Few subjects you’ll ever either discuss or see talked about, come across as divisively as politics.
It’s obvious that viewpoints as to the best way to govern at various levels almost couldn’t be more different from person to person.
Yet the subject is as important as any one might care to discuss.
How things are done in the political word, strongly affects how the world outside of that landscape works and looks; the more the “ruling class” (not what they were intended to be, at least not in the United States of America) is involved in day-to-day activities, the more it matters.
This being true, you would think people would desire to be more informed about politics. The truth is though, this is sadly not the case. To make things worse, there are “political seasons” in this country, that tend to leave people saturated with political discussion, horribly tired of it, or both.
This reality is not helped by the tendency towards folks getting out in the streets to protest various things. Though protesters can be seen coming from many walks of life and having a variety of political ideologies, groups on the left tend to be more likely to involve themselves in protracted events. They also seem to be more prone to resort to violence and mayhem, to get their point across.
This lets nobody off the hook, sometimes people in the center and on the right have more extended demonstrations as well, it’s just rarer as a rule. Also, they tend to be orderly by intent, with a few typically unsupported folks acting badly (read here, “violently and criminally”).
You may ask why it matters this is the case. The answer is, just as with the time before (particularly presidential) elections, many become overwhelmed by the messaging, and like it or not, it’s invariably largely political in nature.
In fact, the Constitution particularly talks about the idea of “petitioning the government for redress of grievances.” It should be understood that a cornerstone of that process is the right to peaceably assemble.
Taken together, these and other things tend to make people weary when accosted by anything to do with politics.
That said, it would behoove folks to remember certain realities.
One of these is that government collects taxes, ostensibly to be able to continue to operate in the realms in which they’re obliged to act.
The fact is though, taxes are collected in the present day, for things that’re not the purview of government—though it does them nonetheless.
Another thing political entities are prone to do, is regulate behavior. The passage of laws and ordinances is a common practice of such groups.
You may not like it, but knowing for what particular members of the body politic wish to collect taxes, upon what they place restrictions, how they limit activity, and what the impending effects on you end up being, matters a great deal to you, to me, and really, to everyone under their umbrella.
But there’s a problem. People will tell you all day long what various others are doing, be the persons gossiped about politicians, others in the office or just friends and acquaintances. As you gain experience though, you’ll learn that they’re not nearly always correct in what they report, reasons for their potentially errant statements aside.
In this regard, things you read or hear about folks running for or ensconced in, public office of various kinds, are no different than are statements made about any other group of people you can envision. Sometimes what you hear will be true, sometimes not so much.
Unlike other people though, the actions of that class who deals in things governmental will certainly affect you.
If a person you periodically talk with at work tells you something about another employee, you may decide it’s of no significance to you whether what they’ve said is true or false. Having come to that conclusion, you may hold the statements made in the back of your mind, and if they ever come to be relevant, try to substantiate or rule out what was told you.
In the arena of controlling entities like presidents, congressmen, governors and mayors, doing that may cause you to help to elect folks to power who assuredly are not working in your best interests.
Whether we agree on what you should consider reasonable and proper where governmental authority is concerned is beside the point. Your recognition for what things a given political individual stands, is crucial to your ensuring those doing things you decide are appropriate and proper, make their way into various positions of power.
The way you learn that sort of thing, is by others helping to educate you on what those individuals appear to believe.
A part of what’s discussed is the underlying philosophy held by a politician who subscribes to a given world view. Say for example, a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, a Socialist or a Communist.
That’s where people like me come in. I take it as part of my job, to know the underlying dogma of various groups and on them to expound. For me, individuals are not typically topics for discussion.
Others though, report or opine, on what given individuals are doing and saying. This is valuable because simply knowing what a specific group supports, doesn’t necessarily clarify the positions of individuals who generally claim allegiance to that group.
It may be that Senator Smith calls himself a Republican, yet supports something ridiculous like segregation.
In its very soul, the Republican party abhors the concept. That doesn’t mean each and every person claiming to be under its banner completely endorses every perspective that party does.
In finality though, it’s your job to be part of “an informed electorate.” You must “fact check” the statements of groups and individuals wishing to represent you in government. Having others tell you things can be helpful if and only if you refuse to accept everything given at face value—even from those claiming to be unbiased verifiers of veracity.
If you’re willing to do a little due diligence though, you can come to conclusions about the truthfulness of claims made without too much effort. This is more possible than ever in the modern day, where information overload is entirely feasible. The caveat being, make sure your sources are reputable.
Do politics belong on LinkedIn and other social media? I contend they do. As with any subject though, the discussion of things in that strata should be respectful and civil. If you cannot manage that, perhaps you shouldn’t voice your opinion.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.