Political Rant Vol. 1

21 03 2010

From time to time, I will rant about politics and express my political beliefs. I once studied political science at Tennessee State University, in between having fun and calling Nashville “my personal playground.” By no means am I an “expert.”

To disclose: I was once a mercenary volunteer for the Gore/Lieberman 2000 Presidential campaign. I am a little jaded obviously. People are quick to say that Bush stole the election that year. I am very quick to respond that Al Gore LOST HIS HOME STATE OF TENNESSEE WHICH IF HE HAD WON WOULD HAVE GIVEN HIM THE ELECTION! Of course, I usually say this in all caps. I remember watching “The U” on ESPN, which is a documentary about the University of Miami’s football team from the early 80’s to the mid-90’s. If you have not seen this documentary, I would encourage you to watch, as the entire series of documentaries that ESPN has done is easily the best and most entertaining that the network has done in years. Jimmy Johnson, one of the former head coaches for Miami who would go on to coach the Dallas Cowboys and is now pimping Extenze, was dealing with his players after a particularly painful loss to Notre Dame. The Miami team pointed out the missed calls that the referees made in the game. Johnson was also quick to point out that the failure of the Miami team to put Notre Dame away when it had the chance cost them the game, not the refs. The moral: What could you have done to ensure total victory?

So while I do lean towards Democratic principles, I do agree with some of the Republicans traditional ideologies, such as pro-life and fiscal responsibilities in relation to government. I do consider myself independent, and have voted for both Republican and Democratic candidates for different offices. What I do not like is anyone who are so closed-minded that they refuse to give an opinion a second thought if it comes from someone who is affiliated with the opposite party.

This is where the health care debate comes into play. It is disturbing in this day and age that we are so charged politically that we do not sit down and listen to each other. Both Republicans and Democrats have good ideas that could be brought to the table, but they are dismissed quickly. As soon as one side says that we ought to do “A” the other side drowns out the argument and passes it off as “it can’t work.” We have been so quick to point out ones faults, but not so quick to analyze ones own.

When did we as a country come off as so biased and almost violent when it comes to politics? I do watch MSNBC but I also watch Fox News as well. The sheer hatred that is spewed out is comical at times, but sad in others. Glenn Beck is just as loony at Keith Olbermann (ok so Beck is maybe a little loonier, but who in their family doesn’t have a drunk uncle?) I know that people, including myself, have dismissed Fox News as the biggest example of group think since the country fell in love with New Kids On The Block. If you listen though, the analysts do bring up excellent points from time to time. A person can find commentators bringing up good points all of the time if they just sit and listen.

There were reports out of Washington during Saturday’s meeting on Capitol Hill that racial and homophobic slurs were hurled at Democratic lawmakers. While some Republicans have denounced this happening, commenters on different political blogs have asked for video evidence. I say that it wouldn’t surprise me, simply because if one frequents news websites and read some of the comments posted, you can see the racial blasts, specifically steered towards President Obama. This occurs even if a news posting has nothing to do with the president. I would like to use this story posted on The Commercial Appeal, which is my hometown newspaper as an example. This particular story  is about the city of Memphis applying to be a test city for a Google Fiber Network. Exactly 4 comments in, someone makes an uncalled for comment about Obama, who has nothing to do with who will actually get the network. The comment also includes a racial component as well.

It is funny to hear Republicans call Obama a socialist and accuse the current administration of turning the U.S. into a socialist country. It is funny because years ago, Democrats called Bush the same thing. The same people who accused President Bush of being an emperor and causing big government are now defending Obama. The same people who decry health care reform and say that he is spending our country into the ground are the same people, by and large, that sat idly by as government spent us from a budget surplus into a trillion-dollar deficit.

At the end of the day, here is where I stand on health care: while everyone agrees that changes should be made, we have bigger issues in this country right now that should be tackled first. I still have friends/family members that are working temp jobs because they cannot find anything permanent, there are so many foreclosures in cities nationwide I wonder if those houses will ever be filled, and our country’s educational system is crumbling faster than a Cinnabon backstage at a Oprah Winfrey/Kirstie Alley interview. I say let’s hold off on health care first until we get the other stuff fixed. Of course, this makes too much sense, but like my grandma once told me: “Make sure your own house is clean before you go to someone else’s house and put your shoes all on their new white couch…”

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