Anyone remember that scene from Old School where Will Ferrell steps up to debate ‘The Ragin’ Cajun”, James Carville?
Curious enough, something similar happens to me from time to time. Some people say that I’m articulate and well spoken but I may just be well rehearsed. When I’m discussing something that I’ve given a lot of thought to, I’ve already had those conversations numerous times in my own head. Perhaps that’s why my mind wanders when I’m giving speeches. Perhaps even more curious, it’s often this state of mind which tends earn me that ‘mic drop’ moment.
Anyways, I had one of those moments in the shower earlier and I thought it might be worth writing down. The debate question is:
What’s the real issue in American politics today?
Going into blackout mode…
This isn’t a black versus white thing, this isn’t a rich versus poor thing, and this isn’t a left versus right thing. This is what happens when politics becomes more important than governance. This is what happens when a duopoly of power prioritizes the short-term success of their party over the greater good of the people they’re supposed to serve.
The American people have democracy, but in a democracy where you’re asked to elect someone you don’t know to run a system you don’t understand, what exactly are you asking of your people? In an election process that requires billion dollar campaigns, who do you expect to be influencing those candidates? In a system with such obvious fundamental flaws, why do we keep expecting different outcomes?
When we start to notice what’s happening though, rather that acknowledge our mistakes and work to solve our problems, we’re given someone to blame. If you’re rich, blame the tax raising democrats. If you’re poor, blame the heartless republicans. If you’re middle America, blame the coastal elites. If you’ve lost your job, blame the immigrants. If you’re a liberal millennial, blame the white man. It’s all utterly ridiculous because when someone understands how interconnected we all are, it’s very easy to see that we’re all in this together.
The American people want freedom. That’s the freedom to be whoever we want to be and love whoever we want to love. That’s also the freedom for businesses to compete without unnecessary regulations. The American people want lower taxes, but don’t mind paying them as long as they’re spent well. The American people want someone working 40 hours a week to earn a livable wage. The American people want to stop invading other countries. The American people want affordable access to health care. The American people agree on almost all major issues, but through the spin cycle of politics and media, everyone’s divided without even really understanding why.
The universe always finds it’s equilibrium. Just after Trump was elected, I said this may be a good thing. Not because he’ll be any good at his job, but because he might just be catastrophically bad at it. Just maybe he’ll lie more than any politician ever has. Maybe he’ll flip flop all of his policies. Maybe he’l have temper tantrums so frequently that people question if he’s mentally fit enough for office. Maybe he’ll let his racist undertones influence policy. Maybe all the shady stuff that he’s done in the past will come to boil over during his presidency and we can finally have a complete meltdown of the confidence in our government.
Maybe that’s when we stop paying attention to them, and start paying attention to each other. Maybe that’s when we start to drive our own rhetoric around the values that got us here in the first place. Maybe that’s when we’ll finally open our minds to what government could be.