For a little over a month I have avoided writing anything too in depth about the wild and crazy world of partisan politics. I see no need to assist either of the presidential candidates with the slinging of their mud. I don’t want to react to the newest soundbites or quotes from speeches designed to influence my opinion. I find the campaign stops and bus tours ludicrous. I have trouble believing that one millionaire truly understands me better than the other millionaire.
I could go into a few things that have moved me over the last month. Romney’s senseless comments at the Olympics, or Obama’s complete misunderstanding of small business and entrepreneurs. I could lambaste the president for saying he does not need to prove anything while arguing that Romney should have to prove…see how easy it is to fall into the trap?
There is no better way to understand our partisan bickering than the view of a complete political meltdown. Over the weekend we were offered a perfect example of a politician making cringe worthy remarks and the media running with them. When Todd Akin went on a St Louis morning show to talk about his race for the U.S. Senate, who knew the six time congressman from Missouri would coin a new phrase and draw up battle lines all across the country. The foolishly uninformed statements made by Mr Akin can be viewed here.
Two things happened very quickly following the “legitimate rape” fiasco. First Democrats tried desperately to tie these comments to the general belief of any pro-life politician. This opportunistic approach is exactly the kind of thing that makes me despise election year news coverage. Second, anyone with a reputation to protect ran screaming from Todd Akin and were quick to point out his views were strictly his own and not the views of… well… anyone who has ever taken an eighth grade health class.
What amazes me is that people have come to Akin’s defense. Explaining that he misspoke…I see when he said that a woman’s body has ways of “shutting that whole thing down” what he meant to say was “Rape is a deplorable thing and no one can question the choices someone makes after a traumatic experience like that.”
The current division in our society has left us in an odd place. We feel compelled to defend anyone who shares our beliefs regardless of how indefensible their actions may be. We also find ourselves too quick to assume that the thoughts and opinions of a whole group of people who disagree with us can be summed up by the raving of one mad man. (Joe Biden speaks for all Democrats, right?)
I long to view national politics the same way we do on the local stage. Outrageous claims are seldom made in attack ads on the local level, because you have to see that person and their family afterward. The expectations are higher with lower offices, sources must be named and comments explained. On the local stage Blind Faith is just a super group featuring Eric Clapton, not something we grant the members of our party– simply because they are members of our party.
In my next piece I will probably return to slamming the current administration, but for now let me appeal to you as a person. We have to be the difference! The standards we have for those meant to represent our beliefs and positions should be twice as stringent as those we place on others. We are judged by the company we keep both personally and politically.