Not-so-random Political Thoughts

What has happened to hope?

I’ve been depressed before. And I know that when depression is not founded chemically, it is founded mentally by seeing only the negative and the immediate — not by seeing what’s out there that’s right and seeing a positive trajectory. “The long game.”

Immediate means very close to you and instantaneous. Both of those depend on where you live and being spoiled with the expectation of immediate and complete satisfaction.

So when I read “where’s the hope,” I wonder: how was hope crushed? If you see only the immediate & salient and that there are residual & resistant pits in the road, but you don’t consider the starting point and the current point — the trajectory — then you are susceptible to depression, to loss of hope.

Can hope be created externally? Nope. It’s an internal thing. You’re responsible for your own hope.

I remember this “definition” of frustration from college: the emotion that arises when something comes between you and a goal. The seeming urgency of the goal is proportional to the degree of frustration. But urgency is a short-range ingredient you bring to the equation yourself.

“I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.” ~Abraham Lincoln (heard in Obama’s acceptance speech)

The Hypocrisy of Spinning Implication

If you point to the closing of a plant or a business AND then you insist we’re each our own an island — that you “built that” independent of our interconnectedness — you are either blinded by agenda or hypocritical … or simply lacking the skillset to think through implications.

The closing of a plant isn’t just about the people who have lost their jobs, but also about the rest of the people around the plant, whose business is in jeopardy because the out-of-work people don’t have money to spend there. The suppliers will suffer because they don’t have those businesses to manufacture and deliver to. We are not just an economy: we are an ecosystem of interdependencies.

The Ayn Randian perspective that we are not an ecosystem of interdependencies is arrogance — attributing unto ourselves a status of being independently operating entities. We do not and cannot exist thusly, either as a nation or as an organism of this planet.

Not Smart or Willing Enough to Learn the Basics

I’m seeing it again — two rhetorical devices that are considered informal fallacy: “poisoning the well” and “ad hominem” (attacking the the human, not the points in an argument).

The ploy I’m seeing is to denigrate fact-checkers. Because they might rate one’s assertion low in truth, they must therefore be partisan and, therefore, both unreliable and not worth bothering with.

Fact checkers will list their data and, usually, cite the sources. That makes fact-checker assertions easier to evaluate. Whereas the assertions of politicians in well constructed speeches are all folded in for the sake of effect, claiming that inaccuracies in their assertions are trumped by the “larger issues” … except that the larger issues are being covered in the mud of inaccuracy and their evaluation being seriously affected by the type of mud sticking too them.

I think this is insulting to the thinking population of the American public. It demeans their ability to distinguish fact from fiction and looks down on them like just so much mud-swallowing sheep.

We see fallacy-producing ploys year after year, and still a huge percentage of our population falls for it.  Why isn’t this taught in school?  Why don’t people detect something’s wrong and then learn about it for future use?

Gay Marriage vs. the Economy or Healthcare?

I don’t think it’s possible to weight the social and the economic differently and still remain balanced. It does not make sense to me to sacrifice, roll back, or not care about the civil/social part of the “More Perfect Union” equation while focusing single-mindedly on the economic pain points. A friend of mine — I think he’s still a friend — says that he is more concerned with the gay person who is sick and the one who doesn’t have health insurance way more than the gay person who can’t marry. (I’m not aiming at him or that statement, but aiming for what’s *under* it.)

I think that’s decent logic, but more, it shows blessed sensitivity to issues affecting physical well-being of humans … except that it’s not about a gay person being able to marry: it’s about what is legislated as part of civil law and what that means. So a gay guy gets sick — his spousal unit can’t visit him or care for him. He can die alone or without equal effort to treat him because the staff looks down on gays. So while the concern for the physical is laudable, it ignores or minimalizes the emotional/spiritual part of the humans in question. It feels like one is considered more “humane” than the other. And I don’t think that’s true.

I mean, the emotional/mental scars that people have who have lost their homes and/or who have dealt with the healthcare system are very real, so real in fact that they are lingering and driving motivators for thorough, holistic fixes that can be felt to the core. To be concerned for *that* mental anguish and not about other types of mental anguish seems like cherry-picking.

It’s about double standards favoring a (blindly) privileged sector, fairness, and maintaining the nation’s character and good reputation. Why must we consider the topic of civil rights and freedom from religion a back-burner luxury when thoughts of economy press so heavily? I don’t think we have to.

This election is truly about character of our country and how we deal with challenges.

Civil rights is an easy example for me because its affect is immediate. And gay marriage does not matter to me, but rather the direction of civil-rights progression does (and what is being used to direct it).

Pato and I have been together for 24+ years. We don’t need marriage to be happy. In Mexico, I can visit him and tend to him when he’s in the hospital. So I’m not arguing for marriage. And anyone who insists that this is a primary issue for me is aiming at a straw man or red herring…on purpose.

I am more than gay as women are more than female. I have a religious outlook that is not mainstream Christian. I don’t believe that we’re individual islands capable of building something on our own totally divorced from the supply source, the means, and the available labor to help, and the consumer (or the consumer’s ability to buy). I don’t believe in “legitimate rape.” I believe in teaching critical thinking skills, mastery-based learning, and values-clarification because these are things that fully formed cognitive beings need to be more than replicants. (« The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers. » – Piaget )

And I believe that if you have to lie to advance your agenda, then there is something insidious about it and something seriously flawed in your character, enough for there to be a huge black cloud over your platform.

And I don’t think that thinking that these things are as important as healthcare reform and jobs makes us less American or patriotic. I think you can’t cure or heal something in the body without treating the whole body.

=======================

A point has arisen from a different source that I did not think applied to me, but I probably should make it clear: for me it is not an issue of gay marriage vs. the economy or gay marriage vs. healthcare. Reducio ad absurdum.

That reduces me to simple-minded stereotype that is unable to recognize that the topic of gay marriage as a symptom of a social development involving more fundamental issues of the role of religion in government and the progression of fairness in applying civil rights.

I am much more than gay. I am an American as patriotic as any Tea Partier or Christian Dominionist that wants corner the definition of patriotic for himself to the exclusion of others.

Binary Sadness

When picking a candidate from a binary system, for those who appreciate parts of a platform from both parties, how do we balance what we do like with the baggage we don’t like. If I think about social issues vs. economic issues, what should weigh more in my decision? If I vote fiscal, then I’m afraid I won’t be able to enjoy what prosperity might come of the fiscal because of the social repression and reversion to the Middle Ages. If I vote social, I could be happy but poor.

When friends of mine vote fiscal or social with a platform that carries with it adverse social agenda, should I feel like they are voting to hurt me or they don’t care that they hurt me as long as they’re focused on the pocketbook? When my friends accept premises and assertions without challenge or employ minimal if any effort in investigation and vote accordingly, how does one balance the pain in my heart with the rational in my head?

I hate politics intensely. But ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.

============================

Ignore the emotional and vote for what’s best for the country?

What’s best for the country is a complex thing that involves both economic and social cohesion. I don’t see that it is possible to isolate one from the other. For instance, the Ayn-Randian perspective that we are all responsible for our own welfare is total bunk since it takes social cohesion and, more so, cooperation in sharing resources to have a healthy and coherent society. “You didn’t build that” was said in the context of how our individual welfare is inextricable from collective welfare … unless your welfare is anchored outside the country.

Wishing for a 3rd+ option

A dear Canadian friend of mine pointed out how lamentable it is that we have red and blue (black and white) with no colors in between to choose from. For some, voting for one party or the other is a tradeoff (mostly between the lesser of two evils), which is what I’m struggling with when I look at so many of my conservative friends & family.

What helps me is to look into the truth of political assertions to help me evaluate the *integrity* of a party’s representatives and the platform: do their messages rely on carefully, psycholinguistically crafted twists of truth or outright lies? The better integrity provides directionality toward whom I would vote – I would rather stay the course than vote for the alternative whose integrity I cannot establish as righteous (altho it didn’t work out so well with Carter). I’m spiritually torn about what to feel about my friends & relatives who uncritically swallow the rhetoric. This is a new feeling for me — never happened before,

I have a dear friend — really smart human — that I know of (at this moment) who would vote one side of the coin at the conscious risk of the other side of the coin. The truth is, since I have not found that in my immediate realm of recent conversation, it never even occurred to me that I might have friends who would do this! It’s spectacular in a hope-giving way.

It is established fact that people vote against their own interests. Typically, people vote social at the expense of economic. In analyzing all that I’ve just written, I realize that “voting social” could be voting for *or* against an idea. Either way, it still creates internal conflict of the kind that’s tearing at me now.

It’s not a conflict I have, but that I see.

There being no conflict is a happy convenience for some. I may have that convenience, but some friends also have that convenience by either agreeing uncritically with the whole of a platform or ignoring one side of the coin (social/economic) as immaterial or more important to them. Cause-oriented/Cause-blind. I have a friend who has given up on Obama because he didn’t turn things around (like curing cancer) or that he (Obama) broke or didn’t fulfill a couple out of dozens of promises (all-or-nothing), so he’s voting to give the next guy in line a shot at it (seemingly without considering all the rest of what comes with the alternative package).

A smart strategy

I think social policies are harder to change once they’re in place, whereas fiscal decisions can be done by fiat or haphazard legislation that has an expiration date. So the stratagem to vote social before fiscal seems sound enough to me. Would that it were so clear to more voters!

I feel good about my own position. I’m still in turmoil over a number of family and friends, tho. How should I feel about them? As humans, face to face, they’re awesome people. They’re friendly and kind. But the positions and attitudes that result in votes feels like anonymous poison, like one wouldn’t notice a solitary drop (vote) in a flood that will drown you. I hurt to think that. I also hurt to think of those whom I like or love but whose votes are uncritical ideological sheep droppings. I hate this feeling.

I think I need to go into Spock mode.

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One Response

  1. To describe homosexuality as ‘unnatural’ – particularly from our culture which is almost defined by our deliberate disconnection from nature seems like the ultimate odd argument…

    ~ http://www.redletterchristians.org/are-there-any-solid-arguments-against-same-sex-marriage/

    ~

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