The sad state of American politics

15 May

I haven’t written anything in awhile, like many of us, I am suffering from the sad state of politics in America, it has worn me down. I am discouraged on many levels but foremost is the practice of countering legitimate and well founded criticism with name calling and superficial attempts to discredit, not just to discredit but to belittle and ridicule to an extreme.

Legitimately criticize a politician of color, no matter how well founded and articulated the criticism and your called a racist.

Criticize a politician who happens to be a woman or a policy like mandating that religious organizations employer health insurance provide  contraceptives and abortifacients at no cost to employees and you are labeled as a warrior against women.

If you are for preventing fraud at the polls by requiring voters to present identification and you are called a Jim Crow racist in favor of disenfranchising minority voters.

If you dare point out that the theory of man-made global warming and predictions of rising ocean levels and widespread desertification have been fabricated (climategate) by a group of people competing for research dollars (awarded for research which supports the hypothesis that man is causing the warming) and you are called a denier. Denier is an extremely offensive term which is associated with bigoted idiots who deny that millions of Jews were killed by German Nazis in the 1940s.

If you call for our congress to exercise fiscal responsibility and adherence to the Constitution you are scorned as an unsophisticated teabagger. I say scorned because of the level of vitriolic hatred that those who use that term have for Americans that have risen up against big government.

This is what is wrong with politics in America, its why most Americans are disconnected with the political process. It also is not going to go away. Today I see that if you are a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and you vote to reject a nominee for a Richmond Judgeship who happens to be gay because he has a history of activism and advocacy, you will be labeled as  homophobic.

The House of Delegates voted 33 to 31, with 10 abstentions, to make Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland a General District Court judge in Richmond. He had needed 51 votes in the 100-member chamber to win appointment. Those on the left claim that Thorne-Begland was rejected simply because he is gay. Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, D-Alexandria, called the House, homophobic. Mr. Thorne-Beglands activist history raises legitimate concerns about his ability to fairly and subjectively act on the bench and the claim that any Delegate voting against him has committed some anti-gay hate crime is repulsive. This is a mindset that says, regardless of their history or ideology, we can never oppose those on the left without being labeled as someone who is unsophisticated and outside of what is acceptable in our current society.

I am a political animal. I am always eager to engage those with differing opinions on the issues of the day. To debate the details and implications of policies and programs. To argue and attempt to persuade is how we govern ourselves but this tactic of vilifying those you oppose is juvenile and unproductive and must cease if we are to climb out of the great recess we are now in.


Posted by on May 15, 2012 in politics


7 responses to “The sad state of American politics

  1. Pedro

    May 15, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I could not have articulated that any more succinctly. I consider myself to be of an open mind and my contact list is extremely diverse. However, the recent and current climate of political discourse has cost me numerous friends or, at best, rendered old friends to mere acquaintances. Certainly my views contribute to that deterioration but what has driven me to that separation is the vitriol that my former friends dish out, not aimed at me personally, but at the right and the Tea Party in particular. I continue to maintain my civility but my disgust with the left has become palpable. I was never a big spender in regard to political contributions but the level of contention that I am living with has driven me hard to the right and my pockets have opened. I guess there is some benefit to the character assassinations coming from the left. I am in full counterattack mode but my tactics are more in line with figurative sticks and stones instead of name calling. Bring it.

  2. klem

    May 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

    “Denier is an extremely offensive term which is associated with bigoted idiots who deny that millions of Jews were killed by German Nazis in the 1940s.”

    I do not find the term climate denier offensive one bit, for me its a badge of honor. I enjoy being called a climate denier, when they call me that I know I’m getting under thier skin. I’ve won.

  3. P. Henry Saddleburr

    May 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Well said and I know the syndrome. It is difficult to remember that the reason the left is throwing hate bombs is because we’re winning the arguments and we’re winning at the ballot box. They’re frightened because they are beginning to realize that they have set themselves up for electoral obscurity for many years to come.

    It started in Virginia in 2009, rolled into 2010 with massive force and is growing into an all out repudiation in 2012.

  4. nooneofanyimport

    May 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Well said. I’ll add only one little tweak:

    “but this tactic of vilifying those you oppose is juvenile and unproductive and must cease if we are to climb out of the great recess . . .”

    Yes, yes, and no. It’s juvenile, it’s unproductive, but . . . it shouldn’t cease. It should keep on flowing, because it will be the left’s own undoing. The kind of “unproductivity” I can applaud.

  5. Rick

    August 19, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I found myself at this website off a google search for sad state of politics. Here is my two cents.
    Firstly, I am NOT “on the left”, “liberal” or any other derivation of these terms.
    What I don’t understand is how everyone is so short-sighted and shallow in their thinking. The real elephant in the room is the utterly corrupt system in place that is shared and protected by BOTH political parties. It seems ridiculous that we argue about the same stale non-issues that are spoon fed to us by the people who are in power or by those who benefit from the status quo.
    Your positions on the arguments you presented are all too predictable. You may as well be a machine labeled as “conservative”, only to spit out the predetermined response to the position de jour.
    I apologize if I offend you, its not my intention. I too am sick of watching this country fail and have become bitter.
    1. Donors to political party: BOTH sides have large donors who spend millions full well expecting to get a large return on their investment. A lot of them give to both parties to ensure they are rewarded. Why should you choose to complain about one particular party doing this? Why aren’t we all in the streets demanding that money does not equal free speech and that corporations are not people. Do you disagree with these two points? I would love to have a national discussion about this.
    2. I agree with your second point. The government should stay out of religion. I do also STRONGLY believe that religions should stay out of government as well.
    We are also very confused about sexism and racism in this country. We are very angry when our differences are pointed out in a negative way but literally celebrate these same differences in other situations. For example, if a black man becomes president, or if a woman sits on the supreme court or if a Latino wins gold in the olympics. When are we going to just be just people, solely judged by our merits and actions?
    Lets all get past abortion already! The measure of our morality is not whether or not it is legal but whether or not it is done. Let’s keep it legal but ensure that no one ever has one. We could accomplish this if we all work together to identify the causes and create solutions. Making it illegal will NOT stop people from having them. Rather, it will only make it underground and more dangerous. I believe that a fetus is an innocent person just as strongly as I believe a scared 16 year old girl who dies in a botched abortion is an innocent person. Some possible problems that lead to women needing an abortion which I would love to discuss: Our society is based upon consumption, largely driven by advertisements that use sex to sell. Religions vilify the natural instincts to have sex. We don’t talk about it. We don’t educate people about it.
    3. Yes, let’s have some way to make sure there is no voting fraud. Let’s also not forget that both parties are guilty of manipulating the system. I don’t really understand the big deal about having to show ID but I have not looked into it. We should have a day off for voting though.
    4. Global warming: another sore point for me. First, if you deny evolution then there is no point in discussing this topic anymore. At some point you just cannot have a conversation with someone who can look at all the evidence and still not believe. Science is not perfect. It cannot be. There is a lot of evidence though that we are ruining this Earth through unnecessary and selfish actions. I love nature. I love clean water and air. I don’t want to pay Coca-cola company money for clean water. I love animals and bugs and plants and forests and oceans and mountains. Why can’t we agree that there is no need to ruin all these things with pollution? There are solutions to all these problems that will require all of us to change our paradigms about life on earth. These solutions I think will also make us happier and more fulfilled. For example, lets eat better food that is grown in local farms from which one of your neighbors owns and works. Lets spend some time preparing healthy food in our kitchens with our families instead of picking up some garbage from a greasy fast food joint and stuffing our faces in front of the TV. Lets find ways to walk and ride bikes more and drive less. See your neighborhood, connect with the people around you. Why are we all on the same schedule of 8am to 5pm M-F so that there is always traffic? There are thousands of ways to improve our lives that will also improve our planet.
    5. The constitution: YES, lets all examine that document much closer and abide by it’s law. BOTH parties have trampled it.

    We need to stop playing by the rules made by our corrupt ruling class. The real terrorists are institutions such as banks, governments and religions. They perform a function but are animals that need to be watched over carefully by all of us. There is no “right” or “left”. There are only a bunch of suckers who are so busy fighting each other that they don’t notice the real crooks. I thought the tea party would help but I see it has been corrupted as well; by religion and by hate (in my opinion).

    Yes, it is a sad state of affairs indeed.

    • Martin M. McMartin

      August 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

      Well Rick you have a lot to say. In the interest of time (mine) I will limit my reply to two of your points.

      Lets all get past abortion already! The measure of our morality is not whether or not it is legal but whether or not it is done. Let’s keep it legal but ensure that no one ever has one.

      The same argument could be made against child abuse and it would be just as ridiculous and outrageous.

      My other comment a general response that most of our ills are the result of the utopian idealism that when faced with any problem we should rely on a strong central government to come up with a solution. I believe a government that governs least governs best and that government that is closest to the people (local) is most responsive and accountable. I am disgusted by the federal government mandating local issues like school curriculum and building codes. I would also comment that the government should not play any role in what we eat or how much we exercise or what time we go to work, just because something is perceived as a good idea does not expand the constraints our constitution has placed on our government.

  6. Rick

    August 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    That’s a good point about child abuse. However, I have a feeling that whether or not child abuse is legal rarely enters into the thought process of someone who makes that choice. Again, my wish is that abortion never happens. Its just that I don’t think that making a law against it will stop it. This also fits into your second main point in your reply. A law against abortion is just a lazy big government pseudo-fix that will not accomplish the intended purpose.

    I whole-heartedly agree with your general response. I too am disgusted by federal mandates as you describe. It robs us of our humanity. It keeps people from having to be alive and think about their positions and their choices. We should challenge people more and help them less. It’s only when you work for something that you really appreciate it.

    It would be bad enough if we had a strong central government that made laws based on some notion of what would be best for the people. But what we have is much worse. We have a strong central government that acts solely on the behalf of the highest bidders.

    So my main point is that BOTH political parties and the current tea party are all the same basically. Except for the details, they all are in favor of strengthening existing institutions. When I read the articles and opinions on this site, all I see is the same brainwashing, just a different version of it.

    People like you who have the passion, time and know-how to create such a site will be among those who will save us (if we are to be saved). We need to evolve out of this “left versus right”, “right-wing versus liberal” crap. It is not helping and it plays right into the hands of those that are manipulating us. If we choose to demonize and ignore whole sets of ideas (no matter where their origin) it will be to our detriment.

    We cannot get anywhere as long as there is corruption. So my question to you is this. Is our political system corrupted? If yes, by what?


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