Here in the US many folks are embroiled in one of two things: football – and the atrocious calls the replacement refs are making – and political theater. For once I’m not offended or too annoyed with the football discussions. This is, perhaps, one of the first times in my adult life where I can honestly say the political conversation is so absurd folks might as well be talking about something as ineffectual and non life altering as a sport they don’t play. The conversations are rarely about anything substantive with chants of “MY guy/team is better than YOUR guy/team” blaring all over cyber space en masse.
While today I’m slightly more angry and frustrated than I am sad, my words in a recent interview are what stand clearly in my awareness:
The question of “who does this law/regulation hurt” is ignored in favor of the unacknowledged favoritism of a certain group or individual over another. Penalizing law abiding citizens is rather like playing favorites with your children. It hurts an innocent for no good reason other than the self-imposed, self-permitted prejudice. This is so very sad to me.
This can be said the world over – no matter your politics, nationality, or religion – politics has done what, in my opinion, it was always meant to do: Separate people. Not from each other necessarily (although between religion and politics this happens a great deal), but each individual from their own humanity. The conversation during elections isn’t about how one can help another person, about how a politician or party’s actions is bent toward penalizing some individuals simply because of income, sexual orientation, race, gender or, worse in the case of US, geographic locale that permits bombing and drone attacks. They’re all about the champions each of us has selected and how they’re better or worse than someone else’s. And as so many of us do this we believe we’re supporting who/what we need to because of humanity while in actuality we eschew it in favor of rhetoric and the misplaced hope that a lesser evil is some sort of good. The argument is about how to decorate the 90th floor of a skyscraper without ever having looked to see the steel encasing it was brittle.
The hard questions, those we need to ask ourselves, go unanswered. Questions like – Why do I believe someone who makes more money than me/my family should pay a higher percentage of their income (when the same percentage of their income paid in taxes is more than what I pay)? What is “fair”? Why do I think going to war is a good idea? Why do I want to send others to do it when I’m not willing to sign up? If I sign up why should I make others pay my salary and weapons when they’re so against anyone, me or my enemies, killing/dying? Why do I not want “these” people to die? Why do I want “those” people to die?
In each and every question lies a piece of our own humanity. With each answer we reclaim more of it.
The rhetoric surrounding the pundit of choice can and will only ever reflect that which the majority of most individuals are willing to confront. It’s time each person takes a step back, looks into themselves, and asks the hard questions. Until then each election will bring out more of the same: reflections of the bigotry, resentment, and fear each voter is afraid to confront within themselves. Without these things a de facto aristocracy could not be tolerated. Without them the dialogue changes. Lesser of evils will be viewed as evil and not permissable. Solutions will come from people, not systems. Our fellow human beings will exist in our minds and hearts without or apart from the previously prescribed labels. We will trust our own judgments based upon the ethics each of us have thought of and fought ourselves to have and in so doing will be able to evaluate candidates based upon records, facts. Change the dialogue and forget politics. Remember your humanity and, by extension, that of others – even if you disagree with them.