A Personal Note About Politics

Politics matter to me. It’s hard for me to imagine how they could not matter to any thinking living breathing person. And one of the things I want in my world, sometimes at least, is political discussion. And that means real discussion, about ideas and concepts and facts and assumptions, without people getting huffy and puffy about disagreement.

I hate confrontational politics, winning by hate and resentment and polarizing, pitting family against family and friend against friend. Right now in Oregon, just as an example, we’re in the muck of a knock-down drag-out smear-your-opponent battle for a Senate seat. We see an amazing volume of television ads (thank heaven for the DVR) and if we believed any of them, then our two candidates are the worst and the second-worst human beings in the entire state.

It feels like you should take a shower after you watch these things.

I posted a somewhat-political post on Huffington Post today, a rewrite with more definition of what I posted here last Monday, which was also a response — although I don’t say that directly on that post — to a newsletter email sent last Sunday by my good friend Jim Blasingame, radio host, and small business advocate.

In his newsletter, Jim argued that small-business owners should vote for John McCain said he was voting for John McCain and explained why he thought McCain’s policies on small business were better than Barack Obama’s. In my posts I say small-business owners should vote for the country, not their business. Between the lines, I’m saying that Barack Obama is better on both counts, but so far (until this post) I’ve just left that on the line.

When Jim and I were last together in Chicago last month, he urged me to vote for McCain. I said no way. “Nobody in my family would vote for McCain,” I said, “and I have a large family.”

“Well I have a radio show,” Jim answered. We both laughed.

That’s the way politics is supposed to be: it shouldn’t threaten friendships. Ultimately we have very little power beyond our one vote. We can disagree and even argue, but we can also laugh. In this case, we agree on so many small-business topics, it’s almost surprising how much we disagree on politics.

When I was in college I was firmly opposed to the draft and the Vietnam war, but I had friends in ROTC (for those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, that’s Reserve Officer Training Corp) and we got along fine. Sometimes we argued the politics of the war, but we stayed friends.

Unfortunately, history shows that fear mongering and mud slinging works. So we get the damned commercials we get, and I suppose the robocalls and all that. Please, though, let’s remember we’re all in the same country, and we’re still going to be in the same country after the election is over.

2 thoughts on “A Personal Note About Politics

  1. I agree. It's strange how politics has become one of those "forbidden" discussion topics, when really people with different views should talk to each other and gain insight. I'm very sick of the ads, too. Baby steps to Tuesday!

  2. Tim:

    Last night three of us had some very in-depth conversation and each person was about understanding the other, not trying to prove their point. From left, to right and down the middle, we three strengthened our respect for each other because we rationally discussed the same topics from different points of view. Nice post, and to the point.

    -Kendall

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