I have been spending a lot
of time watching both of the political conventions in the last two weeks.
I have also spent considerable time researching the various statements of the
candidates, speakers, and media commentators by getting more than one source to
find out just how “true” the information is that is being
presented. What are my conclusions? Unfortunately, I am both
saddened and yes, somewhat frustrated – dare I say angry? – with what I have
been hearing. And that is from BOTH sides of the political aisle.
President Bush mentioned the “the angry left” during the Republican
convention. I have always considered myself a “centrist”.
Not until he took office did I feel like the country moved right, but I was in
the same place. And now I guess I am part of that “angry
left”. But really I feel more like the “angry
center”. And here’s why: some the issues that are most
important to me are not at the top of either parties’ priority list. And some
of the issues that are used to divide us are simply not as important as they are made to be (or I think there is a lot more common ground than anyone
usually attempts to find). I have always considered myself a fiscal conservative
and social liberal. Where does that put
me? Some of my ideas have no place – I feel
like a square peg in the proverbial round hole.
Above all, the thing that
saddens me when I listen to all of the talking and rhetoric flying back and
forth is the lack of critical thinking that seems to go on from all sides. Currently, both tickets have individuals on
them that are dynamic public orators with a lot of charisma. But charisma alone does not qualify someone
for higher office. Experience and
judgment play into what I consider important in choosing a qualified
candidate. Does a mayor make important
decisions for her city? Yes, I think she
does. Does a senator work hard for his
state, and for the greater good of the country to ensure that good laws are
passed? Yes, I think they do, and they
become acquainted with the way things work in Washington. Does a
community organizer acquire important leadership, management, and
organizational skills? Yes, he
does. Why are we continuing to sling mud
at all four of these people? I’ve looked
up the resumes, read articles and interviews about their experiences and here
is my conclusion: all of these people
are more qualified than 99.9% of the American population to be on the
presidential tickets of their respective parties. So can we please just stipulate that any of
them could serve – it’s HOW they would serve, and WHAT they believe in, and
WHAT they would fight for that concerns me most.
So please, can we stop all of the bickering and have a discussion about what really matters? Let’s talk details about the issues. Turn off the lights of the convention halls and let’s get down to brass tacks. I can’t wait for the debates. And please, I beg the American electorate – don’t be afraid to read and research about what you hear. Let’s not be charmed by charisma on either side – let’s get past it and make sure that there is depth behind the words. Let’s unleash the potential of American critical thinking!