Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

In the world of physics, there are several well-established rules about opposing forces. One might note the popular “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” For instance, in the case of affirmative action (pun both incidental and lame), the opposite reaction might be a notion that affirmative action encourages laziness and destroys fair competition in the job market, or that educated white males are continually getting screwed and held down by the man. We see all manner of opposing forces in governmental policy. Everyone has an opinion, and as far as I’m concerned Christine O’Donnell is the only guiding light who really should be entitled to it.

But where does this dissension in politics come from? We, as Americans and millions of illegal aliens, have a fascination with conflict. The recent educational and uplifting fad of reality television, for instance, has been known to display little spats from time to time. More so than viewing these conflicts that are very real and in no way staged (perhaps truer than life itself!), we love to hate stuff. But much like Rush Limbaugh at McDonalds, we do tend to overindulge. When it comes to politics, we have a high level of animosity for just about anything we disagree with. I would know because your opinions are uninformed and silly while mine are infallible.

Partisanship is in no way new to this country. There has always been a level of dissent in America, but there are several explanations for the increased awareness of the hostility in recent years such as: 1) the shrinking of the middle class and disproportioning of wealth 2) development of highly successful media and communication outlets (i.e. news networks, internet, and social networking); and 3) the invention of Viagra (if debates last longer than four years, consult your physician). Speaking of performance enhancers, there are few better ways to dissuade your opponent, or better yet, dissuade your opponent’s constituents, than to blindly take a conflicting view on an issue. Generally being the loudest about an issue is a pretty good tactic as well. Just like my mother used to say, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

In many cases it can be difficult to gauge just how much vigor a particular politician or constituent actually feels about an issue or ideology. While there are a few damn squeaky wheels out there, not all should warrant our attention. Of course there in lies a problem. When everyone holds extreme ideologies in accordance with their political parties’ agenda, we completely lose a valuable discourse (also the leading cause of hair loss). We all carry our own biases, but when those begin to prevent any sort of progress, they cause us to regress in a way akin to the Land Before Time animated films.

Political discussion is always important, much like brushing your teeth and wiping your ass. Following a major shift in leadership or a big bowl of chili, it isn’t always pretty, but deadpan; uncompromising opposition is not a recipe for progress.

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