate to aligning with a party and defending the actions of that party's leaders or most prominent officeholders. In fact, it's just the opposite. I have a lot more respect for someone who's not afraid to call out members of their own party when necessary than I do for those who cheer for their team regardless of principle and regardless of basic decency.

If that's you, then perhaps you think that by not calling the extremists out, you're protecting your party, but you're actually hurting your cause, and the ideas you be…

Book Review--"Love Does" by Bob Goff

Readers of Donald Miller's excellent book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" were introduced to Bob Goff, a man who I'd swear is a fictional hero if Miller didn't insist he was a real person. Goff sounds like he's too good to be true.

The Good
The stories in Miller's book are pretty amazing: his kids invited themselves to meet with the leader of every nation in the world, and 29 presidents, kings,  and princes took them up on it. Goff started a New Year's day parade in which several blocks of neighbors participate. He managed to push through several judicial reforms in Uganda which resulted in kids being freed and witch doctors being put out of business. And that's just the start.

Bob Goff is a real person, and he's the real deal; he loves Jesus and has a desire to use what he has to show the love of Jesus in tangible, life-changing ways to as many people as he can. One cannot help but be inspired by reading these stories, and the life les…

Them Dents is Valuable

I guess I am spoiled, but for a Pixar film, "Cars 2" falls a little short, if only because the bar has been set insanely high by the quality of recent masterpieces such as "Toy Story 3" and "Up".  Any comparison of "Cars 2" with other recent Pixar output just isn't fair.

Quality aside, "Cars 2" hardly seemed like a sequel. The tone, the look, and the feel are very different from "Cars". Additionally, the plot was hard to follow and a little convoluted.

Despite the flaws, this film had one shining moment; one profound line in a decidedly non-profound movie, and it was delivered by Tow Mater.

Mater, you may recall, is a tow truck who's in dire need of mechanical attention. He has a missing hood, several dents, and rust issues. He's also a lovable doofus, lacking anything that resembles sophistication.

At one point in the movie, British secret agents decide to bring Mater into their plans to catch the bad guys and sa…