Archive for hypocrisy

Politics asĀ Usual

Posted in politics with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

I’m always excited whenever I watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It’s the biting commentary, the no-holds-barred look at the news media and politics. But I’m most excited when Stewart catches politicians in their own lies. When he compares Republicans’ defiance to decisions that President Obama makes to Republicans’ praise for similar decisions that President Bush made. When he catches Democrats praising Obama for ideas that they didn’t like when Bush proposed them. When politicians blatantly make up lies about legislation simply because the other party thought it was a good idea.

But even though this type of “gotcha!” comedy is great, it’s also disheartening, that we’re letting political identification get in the way of progress and a better standard of living. Democrats pushing for health care reform are blocked by Republicans who probably also want it, but don’t want to admit it because they need to stay “true to their party.” Democrats tearing down Republicans for wanting tougher border control, even though they probably want it, but can’t admit it because it doesn’t jive with their party platform.

And even though I try to keep an open mind about my friends’ political values, every once in a while I’ll catch myself. “My best friend in the world is a Conservative? I better find a new best friend.”

It’s odd to think that way, and I’m constantly amazed at how politicians can always do this. It really hit me my freshman year of college, when I was taking a class on the 2008 election. Before class one day, one of my classmates came up to me and said, “Did you hear?”

“About what?” I asked. I was expecting something important, as there was much urgency in her voice.

“Kayla* voted for McCain.” She was honestly offended by such a move. She couldn’t believe it. And for a moment, I couldn’t believe it, either. Here she was, a music major like myself, probably one of the most liberal of all majors on campus, and she voted Republican.

It was a strange feeling to realize that I had judged wrongly on political identification. But I’ve also noticed that this sort of thing happens with religious identification, too.

One of my professors out right told the class last term that he was an atheist. At first, a chill ran down my spine: how can I trust thatĀ someone who doesn’t believe in God is teaching me the right things?

And then, as I thought about it, his religious identification had nothing to do with the class topic (political terrorism) or his personality (a “BAMF,” as the kids say).

It seems silly to me that different political, religious, etc. identification can impact someone’s view of other people. It’s crazy, and if people would think for just a moment and realize how crazy it actually is, they might stop.

But it won’t stop. As long as political extremists like Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, and others like them keep pushing an irrelevant and useless political agenda that no one can conclusively agree on to build up or tear down decisions that other parties make, nothing will get done. It’s why America is where it is today: we are children, and we make fun of and don’t trust people who are different from us.

It’s a plea that often falls on deaf ears, but it’s a plea that is crucial and important: can’t we all just work together? Can’t we all just get along?

*Name changed