Friday, November 7, 2008

Just Talkin' Politics

What is it exactly about election time that makes perfectly normal human beings act like neanderthal buffoons? Some people, teens and adults alike, think that just because they are "talkin' politics" it gives them a free pass to say things that are rude, mean, disrespectful and racially insensitive. Things are said and sent that would never be uttered or passed along under normal circumstances.

I teach 8th grade, so I hear a lot of comments from kids about the presidential race this year. Comments that are gross over generalizations of the issues at best and fantasy turned fact at worst - from both sides. Truthfully though, the verbiage they are spouting is little more than repetition of what parents are saying or outright parroting of political ads.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but when are we going to learn to critically evaluate what we see, hear and read? Just because something is in print or we see it on TV doesn't make it true or unbiased or from a reliable source.

In To Kill a Mockingbird Miss Maudie tells Scout, "Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than whiskey in the hand of another." Sometimes a little political information is no better than rat poison. Opinions seep out that poison relationships, damage perceptions and ruin any chance of sharing what is right and good.

Mean-spirited comments are mean-spirited comments whether they are cloaked behind the guise of "talkin' politics" or not. The election is over and we will have a new president. Bush is out. Obama is in. It's Hoover & FDR all over again. Hoover took the fall for a lot of things outside his control and FDR got to be the good guy and clean it all up. We have checks and balances in our government for a reason. Historically speaking, these things have a way of evening themselves out and cycling back around. Sure, the pendulum may swing a little further to one side than we're comfortable with, but the backlash will likely swing back as far.

I'm no expert, so I will now dismount my soap box...