Monday, September 24, 2012

Can we please have a REAL conversation about politics?!?

·         Loren Richmond Jr. @relentlessloren

@chrishayes Called me crazy, but I think everyone *is* "entitled" to food and housing. – Retweeted by Loren Richmond Jr. @relentlessloren

·         Brandon Anderson @bander9289

@chrishayes @relentlessloren  Really? Entitled even to those that will take handouts their entire lives? Maybe I'm missing some context. 

·         Loren Richmond Jr. @relentlessloren

@bander9289 @chrislhayes it's funny we're talking about context within an environment that limits us to 140 characters. #antithetical :)

·         Loren Richmond Jr. @relentlessloren

@bander9289 Your tweet made me realize that twitter is emblematic of the problem of political discourse today. We think we can say all that needs to be said in 140 characters

After listening to Mitt Romney’s 47% fundraiser speech, I thought I’d be all clever and retweet something on Twitter from @chrishayes about food and housing being an entitlement.  Thing is, I have no idea who @chrishayes is.  One of the people I follow retweeted @chrishayes and I liked the tweet at first glance so I thought I’d also retweet it. Well, as recounted above, @bander9289 critiqued my retweet, asking for some context.  I tried to say something clever back, realizing he had made a good point.  Eventually I ‘fessed up, acknowledging to him that he had gotten me. 

A professor once told me it takes the Left two paragraphs to say what the Right can say with one sentence, and for that reason it’s been easy for those on the Left to accuse the Right of being overly-simplistic and glib…until recently.   It seems as if the Left has fallen into that same trap of the Right of trying to boil down complex issues into one-liners, and twitter has become the medium of choice.  As detailed above, I am just as guilty.

So what’s the point? I’m frankly sick and tired of political discourse being turned into a series of 30 second TV spots or pointless headlines, and you should be too.  There are serious issues in this country, the national debt is crazy, the poverty rate is skyrocketing, and unemployment is widespread.  Must I go on?

If you really care about this country, stop letting FoxNews—or MSNBC for that matter—continue to speak for you.  Stop letting the rich and powerful tell you what to think—think for yourself.  If we take a deep breath, take a step back, and actually try to understand what the other person is saying fruitful dialogue is possible. But when we jump to conclusions, paint with broad strokes, stereotype, sling mud, and worse we’re just reinforcing the negatives.  Compromise is not a bad thing.   I know realistic, intelligent, meaningful conversations are possible because I’ve had them before.  I know we’re capable of having constructive dialogue—I’ve advocated for it in the past, and I will continue to do so in the future.

I’m ready to have a legitimate, lengthy, respectable conversation about what we need to do to move our country forward.   Are you?

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