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Tis the Season for Contention, Fa La La—Your Party Sucks!

About 3 times every decade we gather with friends, family and acquaintances over food and drink, stare at TV sets, computer monitors or news print and exchange passionate expressions of ardor or disregard for each other's Presidential choice and political belief. Whoever first warned humanity against communal discussions of religion, politics or money should rightfully be a part of the 1%, wealthy enough to buy the universe because sounder advice has seldom been shared. During this energetic period, people for whom you would gladly sacrifice your life risk their last breath on Earth if they espouse a different political or religious opinion than yours.

As righteously as we defend our political heroes, pundits and ideals, we should just as truthfully admit that, for most of us when it comes to this subject, we all become Ray, Stevie, and Jose without the musical skills—blind to the other point of view. I would conservatively wager half of the money I don't have and tape the response of a liberal if he received a tax cut refund while a Democrat was in the oval office vs. a Republican incumbency. I imagine it would go something like "Ha, see that! When my party is in office tax cuts go to our wallets, they don't go to the big corporations that are bilking the government out of billions." I would save enough recording space to capture a Republican's response if the situation was reversed, "Ha, see that! When we're in control we cut billions in waste from people scamming entitlement programs like welfare and benefit personally." Conversely, if either person received a sizable check while an opposing party held the power, the acceptance would be accompanied with "I wonder where I'll have to pay this back in the future!"

We could avoid some of these slanted explosions if we chose to actually read the text of any of the various hot topic laws and proposals about which our campaigning legislators routinely make declamatory claims. Hard to believe, I know, but sometimes our own beloved parties do not air the whole truth—and if they're not being honest, you know the other side isn't! But who among us will actually do that? Whether it is because we don't desire, have the time, or know how to find unbiased facts, most of us resort to getting our information from media sources whose choir we already sing in. Conservatives will swear by Limbaugh; Liberals will march to Keith Olbermann's drum. I'll grant you that some folks truly don't and stand squarely in the middle, but most of us lean in one direction or the other and then flat out fall into the water and drink. As the slang goes, "I ain't mad at cha," but that's what we do.

If there is any consolation to those who regret becoming so riled up during the heat of a campaign season it is that it has ALWAYS been this way. You are being an American, no less or no more patriot than any one else. Browse any history book, news paper or other campaign memorabilia from days gone by, substitute a modern name and you'll quickly feel like you've traveled in time.

Cicero dissed Antony, Jefferson dissed Adams, Dewey dissed Truman, Rosie and Donald dissed each other, so take a breath, and try not to get SO upset. Have a brew, a veggie burger, some wings, a salad and laugh about our inescapable need to complain about politics. Maybe then you won't feel like punching out your best friend.

To paraphrase the great Howard Beale in Network, "I'm biased as Hell and I'm not gonna fake it anymore!"

Chris Haley - 8/27/2012 5:27 PM

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