Duplicity, Hypocrisy, and Mean-Spiritedness… The New Spirit of American Politics
What is going on out there in that intersection between the world of politics and the American public? Duplicity, hypocrisy, and mean-spiritedness is the short simple answer, but perhaps fear is the more complex interpretation.
The new spirit of American politics has left me stunned, disappointed and concerned. The conversation is drowned out and the information is lost amidst the orchestrated shout-downs at Town Hall meetings, the Nazi-Monkey-Obama signs carried at Tea Party protests, the conservative bloggers proudly calling for vandalism and armed violence, and the individuals incited to throw bricks, insults, racial slurs, ethnic epithets, and homophobic affronts beyond human decency at Congressmen this past weekend in front of the Capitol building.
Why? What can be accomplished with this extremism? Why are we unable to have a conversation, debate the issues, form an opinion, agree to disagree, respect our opponents, and allow people to vote their conscience? Why are people with a platform or power acting so irresponsibly by blatantly lying and inciting violence?
Sarah Palin is no longer talking about death panels and unplugging grandma, but she has now posted a map of states, on her Facebook page, where politicians who supported health care reform efforts are targeted with crosshairs; and on Twitter she told her followers “Don’t retreat, Instead – RELOAD.” I respect Sarah Palin as a woman who has accomplished much, a mom who clearly loves her family, and a citizen who is entitled to her opinion. But she has millions who listen to her, believe her, and love her, and although I understand she is a hunter and the crosshairs may be innocent enough, is it responsible?
Is it responsible to be asking readers to clean their rifles and get them ready, as one conservative blogger did, and to have another conservative put crosshairs on a map with names of politicians that should be targeted? After all, it is still within our country’s recent memory, several generations worth, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, and so many others who were targeted for their beliefs. In fact, it is within our recent current events to find people who were targeted and killed because of their beliefs, color, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
So, I wonder… Is it fear? And since ignorance breeds fear, do we need to better educate ourselves about each other’s points of views and strongly held beliefs?
As an independent, I read and follow newspapers, politicians, bloggers, and thinkers from the full political spectrum. I form my own opinions about issues, following my conscience, my head and my heart. I grew up in and belong to a family where we all hold very different beliefs, but we are able to have intelligent conversations, spirited debates, respect for all points of views, and an open mind that gives credit where credit is due, and occasionally is swayed a little this way or that way.
The amount of and access to information is clearly not the problem. The Internet and the world wide web have placed at our fingertips unprecedented access to voluminous amounts of information, so, are we choosing to not educate ourselves, to read only what is within our world view? Are we so afraid to be wrong, that we don’t care if we are right? Or have we become so lazy as a country of citizens, that we prefer to be fed whatever the partisan politicians and slanted news media outlets want to feed us?
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
— Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
We are so fortunate to live in a country founded by some of the most intelligent, insightful and introspective minds ever to come together. The Declaration of Independence, have you read it? It is beautiful, introspective, and passionate. Get a copy of the Constitution of the United States, read the Preamble, read the rest and explore the intelligence it took to create a balance of power, a protection for minority opinions, and the insight to make it a living, flexible, amendable constitution, because they had the humility to accept the fact that they didn’t know it all and that they could not anticipate everything that would come.
Wow, what a gift to us. I get goose bumps just thinking about it… okay, so I’m a little bit of a geek.
This is our country. We should respect it and the political process. Our politicians should respect each other and the public they serve. They should be in awe of the incredible honor they have to serve in Congress, in the White House, or in any public office. To be linked to those incredibly intelligent, insightful and introspective minds that came together more than 230 years ago is an honor and a responsibility they should take more seriously, more honestly, and more respectfully.
All too often, politicians behave like they are playing a game, they enjoy it, they want to win or at least make the other side lose. We the American public are pawns to them. Right or wrong? What is that? I don’t think they know. And if they don’t, we should fire them and hire someone who does.
But let’s begin by truly educating ourselves about the issues, the pros and cons, the truth and lies, and the politicians and pundits. We should be wary of those on the left or the right who try to manipulate us, incite us, and weaponize us against each other and against their opposition.
Duplicity, hypocrisy, and mean-spiritedness… the new spirit of American politics?
We can do better. We should do better out of respect for our founding fathers and mothers and in the hopes of a better future for our children and grandchildren. We can change it or we can let them win. We can be a part of the solution or contribute to the problem. It is up to you.
Martie Hevia (c) 2010 – All Rights Reserved
- Reuters: FBI Probes Threats Over Democrats’ Healthcare Vote [ http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2414717420100325 ]
- The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA): The Charters of Freedom [ http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/ ]
- Sarah Palin | Facebook: Don’t Get Demoralized! Get Organized! Take Back the 20! [ http://www.facebook.com/notes/sarah-palin/dont-get-demoralized-get-organized-take-back-the-20/373854973434 ]
- Sarah Palin | Twitter: “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: ‘Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!’ Pls see my Facebook page.” March 23, 2010 – 10:31 AM [ http://twitter.com/SarahPalinUSA ]