A recently reaquainted high school friend recently asked me how I got so interested in politics. I write and occasional diary on Daily Kos, but rant on facebook regularly. She commented that I was not really political in high school. That question lead to the self reflection below the squiggle.
I never really thought about that question. It just sorta happened. It does come from my core, but I am not sure I can find a rational explanation. I will try to answer your question below, because it is good for me to think about it. I am sure you did not expect a long winded answer. So the short version will be that our politicians could do so much better if ideas were discussed respectfully, rationally, and logically, rather than with emotion and soundbites. Sadly our generation and older does not realize the difference between Fox News, MSNBC, and Daily Show on one side (more entertainment or political advertisement) and NPR News (an old fashioned news statiion). Multiple studies show that NPR viewers are the most informed about current events and Fox viewers are the least.
Our kids thankfully seem to know the difference, so there is hope for the future.
Now the longer answer (hopefully not too much longer)
I think it started during the buildup to the 2nd Iraq war, when it seemed that emotion was driving our decision, rather than logic. If we were to punish the Taliban for 9-11, then we were clearly in the wrong country. The press became stenographers of the politicians and stopped asking the hard questions, and we went to war because we needed to show that America was still strong and could fight wars. Had the focus been on Afghanistan and fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda with international cooperation, then I would have agreed with that decision. I do believe in the concept of "just" wars. The Iraq war did not qualify.
I think this opened my eyes to who controls the politicians. Obviously money, but also corporate influences. It became apparent to me that the policies of a political party are easily predicted by who their major donors are. Since I see people everyday who need the government to work for them, my political views are pretty straightforward. I am a proponent of the party that seems to be trying harder to make the government work well. I like everyone to have a fair chance. (my conservative and rational brother and I recently did some math and found out that it is 2 to 3 times harder to work your way through college now compared to 1977 due to the relative stable minimum wage and increased tuition). It is tougher to get ahead now than in the 1980's.
Maybe the fairness issue is the real reason. I received an evaluation of my administrative abilities once, and one of the major feedback items was that my decisions were based more on fairness than any other factor. Not necessarily a bad thing, but in a business there are times that other factors outweigh the "fairness" issue. I respected the supervisor giving me the evaluation, and I was proud of that fact, even though it did not make my supervisor's life easy.
So there you have it. Fairness and Logic. That is why I am part of the Daily Kos community and why I feel the need to rant on Facebook.
The Democrats fight for fairness. The Republicans fight for the 1% and delude everyone else. The Democrats are inclusive, the Republicans find scapegoats to distract the masses from the real issues. Our press has checked out. They do not repeat a question if the politician does not answer it. I guess this is polite, but makes them stenographers as mentioned above. Republicans mastered the art of having a "news" station report only one side of the story (Fox News). Democrats are catching up (MSNBC). The 1% say things that are untrue like tax cuts create jobs, and people believe this, even though this statement is clearly false.
Governing is difficult enough. Governing with bad data and within the echo chamber of lobbyists clearly leads to bad policy. Unfortunately real people get hurt with bad policies as we so clearly recently found out. I am hopeful in the future that the people's government will actually be run by the people. Then we will be able to make strides in improve our quality of life. Like in this video.