I often see people on cable news, Facebook, or various internet news and comment boards harping about something their least favorite politician has done. The sad fact is this something is usually unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I can certainly understand using past behavior of politicians to form an opinion regarding their character. This is not really what I am talking about, though. Romney tried to maximize profits when he was the big boss of a private company, Obama didn’t wear a flag pin to a debate, Palin couldn’t answer a question about newspapers she reads, etc., ad nauseum.
These people either are or want to make decisions that affect your life, health, money, children, safety, and this is what you choose to whine about? There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of things more worthy of criticism or discussion. I could easily rattle off a dozen or so legitimate policy criticisms against those three individuals in under a minute.
I can think of a few reasons why folks might choose to express these kinds of opinions, but none of them are really compelling to me. Perhaps it is a form of laziness: they can’t or don’t want to bother understanding the complex and troubling issues so they focus on reality-TV type ridiculousness. Maybe it is a proxy for venting frustration for people who have difficulty articulating their position. Maybe they’re looking for validation of their opinions. Maybe they’re just partisan trolls.
“Now wait a minute,” I can hear them say, “that’s not all I focused on. I mentioned this one time they didn’t complain enough when those other people tried to make a law that did something I didn’t like! I also talked about this law that congress passed while they were president/governor/senator and which they really had no power to stop, but they let it happen anyway. That proves they’re evil, traitorous scum!”
You may have noticed I have a low tolerance for this type of nonsense. It doesn’t impress me in the least. If you have a viewpoint on an issue, then explain your position and why you’ve chosen it, hopefully while being consistent with other positions you’ve taken. More importantly, your reasoning should be based on a factual information, not hyperbole or creative interpretations of real events. If the best you can do is whine about trivial minutiae while ignoring the truly horrendous acts, controversial stuff, or what really happened, don’t expect me to take you seriously now or in the future.
I’m always tempted to respond to these when I see them on Facebook (I certainly yell at my TV or computer screen), but then I quickly realize that will not lead to good things. Among them the fact that I would likely be viewed as a supporter of one of these politicians I chose to “defend” against ridiculous bull. I suppose this is one reason I started a blog…