I don’t want to talk about politics anymore. There, I said it.
The reason is fairly simple – I no longer know what the word “politics” is even supposed to mean.
When I think of politics, the first thing that comes to my mind was that year I joined The Debate Club. It was actually rather fascinating (or, as fascinating as a high school debate club can get, anyway.) At the start of every month, the teacher would assign us a topic before splitting the room in half. One side would have to argue for whatever the topic was, the other would argue against it. From then until the end of the month, we’d have to research whatever topic it was, discussing it with our teammates every week before the big debate. Part of what made it interesting was that we also had to try and guess what the other side was going to say so that we could respond to it in some way.
That whole experience made me look at things in new ways. It made me question why I believe the things I do, and everything that goes along with it.
When I think about the way politics are supposed to be – that’s what I picture. Now, I watch a presidential debate or listen to political commentary on some cable news station, I’m just left scratching my head.
For the last several years, talking about politics have left me feeling … a bit weird. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes, I feel like I am being enveloped in a cloud of despair to which there is no hope of escape.
I stopped watching those cable news channels, including some of my favorite shows. At the time, I thought it was because they were a constant reminder of just how polarizing politics had become.
Political debates had turned into nothing more than a series of talking points … repetition of political slogans … lies and half-truths outnumbered the truth in a major way. Nobody seemed to want to talk about issues. Nobody wanted to talk about how their policies worked or how it was really going to effect people.
It really seemed as if each side was saying whatever they could say to make their party look good while making the opposing side look bad.
Political theater had overtaken common sense.
Here is what really scares me.
What does the state of American politics say about us, as a people, as a nation? Think about that for just a second.
In America, we like to pride ourselves on being the best. We have the best sports teams, our movies are way better than everyone else’s, we have the best schools, the best food, America is the best at Everything! We are the best nation, and there is absolutely nothing that beats The American Way Of Life. Nothing!
In school, we are taught stories about people coming to live here seeking a better life. We’re taught about The American Dream. See, America is such a truly amazing place.
Now, let’s take a step back.
When Roy Moore began campaigning for the U.S. Senate, he would be facing a man, Doug Jones, who was pretty much his complete and total opposite.
Jones’ main claim to fame had been his time as U.S. Attorney … most notably the successful prosecution of several KKK members who had bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church. I won’t get into the details here, but it’s a fascinating story if you want to look it up.
Moore, on the other hand, had a career in politics. A career marred by several scandals and controversies. In both 2003 and 2016, Moore had been removed from office for violating individuals constitutional rights. On several occasions, he urged courts to ignore federal laws and statutes. There had been allegations he’d inappropriately used his own foundation’s money by giving it to himself. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
During the campaign, several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, including having sex with a minor. Moore denied the allegations, but he also admitted to them in a rather weird way. At one point, he said that he had dated some teenage girls, but there was nothing wrong with it because he had their parents permission. (Yes, he was much older than a teenager himself when this was going on.) He’d also made a comment about how the younger the girl, the purer they are, not having been tainted by womanhood.
What was truly shocking was the way The Republican Party backed this man. Yes, there had been some question throughout most of the election, but at the end, they (as well as The President) endorsed him with nearly everything they had. The sentiment was spoken loud and clear – he may have made his mistakes and been marred by controversies, but he’s better than the Democrat.
Seriously, the only thing they could attack Jones on was being a Democrat.
It was a close call, but ultimately Moore lost the election and Jones would be sworn into the Senate seat.
As I said, what does that say about us, as part of The American People, to have participated in a “debate” (for lack of a better word) where someone twice removed from office for violating people’s constitutional rights, who was facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including “dating” young teenage girls (with parental consent) nearly won his bid for senate seat.
We can now, after the fact, take a bit of relief that the creepy guy lost, but it does not in any way shape or form take away the fact that we were entranced in that debate in the first place.
For some of us, the Presidential situation is just as bad. This isn’t about who won or who lost the election. It’s about what we, the American People, were willing to put up with.
I would think that when someone brags about sexually assaulting women, he should be disqualified from public office. I would think that someone who makes racist statements, mocks the disabled, and refuses to release his tax returns (and getting caught lying about the reasons why) should be disqualified from public office.
Not only that … but …
Since taking office, he has continued to get caught in lie after lie. He’s politically acted against the best interests of the nation, just because someone told him it’d be a good idea. He fails to see the big picture in anything other than himself. He has alienated our national allies and has proven time and time again that he knows absolutely nothing about politics.
In public (dare I mention Twitter) he acts like a baby. Or, a spoiled brat. He’s alienated our allies while praising our enemies.
And at no point during all of this has there been a discussion of political ideas. There has been no debate into the actions he takes as a representative of our nation.
In many ways, America has become a laughing stock. We’ve lost our credibility, not only with our friends, but also with ourselves.
What does that say about us … The American People?
What I’m hearing so far … it isn’t all that good.