As the political, economic and cultural divide widens in this country, I’ve noticed more political incoherence among people. There are always good intentions, but many good people blindly suspend rational thought ahead of good common sense. Our political dialogue is completely warped these days and I believe it has something to do with the amount of money we spend on elections and corporate media’s obsession with stories that pull on our precious heartstrings, spread fear of the unknown or misunderstood and elevate the trivial to new heights.
Not only is there a lack of consistency in our dialogue with the fear of being attacked, but we’ve embraced a “cover your ass” philosophy, which gives the appearance of political tidiness among regular hard-working people who strive to have it both ways.
1. The jingoistic and falsely patriotic bumper sticker on a foreign vehicle
On my way to the grocery store I noticed a man driving a Subaru Outback on Rte. 9 in Poughkeepsie, NY. The bumper sticker read “I want my country back” with an enormous American flag centered behind the declaration. What I found odd is that he was driving a Japanese car. Now, of course we know that many foreign companies have manufacturing plants here in the USA and employ thousands of Americans. However, I wonder how many of those workers would have higher paying jobs in Detroit if more emphasis was placed on the American auto industry. If you’d like your country back (from whom is unclear—foreign invaders, illegal or actual aliens, democrats, big government, small government, all types of government, Putin, Arabs, Islamic states of terrorism, fuel inefficient vehicles, Greenpeace, white people, people of color, millennials, evangelicals, Catholics, religion, people in general, me?), maybe you should join our cause and get consistent with your message.
2. The t-shirt that boxes three options
C) chicken-wing (chicken-wing is checked)
So you are saying that chicken-wings are preferred to politicians? Everyone knows that. But please think more carefully before feeding us your steady diet of apathy and indulgence.
3. The guy who claims that he is “socially” liberal, but fiscally conservative”
Consistency is important. Sure— this is America—have your own opinion about “economic freedom,” free markets and of course trickle-down approach to building a fairer socio-economy. But these two concepts are not completely separate, but forever entwined. Government is the now the great villain to people according to this argument and the third way espoused during the boom years of the Clinton administration seems to have fallen by the way side. How can you be for civil rights, but block economic opportunities for the disenfranchised?
4. The middle-aged salesman who claims JFK was a great president while also supporting the tea party
Twice in a week I’ve noticed this association (or disassociation of two Democrats), as a man stood on road in Fishkill, NY calling for impeachment proceedings, likely citing the Tea Party’s recent petition dedicated to the subject. Next to him was an image of our 35th president, which also read “Now we need JFK.”
Then an unusual man struck up a conversation with me at a local coffee shop, extolling the virtues of Nixon, while also explaining how Reagan was our greatest president. In his top three list of U.S. presidents, the man included JFK in the mix because of his “hardline” against Cuba that included plans for an invasion and a willingness to pursue a full-scale war in Vietnam (both claims unfounded). He called our current president a “phony” and dismissed the current administration as ineffectual. Historical revisionism is a serious accusation in academia, but in politics it’s commonplace. The Tea Party’s branding problem aside, this makes no sense.
5. The man who explains that President Obama is a wimp for not standing up more to Vladimir Putin, but also says he doesn’t want to wage war in the Ukraine
A standard republican attack with a twist—let’s not stand with our European allies and drop dialogue with Russia, start another Cold War and then escalate the situation in the Ukraine without firing a shot. Seems like an excellent foreign policy to me. Maybe we should just forget what happened to our economic surplus in 2001 – 2008. See: the $1.7 trillion we spent in Iraq under false pretenses. Let’s inch closer to another war, but not get entangled in another conflict. Good luck with that strategy.