Politics and football
Lately politics has been really frustrating me. I still listen to a lot of CNN, CSPAN, NPR – probably more than is actually healthy for me. Fortunately, The Daily Show provides a welcome respite. But the rest of them… almost always seem like a complete waste of time when I think about what I’m listening to.
I like to know what’s going on, which is why I listen to these things. But 80% of the material is either a) not actually relevant to me, or b) simply an opportunity for two people to argue with each other. Now I suppose listening to two people on opposite sides of an issue argue with each other does have some inherent usefulness – I learn a lot about the issue and can decide where I stand – but most of the time it seems more like these two people are arguing simply for the sake of arguing.
I keep seeing this lately. GW Bush or Hillary Clinton will say something stupid, and people will line up for or against them purely based on partisanship, not on actually thinking about the issues at hand. It’s like a game of football for people who graduated with degrees in economics. In my mind I imagine people from Yale and Harvard, graduation caps on their heads, rolled diplomas in hand, kicked back on their La-Z-Boys with a big bowl of popcorn and a beer, watching speeches and hooting and hollering like they’re in a frickin’ frat watching the Superbowl.
This kind of no-think bullshit drives me nuts. I’m not immune to doing it either, but recognizing it helps significantly. Any time Bush opens his mouth lately, I’m ready for something purely idiotic to come out, and I’m right there to make fun, or laugh, or lament, or gnash my teeth. But he does occasionally actually say things that make sense, and although I’m always surprised by them, I’ll be the first in line to commend him for it. Fortunately I have friends on both sides of “the aisle” who can call me on my shit and make me think about the issues.
But I worry that we’ve devolved into such a partisan culture. Or maybe it’s that I live in San Francisco. In any case, I find myself wishing that all of the people (like me) who spend so much time tearing apart the politicians would spend half of that contributing to their own community and solving the issues they find there. But that would make too much sense.