Philosophizing can be fun. Who doesn’t like thinking and arguing, pontificating and theorizing, debating and discussing? It’s good activity for the brain, if not for one’s stress levels.
There’s a time and a place for philosophy though. It’s called college. Or it can be a dinner party with other people who enjoy that kind of thing.
The one place it needs to vacate though — at least for the time being — is government.
I’m sorry but I don’t think we have the time or patience for this nonsense anymore. The American public, like frustrated parents staring at God knows how many more years of college tuition for a wannabe Nietzche, Sartre or Aristotle, needs to tell our elected and aspiring leaders to buckle down and get to work.
What is “legitimate” rape? Is gay marriage detrimental to society? When does life begin? Did the Founding Fathers want us to own assault rifles? These are all excellent topics for a debate club to discuss, but they are relatively minor in comparison to the very real and serious issues this country faces.
If the economy wasn’t in the tank and threatening to plummet again, many in this country would be pleased as punch to line up behind the champion of their choosing and root for them to win the debate.
The economy stinks, though, and there are things that must be done for the people in this country who need things to improve. By focusing on issues that really can’t or won’t be resolved — ideological differences — politicians are simply pandering to voters and offering nothing of substance.
Whether or not an elected official supports gay marriage or opposes abortion is virtually meaningless, and I don’t mean that to sound as cold as it certainly does to some people.
In the case of abortion, it was decided in a Supreme Court case in the 1970s and is extremely unlikely to go back to being banned outright.
It, like many of these wedge issues, is a private matter for individuals, and right now I think the focus should be on the public struggling in dramatically uncertain economic times.
It’s nice if a politician’s views line up with yours on the “issues,” but the focus should be on surviving in an economy that has undergone fundamental changes in the last two decades.
The American people should demand more than mere platitudes, too. Every politician voices the need for job creation but are there any actual plans on how this will be accomplished? Is there any proof that it will work?
County residents only need to drive around and look at all the empty shells where businesses used to be to realize there is no easy solution.
You can talk all day long about job creators but what kind of jobs are they going to create if manufacturing is cheaper overseas and retail continually moves online?
Those are the things our leaders should be thinking about and discussing instead of whether or not homosexuals should serve in the military.
Our leaders have to make tough choices and work at finding solutions not just on re-elections. In theory, we elect them to take the responsibility of representing the people seriously but few can argue that the current system and crop of “leaders” is more than a joke.
What’s the current public approval rating for Congress? Barely above single digits percentage-wise?
In today’s political scene, voters hear a politician’s opinions on a variety of issues but I would argue that many of these opinions have as much value as your own, which is just one out of 300 million. Opinions are a dime a dozen.
I’d much rather hear ideas. And wouldn’t it be great to look at ideas without the taint of it coming from an “enemy” party?
Imagine just looking at two proposals, side by side, and determining what you think works best for you and the American public. Instead, good ideas are dismissed because this person might limit my chances of buying armor piercing bullets or that person doesn’t want gay people to use the word marriage.
Again, I don’t mean to detract from the seriousness of those issues, but we could (and do) go round and round on those topics and never really get anywhere.
If we’re split 50-50 and at an impasse, move on and find common ground on issues that will have an effect on our viability as a nation.
Campaigns today run on falsehoods, anger and fear. When the public dialogue follows the gaffe of the day or gives attention to what is “legitimate rape” (and don’t get me wrong, I think that Akin guy is a moron), the focus for one more day isn’t on a country with a struggling economy and an outdated and trending downward education system, fighting a war in Afghanistan that should be over by now.
We’ve got problems and where we buy chicken sandwiches should be the least of our concerns.
Some would argue that all of the important issues should be on the table all of the time. I say that our elected officials have proven that they are not up to the task of multi-tasking.
Democrats and Republicans need to save the philosophizing for when they are around a campfire at the end of their session and spend the rest of their time (our time) hitting the books and getting to work.
[Michael Boylan is sports editor of The Citizen.]