Sunday, October 27, 2013
Break the Rules! Talk Politics!
How many of us have been taught to never talk about religion or politics? Well, unless you know the people you are talking to are of the same opinion as you are. For a people pleaser and someone who doesn’t like to rock the boat, this can be a real problem.
Gun control, abortion and gay marriage are definitely topics that can cause some pretty explosive reactions. Then there is the war in Afghanistan, healthcare, the economy, taxes and immigration. What about education, government spending, social security, national security and the environment? There is no doubt that the issues facing this nation are many.
What are the chances you will find candidates that agree with you on every one of these issues? Slim and none I’m guessing. Is it any wonder that many of us just don’t want to deal with thinking about these things?
Voting is a privilege we have in this country, true? Doesn’t privilege go hand in hand with responsibility? The percentage of people that vote is pretty low and there is always a great push to get citizens registered and at the polls. This is important but it is also important that those voting know what they are voting for and why.
We’ve been given a wonderful opportunity with our system of government. Let’s not squander it through casting uniformed votes. We are free to have different opinions and to vote the way we see fit. We need to protect that right even for those that don’t hold the same views.
For me, I’ve had to spend some time really thinking about what is important to me and why. I’ve had to look at the different issues separately. The Pollyanna in me would like to vote only according to my world view and values. The other side of me sees this as a game on the grandest scale. You’ve got to understand the rules, the players and the different strategies being played. It is a real dilemma.
When your life is already too busy the thought of spending time figuring out something as complicated as local, state and national politics is overwhelming, especially local politics. Short of going to city council meetings it is virtually impossible to get information on what is going on. Also, during elections many of those running are first time candidates with no record.
We are bombarded with ads during election seasons. These sound bites make it into our minds whether we want them to or not. Where can we get accurate information? There is network news, cable news, Talk radio, the internet, and let’s not forget Saturday Night Live and the late night shows. I recall seeing a disturbing statistic several years ago that stated an alarming number of people made their voting decisions based off of late night monologues and comedy skits.
How do we sift through all of the information that is out there? It stands to reason that people have grown apathetic. But, the stakes are just too high! We’ve got children and future grandchildren that are going to have to sift through the ashes of what is left of our country if we don’t stand up and see that we as individuals are part of a whole and that our one vote means something. We have got to stop seeing it as a privilege and start seeing it as an obligation, a responsibility to be taken very seriously.
The first step is figuring out what is important to you and why. Then, start breaking some rules. Start asking some questions and talk politics!
Published in Common Sense News September 2013