Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mumbling, Meandering, Melancholy Musing

I suffer from PF -- "political fatigue." Seriously, folks, it's not bad enough that my choices are between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney this go-round. We also have to be subjected to the usual ridiculous ads (Mitt Romney killed my wife and doesn't know and doesn't care...) as well as news articles on topics that are old, tired, and crazy or completely blown out of proportion.

Is there any good reason for the statement of the restaurant chain owner of Chick Fil A to occupy the attention of the media for well over a week? The media couldn't have helped that restaurant chain more if they were trying -- and I don't think they were trying.

The sad fact is that we live in a country divided almost evenly. About half the population tends to lean left and the other half tends to lean right. Each election is a crap shoot - you really just don't know what's going to happen. Both sides bend over backwards, insanely contorting themselves, to try and make a point that will stick with the people who don't pay attention otherwise.

Is there some ground on which people can agree? Not really... apparently. One would wish that we could all agree to disagree respectfully and with a measure of dignity, but that doesn't appear to be possible, either. It would be nice (and far more productive) if we could argue the issues based on fact and reason instead of pointing our fingers and shouting, "Liar liar pants on fire," or vilifying those who disagree as "evil," "Hitler," or other now-meaningless jibes.

Should the practice of abortion be legal? Should we have same sex marriage in the US? Should crazy people be allowed to protest the funerals of anybody? Should we have a nationalized health care system in which care is rationed differently from how it's rationed now? Should the country continue to spend, spend, spend even though the money isn't there? Is spending the money nationally going to make money for the country? Is it the government's job to put people to work? Can the government perform such a function and if so, how?

These are all issues needing to be discussed, not only by the politicians (heaven help us when they start up), but by voters all across the country. The problem is that very few voters are capable of having a rational, intelligent conversation about such topics. Having an opinion is easy... having an informed opinion is a bit more work.

I've heard it said numerous times that voting is not only a right, it's an obligation... a duty. But it doesn't do anyone any good if a bunch of uninformed boobs go to the voting booth and vote. I think the mantra needs to change. An informed, intelligent vote is a citizen's duty. If you're not going to do the work of informing yourself, you have no business in the voting booth. If you cannot intelligently discuss the issues facing the country (which means being able to articulate your viewpoint instead of simply attacking the other side), then it's your patriotic duty to stay home.

No comments: