Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Political Quandry.

Now I tend to keep politics out of my blogs.  It has nothing to do with a general malaise or disinterest in the subject, but primarily because of the political environment today.  For someone who finds himself slightly to the right of center on the political spectrum, I am increasingly targeted and misrepresented by those on both extremes.  To the liberals I am just another misinformed moron who wants a case of Natural Ice and my shotgun.  To those on the far right I am not truly one of them.  I cannot be counted on to provide support at all times.

The curiosity I have is this.  When did it become politically unacceptable to make up your own mind?  When did it become un-American to vote your conscience?  I'm reminded here of Thomas Jefferson:

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but inform their discretion."

Jefferson believed in an educated citizenry.  Yet, today, those of us who disagree with liberal politics are seen as uneducated, slovenly scum, who don't deserve the right to vote.  We're seen as unfit and therefore the government should make our decisions for us.  Well forgive me for rejecting the paternalistic notion of "you don't know whats good for you."  I have received a world class education through my years.  Even with this it's assumed that I just don't know any better.  Yet, the true nature of Democracy is that even if we do not agree, I am entitled to voice my opinion.  Look at what Jefferson said, "the remedy is not to take it from them, but inform their decision." 

I want to use an example of something that recently occurred between some friends and I.  An article was posted that stated President Obama is still very popular with the "over-educated."  Most people instantly took this to be a Fox News article and attacked it as Right Wing Propaganda (some of these quotes are from my friends, other just random people, but all of these are actual quotes.  I removed their names):

"That's the typical Republican mentality. People who are educated are elitist and dangerous. Look who their absolute darling is right now: Sarah Palin. "
"Cain't truss dem feller's what got alla dere teef."
"I didn't know one could be OVER-educated. Is this some new catchphrase designed by Sarah Palin-ites to diss intellectuals?"
"It baffles me to no end. Just a strange way of creating a most structured class system. I know this is a stab at the "Liberal Elite" but I'm sure there are a lot of over-educated folks on the Right that can't stand Obama."
Here is the thing about this whole exchange.  The article was written by a writer who works for the Huffington Post.  This is a Progressive news website which decidedly tilts towards the far left of the political spectrum.  However, nobody spent anytime to investigate the source of this article before instantly proclaiming it to be a right wing smear job.  It took me all of one minute to find out the author and then find out who he writes for.  However, people love to show their ignorance by jumping to conclusions.

This also shows just how vile the current political environment is.  We have a system in place that vilifies the middle.  A majority of America is located in the middle, but both parties are currently being held hostage by the far ends of the spectrum.  I think that President Eisenhower said it best:
“People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable. Actually, all human problems, excepting morals, come into the gray areas. Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters. ” 

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