October 2, 2014
If you’re like me, you have at least a passing interest in politics. It’s likely to the detriment of your blood pressure, sleep habits, and nail health, but there are issues you can’t help but be fascinated with, and keeping informed is sexy. Or at least cool. Or something. At least that’s what I tell myself.
In any event, I wanted to talk today about a trend that’s been going on for a long time, and the fact that it’s an old problem doesn’t make it any less of one. In fact, it’s more frustrating if anything. What I’m talking about is the act of politicizing an issue that isn’t really all that political.
I recently wrote about the Supreme Court taking on cases about marriage equality. Marriage equality, a social issue, has somehow found itself wrapped up tightly in the coils of political debate in recent years.
In debate after debate, we have to hear about how politicians are protecting family values, or maybe championing the underdogs, or saving us from sin, or fighting for our social equity. The bottom line is, with either view, it’s a weird thing to elect your representatives based upon…. but we do it every time. Black rights, women’s rights, gay rights, one after the other we parade the issues as talking points until eventually the country comes to a collective realization and we move on.
In short, we seem to be plagued by an inability to separate political issues (income inequality, government size, foreign policy) from personal and social ones (individual rights and happiness, religion, etc.).
But there might be a glimmer of hope! At a recent republican convention, a lawyer, Jennifer Bukowsky, spoke up in favor of same sex marriage and marijuana legalization, while at the same time touting the need for a smaller government, tighter spending control, and more. She said republicans shouldn’t be distracted by such “liberty issues.”
I applaud her. I don’t necessarily agree with her actual political leanings, but the fact is she’s done what millions of people seem incapable of by separating some “hot button” social issues from the politics they are often piggy-backed onto, and that’s something to aspire to.
In a perfect world, these first few dominoes would be quickly followed by the rest in quick succession. In our world, we might have to wait a bit. Either way, it’s a start. Which issues are YOU tired of hearing about in various political forums?