Can We Take Off the Blinders?

I was watching the Jackie Mason response to Sara Silverman today.

Now, you’ll notice, once you stop laughing, that Mason makes a very salient point.  You should vote for whoever you think will be the best for America.

I understand that political parties will likely always be with us.  Always.  I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a good thing, but it is what it is.

I know people who would not vote for a Republican for a million dollars. It wouldn’t matter if it was the person they most loved and respected in the world, if there was an R beside their name on the ballot, they’d vote for the one with a D.  I really, really don’t understand that.   But the more I read comments on various blogs, it’s apparent that they are legion.  Of course, that goes for some people who are reflexively against anyone with a D.  And I wish there were a lot fewer of them.

I seems like there are so many closed minds in America today.  No one seems to be willing to even LISTEN to what the other guy has to say.  And unfortunately, it seems to start with the candidates.

We are a nation divided against its self.  If Lincoln is to be believed, we may not stand.  Our economy appears to be in a freefall, and Congress dithers, points fingers, and can’t even pass an emergency bailout bill that’s not loaded down with goodies for special interest groups.  You’d think, in that kind of an emergency, they could have passed a clean bill and not immediately devolved into finger pointing when it didn’t.

Just once, I wish they’d admit that they’re going down into the mud from the get-go.  Don’t tease me with all the talk of “a positive campaign”.  Don’t tell me it’s going to be “about the issues”.  Just admit it.  You, or your surrogates, are going to do everything possible to be sure your opponent is cast in absolutely the worst possible light.  Either stop being weasels or actually run a positive campaign.

It’s just appalling that anyone should be accused of being a racist because they don’t vote for a particular candidate.  It’s appalling that anyone should be accused of being a fascist, or an idiot, or an automaton.  But by the same token, there’s not a single candidate that should be taken at their word.  If you’re going to be an agent for change … tell us how.  No one should “drink the kool-aid”.  No one should be for a candidates just because he or she is NOT the incumbent, or a member of the opponents party.  Our elections seem to be decided by people who aren’t stupid, but who don’t seem to take the time to think things through and really understand.

Be skeptical.  Take everything they say with about a pound of salt.  It seems the journalists have forgotten that as well, at least some of them.  It doesn’t matter what the story is, approach everything with the journalist skepticism that got you into the business in the first place.  If you want to work PR for a candidate, apply at a PR firm, or with the campaign.  Applauding journalists have no place at a political rally.

I think we can all agree.  No candidate is going to be perfect.  I want to be able to respect your decision to vote for a candidate based on a reasoned and informed argument, not on a string of talking points you got in an e-mail this morning, or what you might have read on your favorite partisan blog.  I know everyone likes to read things they agree with, but be a little skeptical.  And that includes the New York Times, Washington Post, Washing Times, CNN, Fox News, all the legacy media.

It makes me sad when people I like and respect make me feel small or stupid because I don’t agree with their political position.  I know the probably don’t mean to, but it seems like when I talk with people with whom I disagree politically, there’s no room for discussion.  No one seems to be open to any idea that doesn’t agree with their own.  Maybe I’m the same way, or that’s how they perceive me.  I’d like to think that I’m open minded … or at least willing to listen.

So please, be an informed voter.  Read, listen, have an open mind.  Don’t reflexively reject a candidate simply because he or she is not of your party.   Don’t wait to take your cues from the candidates, or party leaders in congress.  If we start from the bottom, and don’t march in lockstep, maybe WE can begin to break the gridlock.  If your Senator or Representative is egregiously partisan, and you’re tired of partisanship, learn something about their opponent and vote for them if you think it will be better.

So, as Jackie Mason says … vote for the person you think will do the best job.  But know why you’re doing it.  Don’t just vote for change, or the war hero, or the sound bite or the bumper sticker, or the talking point.

Maybe we can make this thing a little bit better.



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Filed under Congress, Elections, Partisanship, Politics, Thoughts

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