The following is a blog about my string of political comments as of late, and my offer to my friends with opposing viewpoints. If you’re here for my Change Write Now stats or ongoing projects list, feel free to skip to the bottom of the page. You can even use the handy included anchor link. 😉
Back in the day I invoked the Alfano Politics-Religion 20′ Radius Rule. It simply stated that no discussion of politics or religion could carry on less than 20′ away from me. While this sounds like a boon to me, it was meant for everyone’s benefit. My observations were that people tend to get pissed off talking about one of those two subjects. Being that I’m already kind of an asshole, it made sense that limiting the reasons for people to get pissed around me meant that friends and I could carry on. All seemed to go well.
Cut to the here and now, otherwise known as over 25 years later. I’ve learned over the years and this includes the rather helpful ability to not give a shit what people think of me. That isn’t foolproof as all writers are at least partially neurotic about their work and how it will be received. I’ve also learned that while one person can change the world, not everyone has to agree with you. That is where some of this comes in with relation to social networking.
I have several friends, acquaintances and followers who are Republican. Many of those are pretty strongly in the conservative subsection of that group. While I don’t really consider myself a Democrat, I rarely see anyone I would vote for in the Republican Party. Were one to come along, I would vote for them but this cannot happen because almost all (if not all) of the Republicans wouldn’t. This is fine as while I don’t agree with you, I’m not going to say you must agree with me.
With everything that has gone on over the last year and as this current year rolls on, I find myself adding caveats to the opening of the rule. If it is a problem of beliefs, I will “agree to disagree” even though I loathe that phrase with the heat of a thousand suns. If there is a difference of viewpoints based on differences between us as people I can do the same. The caveat to this is that your argument has to stand up to some form of logic or reason.
If you support the far right due to a fundamental belief that marriage is between a man and a woman and the far right supports that in their “family values/family morality” campaign, then that is your right. If a leading spokesman for that campaign cheats on a terminally ill wife and then asks a wife for an “open marriage” and you forgive and still support him, how can you still claim “family values” in that scenario? This was a rhetorical question, obviously.
Without calling anyone out, earlier in 2011 when the Governor Walker situation came to a head I had a discussion with a friend. I would point out policies and legislation that the state Republicans were putting forth that were damaging to the state as a community and as a whole. It seemed that each new piece of information I put forth was met with “Unions bad!” If your reason for supporting a Governor who divides the people of the state to make them fight with each other and not pay attention to what he’s doing is that you’re anti-union, then I think you need to take a look at your motives.
Another example is another person that after the last presidential election asked my wife, “Are you satisfied with your vote? Are you really?” The reason this person voted Republican was that their family votes Republican. This is free licence for you to walk into a voting station and not pay attention to who you’re voting for and why. This is also free reign for a political party to push an agenda without losing voters. And for the record I responded to the question above with, “Why yes. Yes we are. You?”
Overall though, I’ll support my friends in their differences but there are lines. So if you see me spouting a little political due to current events, know this is because I am paying attention to them. The biggest benefit to Wisconsin that Governor Walker has done (in my opinion at least) is he’s made people start paying attention to politics again. He’s given us incentive to be aware of who we’re voting for and why. He’s made me look at current events and ask if Herman Cain is a bad choice due to his sexual misconduct, how does that make Newt Gingrich the moral compass of a nation?
And while I’ll support your choice to be of a different mind then me, please do the same. Don’t tell me why I’m “wrong” or you’ve then entered into a challenge. You can tell me why you support the opinion that is different than mine, but be prepare to back up the discussion. Spirited discussion will keep us all paying more attention to this process and making more informed decisions. If we reduce our discussions to flinging talking points at one another nothing will ever be solved.
Change Write Now Stats (01/19/12)
- Food – just under 100 calories shy for the day
- Water – enough that I think I can swim now
- Exercise – had to fit in during the day, but done
- Writing – think I am almost done with current project
- Habits – both met, although almost weighed myself
- Sleep – still getting six hours total
- Reading (print) – still on Silver Tongued Devil… reading time has been scarce this week
- Reading (Nook) – on hold (see above)
- Listening (iPad) – just picked up book 2 & 3 of the Iron Druid from Audible