I’ve been making a very strong effort to stay away from political commentary. You have no idea how difficult that is for me. Not only do I have a degree and background in journalism, but I also have a degree in political science. I was raised in a political household. It is in my blood, much to my (sometimes) dismay and I’ve worked on several campaigns. Every time I try to get away from it or rather, run from it, it catches up with me wrapping its long, sharp talons around me to the point where there is no escape – or so I feel. I am passionate about politics and sometimes that is the problem. Sometimes I react so strongly about an issue that it plagues me, shaking me to my core. But lately I’ve been feeling as though it’s just not worth the effort anymore because of the volatile reactions people are having politically. It does get tiring trying to have an open discussion with someone who refuses to listen simply because your opinion differs from theirs.
It’s frustrating because my belief is that we need to have these discussions. We need to have an open and polite discourse – regardless if we agree or disagree. One of the best ways to solve our problems is to talk them out -to lay it all out on the table and approach it with logic and common sense as well as common decency and courtesy towards one another. Problem is, that is not what’s happening.
What we have right now, in Washington and even in our own states and town governments, is a group of people – Democrat and Republican who are screaming at each other, demanding that their way is the right way and the only way. What can possibly be accomplished when this is going on?
I was once a Republican. Now, I would say I am ruled by common sense and yes, still conservative-leaning but with an open mind. I grew up in a Republican household. My mom is a staunch Republican, old-school Republican, mind you, not one of these wishy-washy judgmental hacks who have bastardized the Republican Party to the point where it is barely recognizable. The current Republican Party is not the party my mother knew or the party I once believed in. It has become a vicious political machine with zero interest in the people it serves. It now acts like it truly believes the people serve it. It has no conscience. It has no scruples. It is filled with people like State Delegate Bob Marshall, a Republican from Manassas, Virginia who just the other day at a press conference regarding the funding of Planned Parenthood spewed hateful, unChristian rhetoric regarding disabled children and abortion.
Marshall, who has since backed off his initial statement, is quoted as saying that, “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,”
Now, I’m not saying all Republicans are like this or even believe this. I’m not here to discuss the pros and cons of the Democrat or Republican Parties as a whole or of abortion or Planned Parenthood. What I am saying is that too many of the top people in government (on both sides of the political aisle) are throwing around so much vitriol that they blind everyone else to the people who are actually decent and trying to make a difference in their position of power or otherwise.
If you are going to fight for something or stand for what you believe to be true and right, then you need to find another way to get your point across rather than demonizing those with whom you disagree. Nothing positive is ever accomplished by this way of handling things.
I don’t care if you are Democrat, Independent, Republican, Libertarian, etc… This behavior, this rhetoric is not acceptable. Mr. Marshall is entitled to his beliefs just as you are yours and I am mine, I don’t believe in censorship. People do have a right to be heard even if what they say is asinine. But there is also a responsibility that follows what we say and what we do. It’s called accountability.
I do believe that we must start getting involved and start realizing we, the voters, are also part of the problem in Washington and in our local governments. We are allowing a system predicated on the almighty dollar and which candidate sparkles the most, sway us and buy our vote. Put a stop to it. Be a part of the accountability process. Assert your rights as a voter and vote these people out of office. Vote for someone who is the best person for the job – not the person who has the most television ads or the best campaign collateral, the most money in his or her campaign war chest or who is the “prettiest” or “hunkiest” of the bunch. Don’t vote for someone because your best friend happens to be voting for them. Vote your own mind! Vote for the person who is out amongst the people, listening, talking and sharing their ideas with you, the voter. Know the issues, study them. Pick a side and vote your conscience. We have to realize that we the constituents are responsible for putting these people into office. Maybe then we’ll be able to put an end to the infighting and the acrimony and find some actual working solutions to the problems facing this great nation. Get involved and remember, accountability begins with you and me.