There are two sides to every political issue, three if you count those who don’t really give a damn. If you put 100 people in a room, you will be able to split them up between those who believe in climate change versus those who don’t. You can split them up between those who are for LGBT rights, and those are are not. Same goes for abortion, isolationism, healthcare, etc. Depending upon demographics, the split may be even or it may be lopsided, but chances are, there will be a split.
Politicians tell you your beliefs and opinions matter. This forms the core of an ideology that that perpetuate. At the center is a structure that you can be defined by, leaving the fringes of that ideology as icing on the cake. You may not care for the icing, but as long as the cake itself meets your standards, you are all for it. You fill your mouth with the cake, devouring it until you are totally consumed by it. You literally are what you eat. That icing? It is still there, but who cares?
The first step of successful politics is to appear to empathize with people’s positions. Simply take a core belief – such as rights for homosexuals, and build your platform on that, and you will have support from one group of people. Likewise, through in climate change, pro-choice views and socio-democratic economics, and you will virtually ensure your rise on the liberal side of American politics. Vice-versa, do the opposite, and you will rise on the conservative side of American politics. it does not matter if you truly belief the views that you hijack, just that you say the right things, shake the right hands and kiss the right babies. It doesn’t matter if you are racist, a womanizer (or a “manizer??” – i don’t know, but you get it), a billionaire, or whatever. As long as you toe that ideological line, you will rise. Yes, scandal can be your downfall, so you have to be careful, especially once on the national stage, but getting there is possible no matter who you are.
This is both the beauty and the beast of American politics. It is the heart of the game. Take hold of strong beliefs and hijack them from the people who believe them, essentially forcing people to support you – cause that other guy or gal surely doesn’t.
You don’t believe me… I’m too cynical you say. Example: I once asked someone if they would support a political candidate who said they would continue fighting in Iraq, willing to use massive weapons of destruction, but they said they were pro-life.. aka, anti-abortion. That person told me yes, because it was abortion that matters. I asked someone else, who I knew was “pro-war”, the same question but instead of war used economics, they again said yes, it was not the economy that mattered but “God’s judgement on the nation that was coming because of abortion.” To be fair, I also asked a female friend of mine when I was in college, a long, long time ago in a state far, far away, if one candidate agreed with her economic positions, but the other one did not, but the one who did was pro-life and the one who didn’t was pro-choice, who would she vote for. The one who was pro-choice was her answer, because women’s rights was really all that mattered to her.
Icing matters to few, cake matters to all, and in these three cases, abortion was the cake. Even after i explained to the ones who were pro-life that whoever was president wouldn’t change abortion, and vice-versa to the one who was pro-choice – they didn’t care. To them, abortion was the issue, even if, to be honest, politically, it didn’t matter. Their hearts were won by the one who stood on the stage espousing a certain belief, their other convictions be damned.
The “Game” is afoot, literally. It is a race to see how large of an army one can mobilize in time to win. Abortion is just one segment of the race, just one platoon in the battalion.
When I was in the Marine Corps, my opinions did not matter. In fact, opinions period did not matter, only the orders from the top. You could have opinions, but you best kept them to yourself. In the Republican and Democrat armies of the “United” States of America, your opinion is what keeps you tethered. You may look at the Democrats, as a Republican and say, “my God, that really makes sense, BUT, the support “enter the issue here,” and I could never support that.” Same goes the other way. In an ironic plea to her Democrat family, Nancy Pelosi ACTUALLY called for her party to welcome in people who are liberally minded that are pro-life. This does not mean that Pelosi cares for people who are pro-life, but only that they, the Democratic party, see the need to be slightly more inclusive to help ensure victory in the next election cycle. I would not be surprised in Republicans do something similar, but obviously to the opposite effect. The bottom line is that politicians take your beliefs and make them their own – not because they truly believe it, but because they want to win. Note: I am not saying that politicians do not have beliefs and convictions, I believe they all do, but I also believe that once someone gets to where they are going, those beliefs become trumped (no pun intended) for the greater good… of their own party.
I have said it before, I do not believe in democracy. Historically, democracy has never brought a people together, only driven them apart. Consensus government may be better, but in today’s day and age would have a hard time working. First, who would actually be the leaders, and second, would they actually be able to come to a real compromise and then show a united face. Taking the Roman senatorial model, it could work, but like them, more then likely doomed to fail. Autocracy… never mind. The ultimate problem is that humanity needs a leader. We need a “king,” someone to praise when they succeed, someone to blame when everything falls apart. We refuse to take any sort of global responsibility ourselves, and therefore allow our beliefs to be taken from and used for a movement. We end up putting more credence in those who take out beliefs then our actual beliefs themselves, and then we complain that the politicians are the problem. But, it is all part of the game.
I posted a video to my Facebook of Rep. Joe Kennedy III railing against the Republican’s version of their health care plan – their repeal of “Obamacare.” The comments the video received were typical – “conservatives” blasted the video, while “liberals” blasted those who blasted the video. In many ways, the post was a social experiment to prove the existence of the game – and in that, it was a success.
As I have said, politicians have hijacked our own, personal morality. Our beliefs, our struggles and our opinions are held hostage by those who seek and maintain power. The sad reality is that we not only let them, but we then take our own response to the events of the day from platforms that we had no part of forming. Healthcare, like abortion mentioned above, is but on of these platforms, with two sides arguing over and seeking power through or because of political resolutions that are far from perfect. Both sides attack each other, and we eat it up on a daily basis – seeking the latest news with coffee in our hands each morning, and monitoring our preferred news outlet throughout the day.
Let me say this – a controversial statement to be sure – it is my opinion that this healthcare bill, like the one before it, does not truly matter. True universal healthcare will not come to all, and though the goal is noble, the pitch will never truly leave the hand of the pitcher. In baseball terms, the Republican bill, like the Democrat bill before it, was simply a balk. Same goes for most bills that take the form of a controversial subject.
Anything that begins with the government is doomed to fail by actions of that same government. It is why we hold elections, it is why we denounced a king 243+ years ago. Somehow, men and women – mostly men due to the social norms of the day, had got tired of the game as it was played by British politicians and royalty. Finally, after tired of being ignored, there was a rebellion, which became a revolution due to the success of it. Unfortunately, even though some of these men did not want the game to continue, because of human nature it did, and began to thrive, eventually getting to where it is today.
To you, it may be about healthcare, it may be about abortion, homosexuality, race, economy or foreign policy. You may be pro-choice or pro-life, you may be pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT – and to you it matters. You may want healthcare for all, you may believe healthcare is a privilege – and to you it matters. To them, it is all a power play – we could see that by those hesitant to cast their votes in the House of Representatives for the Republican healthcare bill – waiting to see if the votes would be there so maybe they could refrain to protect their political positions.
One more controversial statement – It is my opinion and belief that those who have been elected to public office on a national scale do not truly care about you. They only care about your opinion if it will get them elected. Once elected, the only concern is their own agenda – you want proof, just look at the current President.
With all of that being said, what is the answer? That is the question my friends.