The elephant in the room
Something I don’t really go into much here is my political beliefs, and it’s for good reason. Lots of times, when someone expresses a belief on an issue, they get dumped into a “camp” by those who disagree with them, and written off as ignorant, uneducated, crazy, or simply as just an asshole. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, mostly because of some of the issues that have arisen and taken a toll on my life and the lives of those around me. Now, I think it’s best to remind everyone that sometimes, just sometimes, people can truly be middle of the road and not blindly follow one camp’s ideals or the others’.
I’ve been dumped in the right wing camp recently, mostly due to my dislike of Obamacare and my support of the 2nd Amendment. While I do have to laugh at this a little, it does irritate me that people write me off as being their enemy on all issues due to my opinion on one, simply because they’re stuck in some bullshit partisan world where you’re either A or B, as opposed to shades of grey (without the beatings, rape, and butt sex). Truth be told, I do this as well to an extent, but only after finding out someone’s views on multiple issues, or when they self proclaim “I’m this, and proud of it!”. While I can understand the inclination to be in a group as opposed to having specific individual views, I’m not at all that way.
My views are determined as follows. I read about an issue, listen to both sides, research the information available, and THEN make my decision. I try to look at things objectively, as much as anyone really can. When I see people who simply follow their party, it irks me a bit. Listening to one side NEVER gives you a clear view of the issue. I get that it satisfies a need to belong and to be supported in your views and beliefs, so it’s much easier to just follow the crowd, but I constantly see intelligent people ignore facts and the weight of facts just so they wouldn’t **gasp** side with the “enemy”. Make your own decisions, folks. Look at the information and data, and decide on your own with a clear mind. Also, don’t ignore or demean data just because the result disagrees with your gut reaction. Data is data. Draw conclusions from it, don’t start with conclusions and seek the relevant data.
My other problem with my views is this: how I feel on a topic politically, doesn’t mean that’s how I feel personally. I’ll explain that with an example. I oppose Obamacare, for too many reasons to really go into here. When I tell people this, and discuss it, I’m automatically seen as someone who doesn’t give a shit about poor people getting healthcare, or helping others at all for that matter. While I can see that some people who oppose it ARE that way, I’m not. My personal feelings might actually surprise these people, but at that point I’m usually so turned off by their attitude that I just bow out. I actually think a form of socialized healthcare CAN be a good thing, and work for a nation. I just don’t think it CAN happen here in America. Our problem is the way our healthcare ecosystem is, with big companies running the show, and not an altruistic bone among them (Haiyo!). The only way it’d truly work would be if they weren’t there, but that can’t legally happen. Instead, I view the issue in the context of our cultural, economic, and political reality. That’s where I form my views. It has nothing to do with what I wish our country would be like, and everything to do with the reality at hand. People who don’t think like this, IMHO, are stuck living in a modified reality where their illusions taint what is actually happening around them. Just because you believe all bears are friendly, doesn’t mean they actually are. Reality, when you really face it, has a way of beating the illusions right out of you.
My last point is this: I change my views and beliefs occasionally, if the available information proves me wrong. Yup, you heard that right (or read, depends on whether you read this out loud to your friends or family. If that’s the case, please seek professional help.). Contrary to what my parents will tell you, or pretty much anyone I’ve ever debated with, I can and do change my mind on issues. It really all depends on what new information comes about, and whether it can prove my previous conclusions wrong. If it doesn’t, but creates a cloud of doubt, I end up softening my view and saying something like “I THINK it’s this way, but I haven’t really seen enough to prove one or the other.” Many things are like that, not clear cut. We have to do our best to support more research into the issues that mean something to us. We need the best and more reliable data available. Then, once we have it, we need to view it objectively and make logical decisions, not ones born from fear, hope, or any other emotion. I’m not saying don’t be emotional, but don’t let it drive major decisions like this. Think about it, when people in movies make life or death choices based on emotional responses, one of two things typically happen. Either they fail miserably, or they succeed through luck alone. Don’t be that guy/gal. Think for yourself, and don’t pick sides on an issue because that’s what you HOPE the world would be like, be more realistic.
One last parting thought. Don’t delude yourself into believing that any big politician truly has your best interests in mind. I can agree that many of them started out altruistic, but when they get to bigger positions in government, more of them has been bought off and they aren’t out for what’s good for you, they’re out for what gets them re-elected and paid. It’s possible that an exception may exist, but I wouldn’t go looking for it at the Rep or Dem camps. Maybe there’s an independent out there with great ideas and a truly altruistic agenda. If that’s the case, they’ll never get elected. Again, that’s not me being a defeatist or anything, just reading the available data. Take good care, folks.