In my daily journey through the blogverse, I usually see at least a post or two discussing, debating, defending, or denouncing political topics and/or politicians. While I enjoy reading others’ views, I don’t normally comment because I’m usually lacking in more than a cursory knowledge of the issues. I don’t watch the local news, C-SPAN or any of the other alphabet soup of syndicated news shows. I only read the news websites if I’m sitting around bored. Debating something I feel ill-informed about stresses me out and stress is very, very bad for me.
I’ve noticed over the past few years that my personal views aren’t what they used to be. I come from a VERY right-wing conservative family, though talking politics in the household “just wasn’t done“. As my career focus sided with mostly commercial interests. I toed the Republican party line in every election, regardless of who the candidate actually was on the ticket.
But since getting married 11 years ago, I found myself disagreeing with more and more of the individual issues. So much so that I could no longer answer the question of “What’s your party affiliation?” I realized its all shades of gray that just gave me a headache when I thought about it.
Yesterday, I came upon the http://www.isidewith.com questionnaire. I had just intended to take it for fun. I was impressed that it wasn’t just polarized answers and it gave room for the reasons behind why you chose a particular stance. I actually enjoyed partaking of the mental exercise to delve into how I really felt about social/economic/environmental issues.
My views on the issues align with these Party platforms:
Democratic – Social and Scientific
Republican – Economic, Immigration and Domestic Policy
Libertarian – Healthcare and Foreign Policy
Green Party – Science, Foreign Policy and Environmental
When these issues were weighted by how important they were to me, Social issues took top priority and landed me marginally to the left of center. Much different than my feelings of twenty-five years ago, though there are always going to be certain topics that fall in the opposite camp because they are strongly influenced by life situations. For example, I support gun-control, but only to a certain extent. Because as long as the law allows a twice-convicted rapist to live next door to me, I will always enthusiastically embrace my right to have multiple guns in my house. I just don’t need an assault rifle for home and self-protection.
Like my own personal journey to self-awareness and change, I’ve also had a sense that as a country, we’re on a social and political precipice and something big is going to happen in our future. Much like the social revolution during the late 50’s and 60’s, the voices calling for change are gaining in strength and volume and they are beginning to look at the bigger picture.
The antics by certain politicians leading to the current state of the government and the resulting shutdown is a clear indicator that they no longer have their constituents’ interests at heart. When party labels, petty bickering and posturing to promote individual agendas supersede what’s good for the country (and the hundreds of thousands of people facing an imminent future without a paycheck), then we no longer have a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”. That’s where the changes should start.
Its not just the players of this game that need to change. This may sound radical, but like forest fires can actually be good for promoting new growth in an ecosystem, maybe we need to begin by burning the political houses to the ground and starting over from scratch.
I was in the process of polishing and editing this post when I ran across Head Like A Hole by Lance at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. He also linked to Shutdown Blues by Charles P. Pierce. Both are fantastic pieces that say most of what I attempted to, only much more eloquently. You should definitely check them out.