Real liberals register democratic. I can’t tell you how many people I have run into that share the sentiment. And liberals aren’t alone, conservatives share this constant trend of living of the left/right continuum. There is this ideal, held by many in this country, that you must purely be for one side or the other. Left or right. Red or Blue. And it is this line of thinking that is tearing our political system apart – not the lack of bipartisanship.
We love our sports teams. We love to root for our favorite reality stars. And now, the media has turned our political spectrum into just as cheap a form of competitive entertainment as dancing with any burnt-out star. We choose a color and cheer for that color to win more than govern. Look at election-night parties, bumper stickers, and November straight ballots for the pudding soaked proof. The result, is that we continue to receive canned liberal and conservative candidates, terrified of stepping off the party line in order to enact any real change. Then we criticize them for that lack of being different, and cry for someone else. The cycle continues and we order up another DNC/RNC vetted lapdog. If we want truly fresh and exciting candidates, it is time that we begin to accept a range of political ideals and not just lock step with the DNC or RNC anymore.
I am staunchly liberal, but I don’t follow a playbook – as I’m hoping many of you do not. I have owned antique firearms for years as well as several hunting rifles. Living in rural Kansas I used to hunt Quail, thus even as a liberal I had a sizable collection of guns at one point in my life. On the flip side, I wholeheartedly embrace much tougher gun legislation. There is simply no reason for a civilian to own and AR-15, and anyone that tells you they “need” it to hunt is blowing smoke. I am a liberal that both realizes the usefulness of guns as a tool as well as their need to be heavily regulated.
I am a liberal that believes greatly in social services, but is against the general expansion of government power. Letting the government set up a modern health-care system so that we can catch up with the rest of the civilized world – great! Letting Obama run wild with drones – terrible. Which also begs a mention; I am also a liberal that is very critical of Obama. If we had it to do over again, it seems a no-brainer to me that Hilary was the superior choice. Obama has scored some wins, but his constant caving and tendency to over-promise and under-deliver shows the problematic lack of experience that his opponents in 2008 criticized him for and warned about. I am a liberal and yet still share occasional leanings towards some libertarian values (before they all went nuts) and yes even hold a couple conservative thoughts to be worthwhile. Exposed. Not an Obama Super-Fan. Still voted for him. Still a liberal.
The problem in Washington right now is not bi-partisanship, it is the parties themselves. We put on our jerseys, eye paint, and flip on either FOX News or MSNBC to root for our team – rather than put on our thinking caps and engage in politics individually. Liberals do not need drones, in the air or in the voting booths. Both parties need to close ears to talking points and terrifyingly consider thinking for themselves. There is no better example than how people acted in 2008 after the Presidential election. They slapped Obama stickers on their cars and Facebook walls AFTER his big win, eager to enjoy the public swoon of a historic victory – just like those rushing to the store to buy a T-Shirt of the yearly Super Bowl victor the day after – now their favorite team. These people didn’t care about political policy; they cared about being on the winning team and part of what was currently “in”. They cared about showing up to work the next day to give an “in-your-face” to those that had voted for the loser (even if they never bothered to show up and vote at all). Yes, in the United States you can claim victory or defeat without ever taking the effort to step into a voting booth.
Is it possible that even as a liberal, that a conservative candidate could run for an office and that I would vote for him? Yes. It is very highly unlikely, but I have to leave the possibility open and judge each candidate based on the capability to lead and bring about necessary change. If you answered a quick and flat “no” to that question, you’re the biggest part of this problem. The central idea of democracy has always supposed to have been “the best person for the job,” and not the (red/blue) color or species of their mascot.
Yes, there are a ton of corrupt idiots in congress, many of which are Republican. Unfortunately, there are just as many worthless Democrats there too. All weak and unable to act on principal, they toe the party line to seek out their primary goal above all else – reelection.
So if you really do want “change you can believe in,” stop identifying as red, blue, or even some other independent/neutral color. Identify yourself as an informed individual with the ability to think for yourself, and help select the best people to represent us all. A straight ballot is incapable of keeping this country afloat, and soon it will most certainly sink it. This is not a call for centrism, it is a call for critical thinking and personal choice not determined by lines and teams. Lastly, Congress – don’t reach across the aisle, just get rid of the damn aisle and sit together like a bunch of big boys and girls.
And please do it soon, so that our political system can stop looking something like the video below:
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