This piece may strike some of you as the words of a young unknowing man, not quite experienced enough to make such comments, but here we go. Time to think out loud.
Have we, as society, gone past the point of no return when disrespecting public office?
There have been throughout history many people unfit for public office. Corruption scandals are as old as the civilizations that expose them. It is a byproduct of human nature to manipulate others in the quest to get more. More power, money, notoriety. Just more. The mudslinging during election cycles and digging for dirt on opponents is not a new trend. Discrediting entire political parties is as old as the ability to govern.
So what do I mean?
I know, everyone goes on and on about “The internet ruined XYZ”. I’m not about to beat that dead horse. New mediums are always a disruption no matter what they are. The rise of the internet has been different in that information is now instant and tailored. We don’t have to move through dissenting opinions as much to get to one we agree with. We don’t have to read through an author’s differing opinion to get facts. If we don’t like a certain news organization we avoid them. In the past that meant avoiding one or two newspapers, magazines, or news channels. But you still interacted with people that had different opinions and talked through ideas. Albeit sometimes a bit argumentative or violent, but things were discussed. Hell, there’s a chance that you stopped reading already because you disagreed with something above.
Now that we are able to filter everything and everyone out to create these little bubbles lacking anything that might offend or disturb us, countless little “news” sites have popped up that serve to write only inflated or exaggerated pieces on how the “other side” thinks. This bleeds then into the real world and any dissenting opinions voiced in public are cause for outrage. People scream instead of discuss.
Politicians and their staff have seized on this change in public discourse and of course are using it to their advantage, as they always have. What I find interesting though is that as much as one side uses our self imposed echo chambers to discredit the other side, they end up damaging politics as a whole.
I feel that no one respects public office anymore. Not that the behavior of those holding office deserve much respect nowadays; the class separation between those who “represent” the average citizen and those of us who expect representation is wider than the distance between our coasts. Instead of highlighting the failures of our representatives and replacing them with more qualified, trusted individuals we just ridicule them in a futile dance around our bubbles.
Left insults right, right insults left. Rinse and repeat.
The offices in our government are important. It is no easy feat to maintain a nation and it appears to me that we have lost sight of what progress means. We seem to be scraping by with the bare minimum as world events, national infrastructure, healthcare, and so many other issues go unattended. The ruling class, let’s be honest that’s what they are, cares only to see their personal holdings grow while the rest fend for themselves.
We can’t survive like this. We are so much better than this. We are an incredible species with no ceiling to our possibilities. We need to compromise. Cast aside the notions of supremacy, no matter what for, and work together. The short term may not yield staggering results for all, but it is better than a temporary leap forward for some and a step backwards for others. Something like climate change denial for the sake of wider profit margins is pointless. Damning the future to have a couple more bucks. What is the point? A standing legacy should be one not of riches, but of progress.
I try to write in a way that makes people think. I don’t want to regurgitate old ideas or pander to a specific group. If I’m wrong, I want to be told so. I know that change and compromise is incredibly difficult, but if we all try to make strides in the right direction progress can be made.
We are all in this together.
I truly think, maybe naively, that it is actually possible to have a public discourse that is more than name calling and marketing. We rely too heavily on the influence of news organizations and lobbyists to tell us how to think and who to vote for. These people have agendas. They have budgets and $400 hair cuts and goals to meet. They don’t care what is good for the people unless it is good for them as well.
It is time to dismiss the fear mongers and live for what we know is right. The success of humankind as a whole is up to each of us and the intent we live with to better ourselves individually and collectively. Each day is ripe for the progression of our world.
Wake up and push forward.