Bending My Political Straw

bendy-straw-a-1I dislike politics. If you have read my blog posts here, my status posts on Facebook or Google-Plus, or listened to me on my old podcast “From the Edge of the Circle” – you are pretty well aware of that point. But its not quite the reason that a lot of people think.

The primary perspective that gets pasted onto me – much like a bad wall-papering job – is that I prefer to stick my head in the sand and ignore the political stuff. The next layer that gets added from that is that I do not understand the political scene, and therefore am not intelligent enough to manage my way through those waters. The last layer usually gets added by those looking to find a target to make – I’m painted as a Liberal or a Conservative – depending on what the view of my perceived attacker/opponent currently has. The reality is that none of these apply. Damh the Bard has a wonderful song that I like to quote – which typically leaves these vociferous “adversaries” scratching their heads quite a bit:

If you thought that we would do nothing,
You’ve misunderstood!
For we are the Sons and Daughters,
of Robin Hood!

Sons and Daughters of Robin Hood, Damh the Bard

There’s a simple point to be made here. Just because I do not participate in the endless – and in my opinion, widely useless – debates and arguments over political issues and points, does not mean that I do not understand or have an opinion on those bones of contention. A lack of vehement expression on my part does not equate to my lack of desire to participate in the support of or contention of a particular political perspective. When I do not share sharply critical memes that lambast a political party or person, this does not mean that I support the individual being lampooned or criticised. And yet, the fact that I have not participated in these measures has brought me plenty of derision from various corners. So, perhaps, its best to be a little clear on my own political perspective.

I hold very tightly to the concepts of libertarianism. To quote from Wikipedia:

Libertarianism is a set of related political philosophies that uphold liberty as the highest political end. This includes an emphasis on the primacy of individual liberty, political freedom and voluntary association.

If you were looking for the base aspect of what I believe in from a political perspective – that’s it right there. And that’s keeping it very simple. I do not associate with a political party – not even the Libertarians, where I get the base of what I believe. I have no desire to be a part of any political party. I have the capability and capacity for individual thought. I do not need a political party nor any particular individual to create my own personal definitions and understandings. I do not shill for any political party, and will only campaign for individuals running for political office if I truly believe in their causes one-hundred percent of the way. As you can imagine, I have endorsed very few candidates over the years. And I am likely to endorse even fewer going into the future. But as Damh points out in his song – if you think I am going to do nothing because of my political stance, you have sadly misunderstood what I am trying to convey here.

I do look at the backgrounds of the candidates that I vote for. I do vote in every election that is held in my district. I have the internet at my fingertips, I am an Information Professional, and I do my research on the candidates. I not only read their platforms and their political statements, but I also read how they voted on issues (for those who held previous offices). If their votes and words do not match up – I consider them to be suspect. If it does match up, I read what their stance is on issues that are important to me – and if they match mine, they get my vote. In cases where none of the candidates match my beliefs – I abstain from the vote. As an example, the current crop of candidates running for governor in the state of Texas match this statement. There’s still a lot of campaigning left to go for the candidates, so there’s still a lot of research for me left to do.

Now, I hate arguments, debates, word-battles – whatever you want to call them. For me, these are Argumentexercises of wasted time and energy. Trolling for internet debates, endless debates over trivial points…for me, none of this solves anything, except to let the combatants howl into the dark forever of the night. When the dust settles, the only thing that gets discovered is who can piss farther up the hill. Rarely have I ever seen things like this change anyone’s mind on who or how they were going to cast their ballots. This even goes for the televised debates. These are typically just red, bloody meat being fed to the adoring throngs of the two major political parties – where the members of the viewing audience spend the next few days talking about which candidate scored the better blows. If I wanted to watch something like that, I would turn on the television and subscribe to a UFC match.

As a podcaster and a blogger, I have a bully pulpit at my fingertips. Granted, I have a small number of readers, and a small number of listeners for the podcast…but I could always utilize both to broadcast my support for a politician or a cause. I try my very best not to do that. I respect the ability of people to make up their own minds on such issues. Besides, if someone asks, I will provide my opinion. But my experience has been that those inquiries are usually precursors to a desired debate. Typically, I provide my point of view, and then when challenged over it – I back away from the conversation. My words are there – there’s no need for me to defend an opinion. After all, its an opinion.

I know there will be people who are disappointed over my stance on politics. There will always be people who disagree or dislike something. Nine Hells people, we all think differently. We all come to different conclusions based on our own experiences. The last thing I want to do is spend my time trying to convince you that your experiences are wrong, and that my experiences are right. And yet, when I choose to not do so – I get roasted over the fires like a sacred cow. ::big sigh:: Well, at least I won’t wind up as part of a McDonald’s Happy Meal….

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