Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picking on Politicking

I have always had a sour taste in my mouth when people start talking about politics. When these discussions start, there is generally a polarizing effect that takes place. People start picking on the incumbents and candidates, and it is never a very humane conversation.

Today I realized why that is.

I suspect that many people (myself included) feel duty-bound to vote and don't pay much attention to how things are going until a bit before election day. The ads start to come on TV, the signs start to pop up around town, and you occasionally catch words like gubernatorial or tea party in bits of passing conversation. While I would enjoy having a conversation about the candidates, I find it hard to do so in a civilized manner. You can look to the advertisements on candidates as a springboard for our discussion.

Most ads that I see on TV fall into one of two categories. On one hand, we have the mudslinging, and on the other hand, we have scare tactics.

Most of the fodder that comes from these ads, I immediately dismiss. They talk about one candidate (generally the incumbent) voting for this or that, and how terrible it is that this candidate would try to take money away from education (or spend more money, or try to quell economic growth, or a myriad of other things that seem intrinsically good that the candidate opposes). While I understand that a candidate's values might not align 100% with your own, I also understand that lawmakers are sneaky.

There are always things added on to a bill. These little amendments can be unrelated to the original intent of the bill. If the bill is on increasing funding for education, there might be a little amendment that says that they are going to sell public lands, or give tax cuts to businesses. If a candidate feels that the education portion is important enough, he or she will pass the bill while conceding to the other point that he or she might disagree with. If each bill was as straight forward as, "Do you want to increase funding for education? We will get the funds from X, Y, and Z," then I would find these ads a lot more compelling. Until the day that these non-related items keep appearing in bills, I have a hard time buying anything that these ads have to say.

Scare Tactics
These kinds of ads generally talk about the terrible state of the nation, and sometimes include some of the mudslinging tactics as well. The main message is, "This candidate's party has messed things up, and if you want it to keep on getting worse, then vote them in." I have a hard time taking these ads seriously as well, because in a lot of ways, I feel that bi-partisan politics has become similar to a game of football in elementary school.

There are two opposing teams, and while you have the quarterback calling some of the shots, both teams are really running the same plays. Yes, there is variation between the parties, but candidates are attempting to be as conservative as they can and stay within their party's favor. Many candidates do not agree 100% with their party's ideologies, (which is good, in my opinion) but when I have tried to figure out what makes someone democrat or republican, I have a hard time getting a straight answer. People have ideas of what they think it means to be democrat or republican, but I have a hard time finding a source that will tell me what the party stands for. I feel both parties are trying to be as beige as they can while retaining their independence.

So, while the candidates are saying that one party ruined everything, and that the other party needs control to fix all the other issues, I don't buy it. They are both beige, while one might be a little bit darker, and the other, a touch lighter.

So, being the duty-bound citizen that I am, I will be spending my time looking into websites for the next little bit to try to find a synopsis of political candidates. Even though a candidate might run on a platform and become elected doesn't mean that the candidate will be able to accomplish what they claim they will.

But I do know one thing. If a candidate had a platform that I mostly agreed with and promised to be transparent and own up to the decisions that they made instead of trying to blame another party, they would have my vote. I think people spend too much time trying to place blame, and not enough time working together for the common good. I get tired of the bickering and name calling, so I am going to try to be more diligent in finding out about candidates this election so that I can make a relatively educated guess when the elections roll around. If you have any hints on websites for me, please feel free to leave them in the comments box.

1 comment:

Dani said...

I've found this one helpful:

We've got just over 24 hours! I'm not ready. But I am ready for the mudslinging and scare tactic-ing to end. Also the endless robocalls.