It is getting harder every day to discuss politics, simply because the electorate is too polarized. I believe that to be on purpose, a ruse to keep people from talking about the things that matter. Politicians want this situation to be commonplace, in order that we stay disgusted with the process and don’t look at it too closely, or begin to think that we can repair the current abysmal state of government. The mainstream media is certainly complicit. They talk about what the politicians want to talk about, which has nothing to do with meaningful issues. It’s all fluff.
We are kept focused on non-issues; the age, color, or sex of candidates, not what they believe about critical issues. We don’t even talk about critical issues. We talk about the difference between pro-life and pro-choice, two meaningless word-sets if I ever heard any, and not about the deeper societal issues around sex and birth. All issues are polarized, all have buzz-words, while most mean nothing. They are words and phrases meant to confuse, sound bites meant to divide us into ever smaller groups.
As long as we let it be about Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal, man vs. woman, and so on down a long list, the politicians and the monied elite that have bought and paid for them them will have their way with us. Thay will have the control; we will be subservient. We will not talk about the important things that could make our lives better, could alleviate the suffering of citizens, and stop the bleeding of our institutions. We vote instead on buzzwords, wardrobe, and haircuts, not substantive matters. This ludicrous process is killing our citizenry and our country.
You can help to alleviate this critical problem. Pick an issue that means something to you. Figure out why it means something to you, exactly how you feel about it, and why. Then find out how the candidates feel about it. Read their position papers, the long versions. Dig into it. See if what they say changes your mind. Look at their records and see if it matches their words. Finally, decide which candidate is closest to your position, and is likely to stick to it.
Then select another issue. Repeat. Do until done.
I choose to research the issues. Too many people choose only one issue to concentrate on. These feed the media’s obsession with single issue candidates, and further polarize the debate.
Your suggestion to choosing a candidate is how I do it, actually. I was for one (same party), until the mud slinging hit to a high I didn’t feel comfortable with, and love the calm, sane, matter-of-fact way the other candidate handled that. So many candidates would just fire back with more hate, but one who uses it to his advantage to actually talk about issues? He’s got my vote!!
You are very very right. And I normally vote logically and rationally, reading up on the issues and making up my mind carefully. This time it is different and I know I am choosing for the wrong reasons. This time my son has joined the army and I am voting for the candidate who promises to get us out of Iraq. I don’t want my child going there.