View Single Post
Old 30 May 2018, 11:24 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,367

Very good points by all of you.

Erwins, you hit upon what I think is the biggest key. You said "they are not acting out of evilness, but (from my perspective) out of misplaced values, mistaken assumptions, etc., but are still motivated to do what they think is right and best." And that is the key. At one point, all sides were focussed on what they thought was best for the country, not the party or themselves. Nowadays, it is not quite as clear, especially with an administration that appears to be overtly looking to enrich itself rather than serve the nation.

I've been following politics for over 30 years, and the level of discourse has eroded at about the same rate as the length of the soundbite. So, hit pieces are how you "debate" your opponent and diamatrically opposed is how you select your voting position.

Someone put a chart up on Twitter that expanded upon some earlier work demonstrating visually how polarised the political process has become in the US.

Chart is huge so I have it here as a link from a reddit page.

This tells me that for the most part, elected representatives are no longer voting on the issues with what they view is the best for their constituents. They are voting based upon how they can demoralise, defeat and destroy the other party and their supporters.

Although, I do believe that not all politicians are like that. It has just become the du jour thing, and was hastened by the election of the current president. I do think that Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr, Reagan and Carter all had the better interests of the country at heart. And I think that with these politicians, if an idea came from the other party that would achieve that aim, they would take it. But, some of their secretaries, appointees and deputies were not of that class. Specifically, I don't think Cheney was looking out for the best interests of the US during his tenure as Vice President. Likewise, Darlene Druyun, under-secretary for the air force under Clinton was only looking out to ensure her enrichment after she retired.

Don't get me wrong, there were and are honourable people working those jobs, Colin Powell, John Kerry etc, but the bad apples can make an administration fall.

But to your big point, erwins. How do we talk to each other. I see it in three forms...

First, the politicos need to be able to talk. Having an insult match between pundits, or having a Kellyanne Conway pile of messages is not discourse. It is entertainment and fuel for anger. Those who deal with politics need good, moderated round tables whereby issues are discussed rationally and clearly.

Second, those of us at the voting end of the political spectrum need to stop making anyone who does not agree the enemy. I've seen situations where people who can't agree on an issue dehumanise the other. For goodness' sake, they are both still Americans.

Finally, we need to cut down the noise. Post-truth is the buzzword, whereby truthiness is its predecessor. Conspiracy theories abound in US politics, to the point where there is a sizeable amount of Americans that still believe that President Obama was born in Nigeria and George Bush authorised the terror attacks of Sept 11. We need to cut out that noise and focus on what is best for the US. Should there be a wall? Maybe, but determine logical and rational reasons for it. Is there a need to renegotiate NAFTA? Perhaps, but let's allow market data and business inputs inform the decision. Is it time to call North Korea's hand? I don't know, but there needs to be something better than conspiracy theories fuelling the decisions cycle.

Very good question. I'm glad you asked.
Reply With Quote