Present Tense

You suck…NO, YOU suck…..

I need to write something, since I’ve not posted in a while . It’s not that I don’t have anything on my mind, although the meditation practice does seem to empty it a bit.  My problem is that I’m not sure that I really want to write what I’m thinking. Does that make sense?  I’ll give it a try and maybe some of you feel the way I do, but can’t quite verbalize it, either.

Here’s what’s been on my mind:  politics.  Ugh, right?  Hold on a minute before you click away to sunnier topics. It’s not politics from the policy, detail perspective; it’s politics from the aggressive, angry, “I don’t want to hear what you have to say or maintain our friendship, because we disagree” perspective.

I will be honest and declare that I am a longtime Republican.  Many of you just shifted your view of me. Be completely honest with yourself.  When you find out that someone that you generally like or respect is Republican or Democrat, you alter your view of them.  Be truthful; I’ve found myself making these generalizations.

Here’s the thing:  it’s okay.  It’s okay to wonder why someone holds a different viewpoint or philosophy than you. We are after all, a two party system and the two philosophies, along with checks and balances provided by the various branches of government and the media, are designed to make sure that everyone is heard and that one party or the federal government,  can’t become tyrannical.  Now, I’ll admit that there have been times in our history, perhaps you feel it’s now, when one side seems to be holding all of the power.  I’ve found in my personal observations that the pendulum tends to swing back the other way, if things get a little nutty.

Here’s what’s not okay:  to hear someone’s party affiliation and IMMEDIATELY jump to the conclusion that they are some parody of a person that’s been portrayed by talking heads of either side. That is what I see happening among friends, family, co-workers, etc. to the point where we can no longer discuss or debate politics without threatening these important relationships.  Blindly following the talking points and narrative of either party, results in the current climate of distrust, name-calling, anger and closed-minds.  Personally,  I’m sick of it.

Let me tell you a few things about me, Jane the Republican.  I don’t hate blacks, immigrants, gays, communists, or muslims.  I believe that it is our responsibility to care for those among us who cannot care for themselves, with a combination of private charity and government aid.  I believe that the military’s ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ policy is antiquated, discriminatory and wrong and that gays should openly serve our country and I hope that policy is soon history.  I am cognizant of my own carbon footprint, but do not believe that the government should dictate what car I drive or what I eat.  I can make those decisions myself, based on my own economic, health and happiness factors.  Not to mention my common sense.

I am not a member of an evangelical movement, nor am I comfortable with the massive infusion of religion into politics.  Dogma on both sides is counter-productive, divisive and tends to deflect from the nuts and bolts act of leading and governing that is supposed to go on in Washington.  It seems to to me that many politicians have elevated ‘religion’ over ‘ethics’, in their quest to get elected.

I DO believe that a central government out of Washington D.C., can’t efficiently manage the wants, needs, desires, finances and health care for over 300 million people, living in diverse states and circumstances.  I also believe that this central government should be a bit more responsible in how they spend the precious tax dollars they collect and I think both parties are guilty of OPM syndrome.  (Other People’s Money–it’s always a little easier to spend it, no?)

So, there you go.  Scary, eh?  I’m sure that some of you have written me off and never proceeded past the 3rd paragraph where I declared my allegiance to the party of ‘right-wing nutjobs’.   I’m also aware that I may have turned off some of my own tribe as well with some of my ‘liberal’ views.  That’s okay, too.  My point is that very few of us fit the stereotype that is constantly drummed into us via the media (of which I am a longtime member, by the way. I used to host a conservative talk show, until it made me crazy and I had to look for a ‘normal’ radio job).

And here’s a little secret for those of you who worship at the alter of the various right-wing/left-wing pundits:  it’s pretty much about ratings, advertisers and money.  Not that there is ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!  That’s how I’ve paid my mortgage for 25 years.  Just realize that sometimes things get a little, um…. exaggerated, for drama and effect.  I’m not saying they don’t have good intentions to inform you and agitate you, but a lot of it is closer to theater, than real information.

There, I’ve said what’s been on my mind.  And you?  Would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear your thoughts and comments. One request:  let’s have a rational, respectful discussion:)

April 10, 2010 - Posted by | Musings | ,

23 Comments »

  1. Jane, love that you’re willing to tackle these tough topics. I’m in total agreement with you about people altering their perceptions of you when they know your political affiliation. I’ve got friends and family with varying degrees of passion regarding party politics and most of the time, find only a few rare folks I’ll even talk about these topics with because everyone gets so crazy. Makes me sad, really because I see our country becoming more and more divided when really we may have more in common with each other that we think.

    Comment by Sherry | April 10, 2010 | Reply

  2. Well said. It’s how I’ve been feeling too. I debate with a neighbor who has a terrible habit of generalizing way too much and throwing all of us into buckets: if you’re conservative, you’re a right-wing evangelical nutjob; if you’re somewhere in the middle, then you might as well be a conservative; if you’re as far left as the pendulum will allow, then you’re right! I personally believe the Republican party has been hijacked and therefore wish for there to be a ligitamate third party (libertarian). So it’s something to work towards…

    Comment by Donna | April 10, 2010 | Reply

  3. Jane
    I hate to tell you this but you sound like a Democrat.

    Comment by kelly Ross | April 10, 2010 | Reply

    • HAHA! Why, because I appear to be rational?
      Perfect! Thank you for enforcing my point, Miss K.
      J

      Comment by janelondon | April 10, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hmmmmm! Don’t get ME started!!! At this point in my life, I believe ALL governments are TYRANNICAL – no matter what party is in power!!!! The key element – “…POWER corrupts absolutely.”

    Love You!!!

    Comment by Big Sis | April 10, 2010 | Reply

    • Love you, too Big Sis…even though you seem to have missed the point of my post:)
      However this is a perfect example of why I am, the way I am. It’s in our genetic code, I guess….
      Love,
      Little Sis Janie

      Comment by janelondon | April 10, 2010 | Reply

  5. The sad fact is that some will find a reason to think less of a person based on nothing more than a difference of opinion. I have lost several friendships (long standing) due to my conservative as well as my liberal beliefs. (sound familiar? I am part of a community who, as a majority, are as far left as they come. I am also part of another community that tends to be as far right as they come. Somewhere in the middle is where I exist. Not many are comfortable with the center. Either you have to be on this side or that side…not BOTH. Welcome to the Libertarian party.

    Comment by kandis | April 10, 2010 | Reply

    • I can’t even imagine the tightrope you walk. Feel free to pass my post along to anyone who might ‘need’ it:) Not that it would make a dent for some, but one never knows, right?
      j

      Comment by janelondon | April 10, 2010 | Reply

  6. As always…good, chewy stuff. Love the big, beautiful courage it took you to bare your soul at the risk of being “un-friended”. Keep flexing those hug muscles!

    Comment by Margie | April 10, 2010 | Reply

  7. Jane, well put. It makes me sad, how divided we’ve gotten in this country, and I don’t believe it’s always been this bad…or I am just being nostalgic? And it’s not just about votes or media ratings; it’s about money in general. The pundits, “consultants” and religious leaders who’ve gotten rich off politics have done so by making extremist comments, not by trying to bring any useful perspectives to our country’s problems. Ann Colter doesn’t sell any books unless she puts an inflammatory title on the cover. OK, OK, to be fair (because I’m a progressive), Al Franken’s book titles aren’t very nice, either. Jane, you discussed politics in a calm and reasonable way. Maybe you’ll start a trend…

    Comment by Maureen | April 11, 2010 | Reply

    • I appreciate the comments, Mo. I guess we shouldn’t leave out another group that benefits from the money/power/inflammatory comments syndrome: our elected leaders.
      Key figures in the “us against them” that has become modern American politics.
      I’m hoping that I start a trend, where we all question decisions out of Washington, instead of just blindly supporting ANY policy or legislation or stance that comes from “our team”. I’ve found myself arguing for something that I don’t really support, just ‘because’…
      j

      Comment by janelondon | April 11, 2010 | Reply

  8. This is great…and the real me agrees with so much of it. The Democrat in me is confused because no one is telling me how to respond. GREAT STUFF.

    Comment by Francesca Amari | April 11, 2010 | Reply

  9. I’m a middle of the road walker myself. I agree w/ some conservative principles, but tend to swing more toward moderate liberalism than anything else. I believe people should be left alone to live their own lives and make their own decisions, and nobody has any right to point fingers at how other people live, but I also strongly think that in the 21st century, we’ve evolved way past, as a society, leaving people out in the street to flounder about on their own.

    Someone told me that he thought health care was a privilege, not something that was necessary for the pursuit of happiness. Really? Kinda hard to pursue happiness when your kid has cancer, and you can’t pay for the medical care, and preventative medical care should be a basic social service for those who can’t afford it. A healthy population is a productive and active citizenry. It’s in a our best interest as a nation. Does that mean we need 100% socialized medicine? Not necessarily. There are many ways of getting to where we need to go. Unfortunately, not too many people really care about the creative possibilities.

    Beyond health care and the political tornadoes the debate produces…

    What I really want to see is that if someone seriously dislikes someone else’s religious views or alternative lifestyle, that he/she would just shut his/her pie hole. How someone else chooses to live her life has absolutely no bearing on anyone else.

    On a different note…

    I work as a pastry chef at Capital Tea on South Broadway, and a week and a half ago, we had a group of Tea Party women who came in (guess they were on their way to the rally at the Capital). OMG, those women were crazy! Loud, rude, and really obnoxious. They drove some of our regular customers to leave. I had a really strong desire to put some Ani Difranco on the stereo. Really loudly! I hope I never those people again. That kind of behavior is just unacceptable from anyone.

    Comment by Roxanne Rieske | April 11, 2010 | Reply

  10. Oh, one more thing…

    Just from various things you’ve said on the radio over the last 10 years, I’ve thought for a long time that you were Republican. Having you confirm that doesn’t change anything for me :-D. You still rock!

    Comment by Roxanne Rieske | April 11, 2010 | Reply

  11. I tend not to take part in political discussions with my friends because regardless of whether they are red or blue, they are so polarized in their opinions and unwilling to be intellectually open to suggestion, it is all based on emotional reactions. Why can’t we all just get along like James Carville and Mary Matalin?

    Comment by Imasink | April 12, 2010 | Reply

  12. Jane,
    Even though I’m a Democrat (and an elected office holder, no less), there is nothing in your post that I disagree with. The tone of our political conversations has deteriorated so far that I believe it is worse than when Lyndon Johnson was conducting the Vietnam war or when Richard Nixon was dealing with Watergate. It’s awful and the haters on both sides would destroy our country if we left it up to them.

    There isn’t a big difference between a moderate Republican and a moderate Democrat. Certainly no differences that can’t be bridged. The pendulum does swing back and forth. Fortunately, those in the middle keep it from swinging out of control over time. Personally, I’m glad the folks in the middle are the ones who really control elections. I just wish they weren’t so easily swayed by the lastest hype on whatever TV or Radio show or commercial they listen too.

    Kevin O (Nancy Jo’s worse half)

    Comment by Kevin O | April 12, 2010 | Reply

  13. Hmmm, interesting, I feel the same way, and I am a registered Democrat. I wish people would remember that Democrats, Republicans, the Green Party, The Liberatian Party and all the other political parties love the freedom that has been given to us by the US Constitution and if we take the time to listen to each others views without predjudice we would most likely come to a better understanding of the complicated issues that face all Americans today. Even if it is to say, let’s “agree to disagree”.

    Comment by Sash | April 12, 2010 | Reply

  14. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. If I may I would like to share my recent epiphany.
    In the 1930’s the NAZI party somehow convinced a segment of the German Population that all of their pain and suffering was due to the excesses of the Jews.
    In the Mid East (and actually any poor country on this planet) the people in power work tirelessly to convince their people that all of their pain and suffering is due to the excesses of the WEST.
    Neither of these two thoughts are new nor are they a revelation to most of us. The thought that brought me out of my chair was that we do the very same thing here in the USA.
    As long as we can blame all of our woes on the Democrats (Republicans, Women, Men, Minorities etc..) there is no need for me to look closely at my own soul and the evils that I practice. Many people make alot of money telling us that someone else is to blame and should shoulder all of the responsibility for our troubles.
    So here is my epiphany:
    I am accountable for my actions and my part in the mess we are in. I must look to myself to get us out of it.

    Comment by Tom G | April 13, 2010 | Reply

    • BINGO!!! You have hit the nail on the head. I used to watch alot of the political shows on cable networks and my husband still does. I told him yesterday, that EVERYONE who shows up on these shows with their opinions and ‘expert analysis’ is selling something: website, book, radio show, etc.
      They have a vested interest in riling us up, making us angry and keeping the “us vs. them” divide going. Sad, but true and what’s sadder is that I’ve been in media for over 25 years and I just had this exact same epiphany in the last month or so!
      I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, than to fall into this.
      There is a right wing and a left wing industry that has a profit motive to keep us angry and agitated.
      We all need to quit getting our “news” from Keith Olberman and Sean Hannity:)
      thanks so much for the note!
      Bravo!
      jane

      Comment by janelondon | April 13, 2010 | Reply

  15. Jane –
    Thank you! I am a Democrat and agree with your post! I have very strong Republican family members that I can’t even begin to have a conversation with – if I don’t completely agree with their point of view – I am wrong! No discussion! If politics comes up at a family gathering, a sudden hush comes over the room. It would be nice to discuss instead of cuss!
    Thanks for the post – love the show!
    Deb

    Comment by Deb | April 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Deb:
      Perhaps you could forward my post to them…maybe it would help grease the skids for a less aggravating conversation:)
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | April 13, 2010 | Reply

  16. Wow, yes I did change my view of you, for the better!

    Listening to you every morning on the radio and never once hearing any inkling of your political leanings, it was refreshing to read that we hold several similar views. I too am in the same spot of being labeled a caricature by those who hear my political leanings.

    I’m a homosexual male (I don’t like the term gay, it’s like calling a Sicilian an Italian, totally different groups) who is also conservative, perhaps even more conservative than many who claim that title. I’m not a Christian, yet that is often the first response I get from others in my “community” (I hate that term too since I don’t really associate with many other homosexuals or gays).

    They think I am self-hating because I can’t in good conscience support a party that doesn’t represent my views. That said, I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I would lean Republican if they held to their core principles, but unfortunately, that day is a few more election losses off.

    Anyway, I babbled long enough, thanks for the great read and thanks for the entertainment every morning, you guys are all fantastic!

    Comment by James | April 15, 2010 | Reply

    • James:
      Thanks for the note and for reading my blog! Maybe you could forward it to some of those folks who are labeling your humanity, based on your political views:)
      Your comment really is a perfect example of being judged, based on the cultural labels that are tossed around so thoughtlessly. Your sexual orientation means that you believe
      ____________________, right?
      So, silly!
      Thanks again
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | April 18, 2010 | Reply


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