So as I sit here in the wreckage of my future plans (a place I’ve become startlingly used to, sad to say, though I’m surprisingly sanguine about the situation. And yes, I still love alliteration), rather than turning my excoriating gaze inward, I find myself inclined to turn it upon the nation at large.
I am not pleased with what I see.
The most recent political brinksmanship in government isn’t the cause of my displeasure. I see that for what it is; a symptom of a greater malaise. Our politicians aren’t the problem.
You are the problem.
Well, maybe not you personally. I like to think that at least some of the people who read my blog are relatively apolitical, choosing to align themselves with rationality rather than ideology.
But the rest of you?
If you’ve ever put something in your social media of choice that calls your political opponents idiots because they don’t agree with you, publicly parroted an opinion you inherited from someone else, blindly agreed with the party line rather than examining a claim based on the facts?
You are the problem.
Let’s examine the issue du jour, the Affordable Care Act.
Now, proponents of the act declare it to be the savior of the American medical system, the panacea that will cure our financial ills by finally reining in health care costs, and point to studies that show decreased insurance premiums as proof of the righteousness of their cause.
On the other hand, opponents of the act declare it to be the beginning of the end for the American economy as a whole, a bloated parasite that will feed on the healthy, and point to studies that show increased insurance premiums as proof of the righteousness of their cause.
Obviously, they can’t both be right. So they put a great deal of effort into proving that their opponents are the ones in error. What has apparently never occurred to most of these people is that it’s perfectly possibly for both sides to be wrong.
Rather than embrace that idea, they instead choose to engage in a game of seeing who can shout their version of the truth the loudest in the hopes of being the one that other people listen to. It’s not debate, it’s advertising. What makes it truly tragic is that in reality, the only people that are willing to listen to that sort of overblown rhetoric are the ones who already agree with the person spouting it.
It reached the point where our political puppets were nearly willing to bring the nation to default over the issue. That should disturb everyone, shake confidence in the entire system.
Instead all I see are commentators declaring winners and losers, reinforcing the triumph of ideology over reason. And I see a frightening number of people willing to throw their own voices behind the champions of their cause, apparently failing to realize that that is what brought us to this state.
I get bombarded with it in my social media feeds, the smug and the sour, the triumphant and the apocalyptic, and to be totally frank, I’m tired of it.
Though I suppose there is something to be said for it. At the very least, it offers me a distraction from my own dysfunctional state when I take the opportunity to rail against our state of dysfunction.