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(This video is a few years old, but politics will never go away so …).
First of all, I’d just like to air a common pet peeve of mine – just because Republicans demand individual responsibility, do not want government making our decisions for us, like to keep our options open, embrace choices, appreciate our liberty and want to maintain our individual freedoms, does NOT mean we’re cold blooded or lack compassion. Indeed, in a lot of ways, we have MORE compassion than our polar opposites because we choose to support programs that help people get back on their feet after enduring tough times; we DO NOT support programs that ultimately guide (trick?) people toward long-term dependency on a program and/or government “assistance”. I’m referring specifically to the flippant comment in this video about how if one’s arteries have hardened then by all means, he/she MUST be a Republican. (Even though the barb was poorly disguised as a joke, the point was still sharp and a bit insulting – at least to me. And though my first instinct is to return the favor, I will refrain from doing so because it really serves no real purpose to my overall point).
That stereo typical attitude only serves to cast a wide net over very real and valid concerns and dilutes (distracts from?) the original problem or grievance. And yes, I’m talking about ALL stereo types, not just conservative stereo types – it’s petty and childish and in most cases something that is fallen back on because an individual can’t think of an intelligent, or rational, counter point in the debate. (Hence, another big reason I’m interested in writing about Rhetoric and why it’s so important we recognize, understand and apply it in our daily lives).
Moving on …
I’m lucky. Kevin and I see eye-to-eye on politics. Me and my family, on both sides of the fence, agree on politics. I really haven’t run into a situation where me and a loved one disagree on politics, though there have been tense moments about minor issues within an ideology and that’s when my rhetoric training (for lack of a better term) has kicked in and it’s been a challenge to me to first HEAR what the person is saying and then RESPOND with a logical and acceptable rebuttal.
And if that doesn’t work, agree to disagree and change the subject. 😀
I am about 95% certain that if Kevin and I hadn’t agreed on politics, our marriage would be quite different. (And that goes the same for religion, actually. In fact, I feel so strongly about couples agreeing on these two IMPORTANT issues so much that I’ve made a point of teaching the boys how crucial it is that when it comes time for them to choose a life partner, these two issues absolutely must be discussed in the early stages of the relationship. Marriage is tough enough without throwing in ideological differences). We disagree about a few minor points, but overall, we are on the same page when it comes to what we expect from our country.
Here’s another peeve of mine: religion with politics. I understand people believe differently – it’s yet another wonderful freedom our country has fought for. However, our core values, the very foundation of our constitution, is built on religion. We derive our policies and freedoms from our belief and faith in God and His son, Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder that our politics would reflect these beliefs?
Disagree if you must, but I firmly believe that America is as successful as she is BECAUSE of our closely woven ties with Christianity. And though an individual has the freedom to disagree with Christianity, it’s rather insulting to dismiss, or belittle, the impact and importance that Christianity has served in shaping the backbone of our country’s ideals, rules, and creed.
Though there very well may be aspects of our constitution that (feel) dated and need to be tweaked to reflect current times, the bulk of our constitution is timeless – they are the fundamental values of what differentiates our country from so many others. It’s not arrogance, it’s pride. It’s not insolence, it’s confidence. And though the left and I may disagree on 99% of the issues, the mere fact that we have that disagreement is WHAT MAKES AMERICA STRONG. It’s absolutely crucial that we have that checks and balances in place because no one side has the authority, or the objectivity, to completely rule our country. We need debate, we require compromise so that we can, at some point, meet somewhere in the middle, thereby making better laws and providing a more fair alternative to the majority of Americans.
Take the above video for example: It’s completely one sided – all of these ladies are liberals, so everything they say is from the left side. And they irritate me to no end because their ideals are so very different than mine and their presentation is somewhat lame (sorry ladies – I realize a lot is edited out). But I’m choosing to look past their theatrics (and attempts to be funny) and instead, focus on their primary message: dealing with loved ones who have different political views than you do.
We also need to learn to listen to each other and rationally weigh what he/she is saying before offering a rebuttal. All too often, we jump to conclusions or refuse to HEAR the message behind the theatrics – and make no mistake, there are theatrics from both sides. Often times it’s unintentional due to rising passions, but other times, it’s a deliberate ploy to distract individuals from the REAL issue and I think the danger is that too many people are unaware of this tactic.
Again, this is yet another reason why it’s SO IMPORTANT for people to learn the art of Rhetoric because if one can’t see past the red herrings, then it’s nearly impossible to discuss, and solve, the core issues.
Confused? Let me give you an example – I’ll even pick on the conservatives in the hopes that you will see my point instead of jumping on the defense wagon.
Conservative talk radio ….
WAIT! Did you just snort? Did you roll your eyes? Did you contemplate on clicking out of my blog and going elsewhere?
Then you just proved my point. You made assumptions and lumped your preconceived notions on those three little words before you even attempted to hear (read) what I had to say.
And just think, I don’t even have the dramatic music or voice inflections to further distract you from what I’m saying.
Rush Limbaugh … relies way too much on satire. A lot of people don’t get satire and take him too literally. The media also LOVES to take snippets of what Rush says, taking a piece of that satire out of context, and running full speed ahead with it. As always, one should never totally rely on what the media says (in any form) and go straight to the source – transcripts. Exactly what DID Rush mean when he said that. Nine times out of ten, it makes sense and means NOTHING what the lame stream media tried to portray it as meaning. Lesson: don’t take things out of context. I like listening to Rush because he’s been in politics for years – he has the experience and the knowledge to accurately peg people and events.
Glenn Beck … is annoyingly doom and gloom. His tired “end of the world is coming if we don’t do something soon” spiel really gets old. He’s also way too dramatic for my taste. However, looking past his trademark shtick, he does have a point – our government is really veering WAY off the constitution mark – it’s like they’re making the rules up as they go along. He tries to illustrate this point to people by scaring them and it just comes off as paranoid, in my opinion. Lesson: don’t allow either your fears, or what others fear, to sway your reasoning. Calm down, think it through.
Sean Hannity … is probably my favorite of the talk show hosts. (Plus, he’s hot. But I SWEAR that’s not the reason I listen to him. Well, okay, maybe one of the reasons I listen to him). In my opinion, Hannity is the most professional out of the talk show hosts. He gives people a chance to offer their two cents and then responds with his thoughts, often times citing sources to back his opinions. He rarely interrupts and he always (sincerely) thanks the people who come on his show. He’s also committed to educating the world about Obama and his radical agenda (all proceeds from his book go to a charity) and he’s quick to pick up, and elaborate on, what the lame stream media leave out. My only complaint with Hannity is that he repeats himself, show after show, after show, after show … it’s really quite annoying. He also has a habit of driving his point home SO much that the listener has a tendency to tune him out sometimes, I think. (“Okay Sean, I see your point. I got it about fifteen examples ago.”) Lesson: If you have an opinion and you feel confident in expressing it,you better have the proof to back it up or risk looking like a fool.
Mark Levin … is obnoxious, in his attitude toward those that disagree with him and his voice. I know he can’t help his voice, but wow, that voice. I get extremely impatient with his rudeness with people. He has no qualms calling people idiots and insulting their intelligence. He also likes to cut people off and I would even venture to say, his hearing is a bit selective (not allowing people to make their points before cutting them off. However, to be fair, some people never GET to their points so …). I respect Levin though. He has an in-depth knowledge of the constitution and law and I learn so much listening to him talk about the constitutionality of various issues. I’ve never been an Obama fan, but after listening to how he’s shredding our constitution and decimating America’s core values, I now loathe the man. Lesson: Respect the process and the information, not the presentation.
Michael Savage … is a thug. But I think that’s his shtick. He talks tough (and I’m sure he is tough) and doesn’t care what people think. He’s touted for being a big freedom of speech proponent and I like to listen to him because he does get passionate about our freedom of speech rights. There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of Savage’s show about it being for mature audiences only and it’s true, he gets pretty rough with the issues and people sometimes, but it’s refreshing to hear him refuse to play the politically correct game. I don’t listen to Savage very often simply because he’s on past my bedtime, because I’m old and I need sleep. *grin* Lesson: Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.
There are more, but these are the guys I listen to from time-to-time. They all have their own styles, they all have important things to say, it’s just getting past their personalities and idiosyncrasies so that we can get to the message that’s the challenge sometimes.
*sigh* Sorry. I got off topic, as usual. But this is something I feel passionate about and I tend to drone on and on and on and on ……. about it.
It’s time to step off my soapbox. I hope this article has gotten you thinking and at the very least, didn’t annoy you too much. 😀