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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Politics Shmolitics

Yesterday, the more pleas I saw for people to go out and vote, the more uncomfortable I felt. Plenty of the blogs I hit up everyday said something along the lines of "Vote and if you don't, don't complain." Folks, this is why I find discussing politics so alienating.

There are plenty of reasons why I don't discuss politics on here or in my everyday conversations. The biggest reason is because I don't have a lot of interest in politics in the first place. By what I've seen, heard and read for the last eight years, political debates are usually pissing contests. Judging by the views I've processed, it would be easy to think that we're all slowly going downhill either on the left, right or down the middle. Yet I don't think we're going totally downhill or totally uphill. Debating the direction we're going seems futile, especially when adults start screaming at each other like they're in grade school.

To my ears, political debates are similar to how people talk about professional sports. They think they can sway matters, but they're not in full control in deciding who goes and who stays. Wouldn't it sound silly if I got all huffy-and-puffy talking about Tom Waits not using guitarist Marc Ribot on an album and debating someone to the death about it? I think so. That's why I don't discuss matters like I'm in a political debate.

What's really difficult about discussing politics is talking about them with friends and family. When Bush was re-elected in 2004, someone very close to me threw me a mean cheapshot: "The right person won." As someone who didn't vote for Bush that year, I wasn't about to throw any cheapshots towards the people that did vote for him, so it hurt. This was a reminder that talking politics can bring out the worst in our hurtful sides. Sorry, but I'm not interested in hurting people like this.

What's even more difficult is having a view that appears to be in the minority around your circle of friends and family. I remember in fifth grade, almost everyone in my class wanted Bush to win over Dukakis. Only one guy wanted Dukakis to win (apparently because he shook his hand at a rally). The boy was teased as it seemed like Bush was the better man by a mile. Looking back, I'm glad he didn't cave in with his views.

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a MySpace bulletin that I could relate to:

I myself did not vote. Why? I didn't educate myself enough on the issues and facts of the candidates. I just know I fucking hate Rick Perry and that he's got to go. Even then, I felt I didn't know enough. I'm not proud of this fact, and it's a shame I didn't learn more so I could vote.

Whatever you decided to do today, I hope you did what you felt needed to be done.


Reading this was a breath of fresh air, but when I heard that he got "slammed" by others for saying this, I felt bad for him. The way I see it, I have a right to vote and a right to not vote. Both have consequences, so why does one sound so much better than the other? Is voting blindly way better than not voting at all?

I'm not a lemming and I learned some lessons with the 2004 election. I choose to keep these relatively private as I'm not interested in creating an all-out-war with those around me. All I know is this, with word that the Democrats won a lot of races yesterday, a lot of my friends are happy but a lot of the members of my family aren't. I'm not going to choose sides here: they're my friends and family. We can agree to disagree but I disagree in turning political discussions into witch hunts and trials.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see politics this way, which is a paraphrase of something you mentioned before:

"If you don't like what you see, get involved".

vote for the lesser evil or create a new party. not choosing, is just allowing someone else to run your life for you, however they see fit.

The Flip Flop Girl said...

I am a casual observer of politics and a serious observer of issues. Well, what can we say when a mid-term elections topples such a problematic figure as Donald Rumsfeld. I'm not so sure about his replacement but Rummy was supposed to stay on to the very end and now he's gone! I think that's significant.

jen said...

My point for all of this: if you don't agree with what's being handed to you, think deep inside yourself and see what you can do.

your words. but they should apply to more than just music and blogs if you ask me.

yesterday wasn't about debates and pissing contests. people's posts and comments were about being ACTIVE, regardless of point of view. not wanting to get in disagreements with friends and family is one thing, but waving your right to have a voice, one that you are under no obligation to explain to anyone else, seems to go against a point that you've used in several posts.

i'm confused -- why are we supposed to try to change some things but not others?

Useless Man said...

I'm with you. Who cares about politics...

Let's talk about something safe and easy: religion!

nerver said...

Is it really a "breath of fresh air" that someone didn't do the research, didn't educate themselves? I hope that's not what you're saying.

Hopefully, you were referring to the honesty of the post and not the apathy.

One great thing about the right to vote in America: you can be completely silent and still have a voice.

Eric Grubbs said...

Is it really a "breath of fresh air" that someone didn't do the research, didn't educate themselves? I hope that's not what you're saying.

Hopefully, you were referring to the honesty of the post and not the apathy.


I appreciated my friend being honest about doing what he did (or didn't do). I understand you guys want to encourage people to get out and vote, but I have a lot of reasons why I chose to do what I did (or didn't do). This is a really tricky subject for me to talk about without things getting ugly, so that's all I'm going to comment on for now.

fuzzbuzz said...

Maybe you've already read my post on the matter but I agree that this topic brings out the finger-pointing worst in people. Bottom line is it's nobodies business if you voted or not and people shouldn't try and make you feel like an evil citizen for not voting, voting or voting for who you did. It's called Freedom and Privacy.

nerver said...

Hey, that's totally cool, I was just curious what you liked about that post. I too applaud the honesty, but wish that more people would make the effort to actually educate themselves (on lots of things really) rather than using ignorance as an excuse for inaction.

I do have an observation though. I don't see any one on here attacking you, personally, for doing or not doing, so you shouldn't feel that way. In fact, this is the least rowdy political discussion I've been privy to all day.

It's clear you don't like political discussion or political debate, and yet by writing that post, you had to know you'd be starting one...however gentle.

nerver said...

Amen, Fuzzbuzz. Which is why I never speak of politics or religion with my father! ;)

Eric Grubbs said...

I do have an observation though. I don't see any one on here attacking you, personally, for doing or not doing, so you shouldn't feel that way. In fact, this is the least rowdy political discussion I've been privy to all day.

It's clear you don't like political discussion or political debate, and yet by writing that post, you had to know you'd be starting one...however gentle.


I knew that if I talked about how amazing the new Killswitch Engage record is today, I wouldn't be firing on all cylinders because my mind has been on other issues. This whole election was really eating at me for the past few weeks and it came to a head yesterday. So I felt obliged to talk about my feelings on the whole plea to vote. I guess I could say this is stepping out of my safety zone.

I knew I would get some comments, so just to be on the safe side, I prepared for the worst. Like you said to Trish, this is extremely touchy stuff and some fireworks are prone to fly, especially between family members. I don't like hotly debating stuff, but I didn't want my take on yesterday collect dust in my head.

jen said...

i'm not trying to say you're a bad person in any way. i guess i was just a little thrown off because of your past drive to do something, make a change, etc. when it comes to the other things that you post about. i can't tell if you're indifferent when it comes to the election or just don't want to discuss it. either way, everyone's entitled to their own opinions and decisions and it's really no one else's business.

i understand the desire to not talk about politics, religion, etc. because it can stir up unnecessary disagreements and hard feelings between friends, family, and even strangers. it's just funny that in your desire to not want to talk about politics, you (and everyone who's commenting) sort of are.

i'm like nerver in that i don't discuss stuff like this with family because of differences. hell, i have quite a few differences with her too!

fuzzbuzz said...

Oooh now things are warming up! ;)

hailey's mom said...

grubbs,

i thought this was a great post on your feelings and i have to say, i wholeheartedly agree with you.

it's funny to me how a lot of people pull out their smart caps around voting time and always have something to say to make other people feel bad for either their vote or for not voting at all. you just can't win. i always change the subject when my friends start talking politics. it just isn't worth an argument to me.

and that's just my opinion. there, i spoke up. =)