“Today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.” -Congresswoman
“The Great Flood is an example of climate change. And that certainly wasn’t because mankind overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.” -Congressman
He was quoted as saying privately that Obama, as a black candidate, could be successful thanks, in part, to his “light-skinned” appearance and speaking patterns “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” -Senator
“We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” -Congressman
Unless you have some considerable time on your hands, reading the stupid things said by politicians since the beginning of the internet is a daunting task to say the least. In the near non-stop news cycle our politicians run astray of their talking points, history, and reality in general sometimes. A great portion of the time, if they’re in the party we most closely identify with, we don’t care.
I think too often we look to the party affiliation before we decide how to feel about what we’re watching or reading. Without our realizing it, we as humans can forgive nearly any behavior, as long as it comes from our team. Some of the greatest atrocities and horrors the world has ever known occurred under the noses of people who should have known better or they found a way to justify what they were seeing. Its called cognitive dissonance. If you haven’t found yourself touched a bit by it, you’re not human.
I think we all know some people who claim to be tolerant until they find out there are other viewpoints out there! How quick we are to excuse ideas or behavior we would ordinarily be opposed to yet when confronted with the same treatment from the other party the vitriol begins to boil.
The question is what do we think of when a Senator like Harry Reid (D) says something so incredibly racist or Congressman Joe Barton (R) brushes aside the debate on climate change and hydrocarbons with a reference to the biblical great flood? Or when Sheila Jackson Lee (D) says some of the most blatantly stupid things on record or Marlin Stutzman (R) lays bare the strategy behind the Republican’s government shut down was to get something but what it was–they weren’t sure. We know, we were watching.
Can you imagine the reaction if Mitt Romney had said the same thing Harry Reid did?
We live in this zero sum game of politics, where there must be a winner and a loser in every instance. We must defend every attack on our beloved party and attack the other at any weakness!
Wouldn’t it be better to look at ideas and actions only through the lens of their merits and risks. We have to get to the point where we ignore something as meaningless as the party to which they belong. How many bad ideas gain traction simply because they have the support of the majority, who its worth noting always support one another.
What can we do to address this intentional habit of blind allegiance we as human beings suffer from?
I recommend we abolish the party indications next to politician’s names.
There are some serious First Amendment issues with abolishing the political affiliations published next to our politicians names in the media. It won’t ever happen, or at least I hope not, but go with me here for a moment. Extreme examples make great illustrations.
Just think, how great would it be for people reading the newspaper or watching the news to take politicians words at face value? To let their ideas, words, and visions stand on their own merits rather than dying in the mind of the low information viewer or reader. Or imagine if you read that someone said something you REALLY disagreed with…then did some research and found out what they were all about…crazy, I know.
We’ve all been there before, as a recovering Republican I’m not proud of some pretty severe cognitive dissonance I’ve engaged in over the years. You recovering Democrats who supported the Affordable Care Act roll-out until it just didn’t make sense anymore know where I’m coming from.
I challenge you to ignore the party affiliation and start to take our politicians at face value. I promise you; you’ll never look at politics the same again. Good day!