As 2017 draws to a close I find myself frustrated and angry daily with what we as a country have had to endure in our political spectrum for the past 2+ years. In an era with information and personal interaction more readily available than ever before in history, we as Americans have been continually fed clichés and bullshit by those who should be leading with clarity and respect for those they serve.
I’m not talking about President Trump when I relay my sentiments of anguish over the current political dialogue. The President is too hopeless a creature to place faith in to rectify the stain he’s left on American political culture. His lack of decency and respect for facts and reality are a disgrace to his office and humankind. A man who attacks our own intelligence communities and endorsed a child molester for U.S. Senate is beyond repair or atonement. It’s those below him who we should be expecting better of who don’t seem to be up to par with standards we deserve.
With journalists and news outlets covering every square inch of Capitol Hill providing updates on any prevalent topic, any room for less than transparent behavior should be getting smaller by the day. Citizens have never been more privy to the same analysis and information regarding any hot topic that lawmakers receive as they are in 2017.
More now than ever casual observing citizens can plainly see surface level interactions in Washington. There’s far less of an ability to sneak in bills, repeal an executive order, or nominate an absolute trash judicial nominee for a lifetime appointment without the American people being alerted to it. With every move on their chessboard openly free to be seen and scrutinized, is it so much to ask for our elected reps to give us the due process and breakdown from the actual horse’s mouth?
The tax and healthcare debates were accompanied with minute by minute updates, and repeated breakdowns over policy choices and their implications. This goes double for foreign policy or social transgressions, as both social media and the news cycle bring us every angle and fact related to some controversial action or stupid fucking tweet.
With all this in mind, politicians in the social media age owe us both personality and transparency. We’re fortunate to still be surrounded by great journalism and infinite knowledge one smartphone away; why do our elected representatives treat us like we’re subject to their word and their word only? Could 2018 be the year when we finally get our politicians holding themselves accountable for the factual basis of what they say and acknowledging their own rights and wrongs?
Policy disagreements are the tip of the frustration iceberg. They’ll always exist. What’s disgusting is how our elected and appointed representatives have only further victimized Americans by disrespecting and eroding societal norms. I’m so goddamn tired of watching politicians escape personal accountability about their positions or actions with a tired cliché or bullshit argument. The lack of ability to explain in detail decisions and beliefs to their constituents in favor of throw-away phrases and aversion to factual debate has blown my fucking mind all year. Take Texas Senator John Cornyn, who has hopped on the “fake news” bullshit train that seems to have taken over half of the country.
Instead of responding to disagreements and allegations with a factual and informed response, Cornyn lazily hurls the term “fake news” at something he doesn’t like. In this era it has never been easier to put out a detailed response in your own words (or whoever you have handling all your statements) via a social media account or any sort of press release that could be seen instantly. Next year I’d like to see politicians bring back their respect to hardworking journalism, and have the gumption to actually factually challenge a disagreement instead of flippantly waving a hand it with a phrase popularized by a con-man. Be better than a con-man, especially if we’re paying your salary.
Simply dismissing anything as “fake news” or wrong without backing a point up is nothing short of irresponsible from someone whose salary is paid by taxpayer dollars and should hold themselves to a standard of complete transparency and basis of fact regarding any statement or belief. If we as citizens can look up accurate reporting and use it as our basis of why we feel a certain way, lawmakers owe us the same effort.
Partisan tribalism has been at its peak in the past year, and this is another trend we have to expect better out of our elected reps, especially in terms of common sense moral arguments. In 2017 we have a political party that supported a highly documented accused child molester for Senate simply for the sake of a stronger party majority. We’ve seen statements regarding sexual assault dictated based on how the accused “R” or “D” lines up with your own. We’ve seen lying on government forms be waived off like it’s nothing; why can’t next year we have our capital be filled with elected reps who actually care about holding themselves and our government to high standards?
Our moral compass as a nation has eroded because of a lack of accountability from our leaders. Frankly watching politicians bend over like a good boy for the President, completely ignoring their own moral conscience, regarding his conduct, nepotism, and general disdain for respect of the office he holds has been more depressing to watch than the President himself. Ignorance on common lack of decency and anything less than respectable conduct worthy of your nation can no longer be ignored. Our three branches aren’t the kitchen at a Waffle House, they’re the three cogs that keep our nation from imploding. I’d hope our politicians can give more of a shit about cracks in the cogs.
In 2018 politicians need to simply be so much better than they have been. Our nation is at a moral compass crossroads. If we want to deviate from the toxic message spreading from the very top that reeks of partisanship, blatant and baseless accusations of bias and falsities against our intelligence agencies and credible journalism outlets, and lack of human decency and common sense, then in the coming year our elected politicians must answer the call of true leadership. One man and one administration can do immense damage on our nation’s reputation and credibility as a whole, but an entire complicit political system can permanently derail it past a point of no return.
In 2018, I hope like hell that leadership at all levels can move on from a simply dismissive attitude towards any disagreeing article or directed tweet. Being able to simply scream “fake news” with zero factual basis behind the scream may work for someone who’s forgone any sense of decency and self-respect, but any politician who wishes to retain a sense of pride and duty should strive to hold themselves to a higher standard.
Next year I want to see politicians who take a stand with fact and merit-based arguments. Any personal or political attack should be met with opposition that goes deeper than the surface of “nope that’s wrong” or “the other party is just lying.” Be better than a quick disagreeing tweet or a two-minute cable news appearance. We’re in the age of mass information and outreach; use it.
If any public figure is proud of a policy, declarations, or an endorsement, don’t be afraid to back it up with a resounding “why I feel this way.” Don’t use your Twitter account for a quick dismissal or approval; go in depth. We as constituents deserve deeper thoughts and explanations, and it’s not as though we aren’t willing to read them. This year we’ve gotten to witness bills and policies rushed through with little explanation. There’s no excuse for that now. Take the time to reach out through written or spoken word. Any dingus can write a long note or essay and tweet it, or record a video breaking down why your vote or your philosophy went a certain direction; we as a public have to demand that from those whose salaries we pay to govern us to the best of their ability.
We shouldn’t be content with open flowing rhetoric during a campaign followed by short generalities during time served. I want our politicians to bring back a respect to proper order and sharing details. No bills or policies should be rushed past the American people—not with a social media and journalists so quick to draw question to methods and call bullshit on quick procedure. The ability to share precise details on why bills are written as they are to the American people should be embraced, not shunned or avoided. We deserve better than rushed process, ignored CBO scores, and dismissal without response. Hold yourselves as accountable for deviance from respectable procedure and hypocritical rhetoric as you’d hold the other party.
Next year our leaders need to abandon fierce tribalism in favor of simple common sense. Why does the H.W. Bush-led Republican party having the wherewithal to refute a Republican candidate for Louisiana Governor with KKK ties seem like far longer than twenty-six years ago? Accepting demons, on either side, for the sake of a party majority is something that just can’t continue. Try simply holding yourself to a test of, “Would I sit quiet with my thumb up my ass and make excuses if this was the other party?” Quit ignoring blasphemy, hypocrisy, and atrocity at the sake of toeing a party line. We had to watch a party throw support behind an absolute openly fucking heinous human being in the Alabama Senate election; don’t ever subject the American people to that again, no matter what letter is in front of their name.
In the social media age politicians owe us personality as much as transparency. The one thing you can say positively about Trump is that he uses his ability to let the American people know what’s on his mind as well as anyone in the public eye. While what’s on his mind might be a dumpster fire of lies, attacks, and false reality, it offers a glimmer of how politicians could actually use Twitter for (gasp) positivity.
I’d love to see my reps letting us know how or why we should get behind their new legislation; why it’s a passion for them. I’d appreciate hearing commentary on the day’s events that sounds like it’s coming from a real human, not a 1950’s typewriter making sure to hit every cliché and really give away very little opinion against the grain on anything. Give me someone who’s willing to truly speak their mind, with factual base, and do away with the constituent/representative relationship that exists solely through safe press releases. Our reps shouldn’t be afraid to show their personality through a media presence. Be more than clichés and press releases.
Due order, fact based argument, and transparency. That’s not too much to ask in exchange for nice suits and a cushy government salary. It’s been a personal hell to watch our political norms disintegrate and institutions we’ve held so dear be slandered. Hold yourselves to a higher standard for the American people in 2018. You don’t work for party wins, or donors, or even the President. You work to do what’s best for us. We deserve to see you’re making every effort to do just that.