Sunday, April 02, 2006

Becoming Apolitical

The other night I was out on a date... things were going swimmingly, and then the "3rd rail" of dating questions came up. And no, it was not about sex... GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER, YOU PERVERT!!!!

"What are your politics?"

You can ask anyone, from Miss Manners to my buddy Adam out in San Francisco, talking politics on a date are simply VERBOTEN. The only execptions is if you met at a "Save Air America" rally or at a Rush Limbaugh "Ditto-head" mixer! Then I suppose it would be okay. But to talk about politics while you're trying to have polite, friendly conversation is simply taboo in my book.

Speaking of politics, I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to no longer care about politics. When I post on message boards, I tend to stay away from anything political, instead posting on sports sites or on something that piques my interst... like the history of indoor plumbing!

I still have my political beliefs and I feel strongly about them. But I'm starting to realize that it's no longer worth the time nor trouble to publicly express them. When I have, one of two things happen: 1) No One Cares 2) I'm ripped a new ay-hole because my ideas don't "mesh" with the other persons.

It's the second reason that I'm starting to shy away from political discussion. I've began to notice that political discussion has quickly regressed into character assassination. While that's bad enough, it's also come to the point that if you don't "toe the line" one way or the other, you're derided as being for the opposite.

For a hypothetical example, let's say you are for education funding, but you're not for a bill that gives schools more money than you want to give. The bill is for 4 billion and you want to support 3 and a half billion. Well, according to the supporters of the bill, you are against kids, against teachers, and against education. Which is completely ridiculous. It's the whole "If you're not with us, you're against us" mentality.

And now you have all these people that say they will only associate with people that only share their politics. I think that is incredibly small-minded thinking on their parts. I have friends on all ends of the political spectrum; from ardent die-hard liberals to staunch conservatives, even anarchists! For me, politics is a non-factor; I hang out and am friends with these people because they are interesting people, who can carry on intellectual and sometimes warped conversations. But most of all, they respect me as a person and while we may not always agree with each others ideas, we respect them.

I guess that's what it all boils down to... respect. And politics today has absolutley zero respect for opposing viewpoints... both in the liberal and conservative ends of the spectrum. So from now on, don't talk politics with me.

I'm apolitical.


Adam Lasnik said...

I agree with your frustrations. Unfortunately, it's tough to balance "letting politics go" (the more sane option) and making a difference in the world.

Perhaps the best alternative is to be quiet about one's political feelings but do work in the background that forwards one's own beliefs. e.g., if you're "Pro Life" then volunteer at a day care center... if you're "Anti War" then volunteer with exchange programs to ameliorate cultural animosities and so on.

That way, you avoid confrontation while not only easing your conscience but also doing good in the world :)

Jackrabit1 said...

I guess I've always beleived that if you want to make a difference, you start at home.... But the main reason I'm getting off the political bandwagon is because there is simply no more civility left in it.... Even when Reagan and Tip O'Neil had their legandary battles, they could still crack dirty jokes at the end of the day. Now, people take politics so seriously, it clouds their better judgement on other people.