A friend of my sister did the unthinkable the other day – he asked my opinion on a current topic.
Social media has become a platform for advocacy without attendance, lately – people with thrust their opinions into their own spotlight without much consideration of the accuracy of their sources, the potential for that bothersome “echo chamber” issue, or the residual fallout which may result from a differing opinion. I typically refrain from such participation in that I have not the unfettered access to unbiased facts, nor do I have a degree in political science that many seem to think they have in proselytizing their version of the truth.
…Well, all of the above and I just don’t have the patience anymore. You have your ideas, I have mine, and I’d rather argue which brand of dog food makes for the nastiest canine flatulence.
I say “unthinkable” only for the fact that the conversation which I try to avoid resulted from the question actually helped me define my apolitically moderate stance and showed that it is quite possible these days to actually have a conversation…
Danny: “…What did you think of Obama to what you think now with Trump?”
Me: “Give me a bit to get home and be able to compose properly.”
“I haven’t forgotten, Danny… politics are one of those things that there is never really an easy answer – especially when one is disgusted and distrustful of politicians.
These are great pictures, and he tended to be very charismatic as a President… and at times, he was pretty eloquent. Other times, not so much, but holding such an office entails stresses we cannot imagine.
What did I think? There hasn’t been a person in office for most of my adult life that I liked. Ok, ALL of my adult life, now that I think of it… and while he succeeded in a lot, he failed at a lot. There is no such thing as a perfect President, really. One of the biggest things I had an issue with over the last 8 years is that, if you disagreed with his policies, you were instantly labeled a racist. In that sense, I feel that a lot of genuine concerns were stifled or minimized with the threat of being incorrectly categorized. On the other hand, if you agreed with his policies, you were labeled as an apologist… There was little chance of dialogue when it came to having an opinion about the last 8 years without it launching on several different tangents other than the matter at hand.
What do I think? It will be more of the same, but with more anger. I wouldn’t want the job that Trump is about to take… just like I wouldn’t have wanted it 8 years ago… 16 years ago… ect. We’ve become lazy in political involvement, somewhat, in that terms are now 8 years instead of 4, essentially. Do I think he (Trump) has the capacity of doing well? Sure. Do I think that he can royally screw the pooch in a way that no other President has since Andrew Johnson or Herbert Hoover? Sure. We shall see, but I will remain skeptical and cynical, as I have for my whole adult life…”
Danny: “That is really well said and points that I’ve never thought or looked at before I can’t argue with you there…”
Me: “… anyone can argue, Danny.
There’s a lot more to my perspectives than what I posted – I was in a rush and got carried away with an ‘I’m still thinking about it’ placeholder. Well, that, and the fact that Facebook tends to have the post-Taco Bell digestive issue when it comes to people’s opinions being excreted -forcefully- without anyone ever asking for theirs in the first place.
That is part of the problem, though… people type before thinking, especially when it is about something so polarizing as a comparison between the two. Hell, just watch any ‘news’ show where they have people with opposing points of view – all they do is talk louder until the other person gets pissed and shuts up/shuts down or talks even louder. There is no point in such crap… it’s no longer a ‘discussion’ or ‘debate’ and only a competition of who can spout supporting facts faster, louder, and more importantly-sounding.
What it comes down to, for me, is ‘who benefits?’ If you and I take opposing views that we hold dearly and debate the ‘normal’ way, as above, will we change the other person’s point of view? Nope. Both sides become entrenched (I seem to be using this analogy a lot on FB – it featured in my MLK note the other day). Now, if we take a different approach – the “reasonable” way, you and I may not change our ideas about the issue, but we’ll build respect in the process, in spite of our differences, and respect leads to effective communication and problem resolution… theoretically.
It doesn’t matter the label of the people in discussion of the topic being discussed, it is all about the manner in which it occurs that interests and draws me in. Obama….Trump… it doesn’t matter – they are both idiots and respectable guys, at the same time. What truly frightens and concerns me is the people who continue to isolate themselves from the identity that binds them together in this whole mess: ‘American.’ We’ve seen what happens when ideologies become fragmented and supported by angry, non-communicating Americans… Ah, but that is history, and folks only want to cherry-pick the juiciest fruits of the past to satisfy their appetites.
We shall see what happens, but in the meantime, I’ll keep sitting back and reading the arguments on Facebook and thinking…”