Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Hate Politics

I hate them. I hate how the media pushes their way into people's homes with their biased opinions and rude interviews. I hate that it's a big fat game. I hate that Americans don't really know the issues in their entirety. That we have to decipher what we think's going on in the White House from what we hear on T.V. or read in a newspaper or hear on talk radio. I hate that the media thinks we're too stupid to sift through their B.S. I hate that every American thinks they know how to run this country, when they have absolutely no access to intelligence or a cabinet or anything useful but a T.V. and w-w-w dot Yahoo dot com.

I'm not saying we shouldn't vote. Sure, we should vote. We know enough to vote. We know differences in parties and voting records and ethics and personalities. But don't vote on Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Pep Rally. Don't vote on Obama's promise to "change." Don't vote on words and ideals. Don't vote because you feel sorry that McCain can't raise his arms above his shoulders. Don't vote because Obama's black. Don't vote because Palin's a woman.

So I'm curious. What's the most important thing to you in choosing a president? What do you look at among the candidates to decide on your pick? Not necessarily, what you look for. I'm not so interested in if you look for pro-life, pro-choice, government regulation or tax cuts. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. More...if you think voting ethics is most important, or do you look at experience, record...foreign What seals the deal for you in your vote?


FancyPants said...

Huh...OK...glad we got that settled...

Chaotic Hammer said...

Well, I certainly thought about commenting. But I didn't think I could keep my essay to less than 5000 words on this little topic, so I thought better of it. But since you asked...

The gist of it would be yes, I hate politics too. I often can't help myself but to get drawn into the fray. It's fun to argue about how stuff should be done. Everyone has an opinion, whether they understand the first thing about it or not.

I think most people vote based on visceral senses, rather than intellect or genuine knowledge of all the facts and factors involved. I'm certainly no exception to this.

Because of the way our two-party system is organized, we generally only have two choices, and many people seem to agree that both choices usually suck. If you vote based on one or two main issues, you give the party you support a type of carte blanche on all the other issues. It's unlikely that either candidate will agree with you on every issue, so people are left with the "lesser of two evils" approach, which as I said earlier, is usually more visceral than intellectual in nature.

I don't know about other people, but speaking for myself personally, I have to be careful to limit my passions with regards to politics. There is a strong tendency towards an "us and them" mentality, and the political rhetoric from both sides is designed to anger and impassion you as much as possible. Tempers quickly flare, people quickly begin exchanging very harsh words and making accusations and personal assaults against one another. It's very dehumanizing and very unhealthy for one's walk with the Lord. I think that people genuinely hate one another where politics becomes too involved. Those who pretend they are above such emotions in relation to the political process are being disingenuous. (Hence, you have factors like media bias, where someone pretends to be a neutral messenger of facts and yet cannot help but to inject their own bias into the presentation).

I probably won't be able to contain myself between now and the first Tuesday in November. I'll express opinions, read something somewhere that I either agree with or disagree with so much that I will feel compelled to comment. I just hope that God gives me the grace to love people above all else, and to keep things in perspective in relation to the bigger picture of His story.

FancyPants said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, C-ham. As much as I hate media bias, I've been watching a lot of CNN and MSNBC lately, in the attempt to learn as much valid info as possible on candidates, and despite the slanted views, facts can still be found. Not as much as I'd like, but it's possible to get a good idea of the candidate's views and platforms, and I'm sure when we get into the debates, we'll get more.

In many respects, it really does come down to that two party system you mentioned. I mean, truly, the person running, for the most part, will always represent their party's views. Some with fall more right, left, or middle, but as far as what we can expect as far as platform, would Obama differ that much from Hillary? Or McCain that much from Bush. Probably not. In that respect, I find the two party system helpful in determining a vote and providing balance within the system. It's pretty ingenious, really.

If it is like you say, that many people consider both choices in candidates to suck, then what's the point in voting? What makes the democratic process better than any other? If it's true that most Americans vote viscerally rather than from intellect, how is voting really worthwhile? We're electing officials out of what feels is that good for us? Is voting blindly better or worse than not voting at all?

From what power the president does have, what's the most important power he'll attain at this point in time? Seems to me it would be commander-in-chief and the head of foreign affairs. Then next for me would be his budget/ tax plan, although Congress must approve it first, and that links back to party. And then his nomination of exec departments and agencies, which also links back to party.

So...for me it's party and foreign affairs that will determine my vote.

But I think my dad would say it's integrity of character, trust-worthiness. But how you judge that from the couch in front of a T.V., I'm really not sure.

Bill Hensley said...

I agree with your dad about character, but I think I give the most consideration to the basic beliefs of the candidate. One might almost say their worldview. And that's why I almost always vote Republican, even though I often have to hold my nose to do it.

I think most liberal candidates have a dangerous naivete about human nature. They either believe in the inherent goodness of man or they believe in a tabula rasa. The former is frightening because it makes people think we can beat our swords into plowshares unilaterally and we'll live happily ever after. The latter is even more disturbing than the former because they naturally imagine themselves as the elite best qualified to shape the thinking of the masses.

Liberals also have a generally poor understanding of economics. Specifically, they tend to think of it as a zero sum game: if person X gets more money that means person Y gets less. But of course nothing could be further than the truth. We want both person X and person Y to prosper.

Finally, the liberal mindset believes strongly in the efficacy and desirability of big government programs as the solution to every problem. But a moment's reflection on almost any big government program will reveal the fallacy in that thinking. Government solutions are a last resort when nothing else is possible. Far better to harness the creative energies and constructive instinct for self-improvement inherent in each citizen, which is what free markets do.

Roy said...

If you think that the two major party candidates suck, you should look around at the third party candidates.

Not because you'll find one you agree with. No, because they'll make you appreciate the two major parties. You don't have to be crazy to run as a third party, but I guess it helps.

I think you want a president who has a record of making good decisions. Someone who is clear what issues his administration will concentrate on.

As far as party goes, I think the country does best with a Democratic president and a Republican congress. I don't know why. Maybe that's just the way things happened to be when things were good.