Sunday, January 15, 2012

Change Starts Here

I don’t consider myself a political person. More like, I like to keep myself informed of the goings on in the world, especially in my own country. But for some reason, I have found myself closely following the current GOP election. If I had to categorize myself, I’d say I lean toward the liberal side of things so this isn’t a group of candidates I’d typically be interested in. Still, I find the contest extremely interesting, maybe because this is such an atypical year.
The one major observation I’ve made is that people’s political opinions are mostly based on their life experience. How you were raised, the challenges you’ve faced, the services you’ve needed, those things all shape how you view the world and what your opinions of right and wrong are. I was raised by a single mother who received public assistance for a brief time therefore my opinions of the welfare system are not going to be the same as someone raised in a wealthy two parent household. What is good for one group of people is not necessarily good for another. Now that I’ve been watching politics more closely I’ve come to the question that I think many Americans ask: How in the heck does anything ever get done?
I’m not trying to spark a political debate here, and I really don’t think there’s a good answer to how you manage everything under one government. What I do find frustrating is how everyone thinks their way is the right way and there’s not any room for discussion or understanding of someone else’s experiences. It’s not really acceptable to strike up a political discussion with someone at work or the grocery store. I don’t understand the concept that someone might change the way they feel about me or treat me if they find out I have different opinions than they do. I think this is an opportunity for us to teach future generations to be open, tolerant and willing to compromise but we’re totally dropping the ball.
Earlier this week I posted a funny status to my FaceBook  (at least I thought it was funny) about a comment I had heard on the radio, someone saying they are voting for a specific candidate because “he looks like a president.” I didn’t expect much response but the comment triggered an exchange between a conservative friend and myself in which I deleted a comment he posted, which bothered him and then I had to explain myself. I just don’t think it’s okay to assume negative things about me because I vote for a candidate you don’t like or vice versa.  I have plenty of friends with different opinions than me and I think FaceBook is actually a great place to share your views and exchange information.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with all this. I guess I’m just frustrated with the current system and now sure what to do about it, just like a lot of other people are. But I think it can all come back to my basic belief that if each of us tries to be nice and tolerant and have open honest dialogue with each other, it might catch on!

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