A Change of the Debate
The condition of contemporary political dialogue is disgraceful. Rather than debating the issues, American media figures, politicians, and commentators repeat old arguments and report valueless stories. For example, no less than 8,826 news stories were written on our nation’s (so-called) “beer summit.” To be frank, who cares? Is it uplifting? No. Is it encouraging? No. Is it intellectually stimulating? No. Does it matter beyond the clicking of cameras? No.
The political debate today should not be commenced with insults (Obama, “stupid”), race baiting (Professor Gates), or unwarranted accusations (Glenn Beck, Obama is “a racist”). That’s not debate. That’s diatribe.
A Change of the Motive
Essentially, Republicans want you to vote Republican and Democrats want you to vote Democrat. There you have it, that’s the motive. That, however, is the wrong motive. Remember, why do we debate? Ostensibly to determine the best solution. But if ultimately the debate is motivated by party-politics, the actual purpose for debate is negated.
A Change of the Presentation
Television news is a beauty pageant. Talk radio is a shock-jock contest. Blogging is an unending competition between party-liners and ignoramuses. We don’t need the prettiest face in America to report our news. We need the most articulate, intelligent, and proficient individual. We don’t need hate and the party-line to be constantly propagated by the radio waves. We need the facts, the truth, and the solution. We don’t need ignorance and insults to populate the internet. We need reason, principle, and intelligence to be king.
A Change of the Politics
Think of obesity. It is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. Among Americans it is an epidemic. But is it a hot political issue (as it should be)? Of course not. Why should it be, when we can listen to David Letterman make off-color jokes about Sarah Palin’s son who suffers from Down Syndrome?
Think of the environment. Republicans and Democrats disagree over the interpretation of science. Who cares? There are so many other ways that we can protect the environment. Think of recycling, conservation, elimination of hazardous chemicals, compost piles, electronic document conversion, telecommuting, vanpools, solar powered water heaters, the list does not end.
Think of our broken public school system. Think of the potential of school choice. This should not be a political issue. Charter schools. Home schools. Private schools. Religious schools. Statistically all of these outperform their public counterparts. The numbers don’t lie. It is nothing short of hypocrisy to declare support for “progressivism” on the one hand and defend a broken system on the other.
Think of social justice. Our system of foreign aid must be revamped. Rather than making developing countries dependent on American foreign aid, we should concentrate it in areas where it permanently changes entire countries and makes future American aid unnecessary. By spreading American solutions to poor African and Asian countries and encouraging entrepreneurship this can be accomplished.
A Change of the Terms
Both Conservatism and Progressivism are inaccurate ideological descriptions. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Conservative as “a tendency to preserve or keep intact or unchanged.” It is the acme of arrogance to blindly believe the principles, policies, and beliefs of the past are intrinsically better than contemporary beliefs. This is not to disregard the canon of history. Nay, this is to accept the great truth of history””that man is not perfect””and that man must always strive towards the high standard of truth, righteousness, and love.
The same is true of Progressivism. Progress is an empty and unaccountable standard. It can be good or bad. To make decisions in the name of progress is to err. An underlining philosophy must inform progress.
A Change of the Argument
Unbeknownst to many, policy discussions are not simply emotional appeals. There is such thing as history, precedent, philosophy, literature, myth, science, and natural law. Debates should be, and must be, informed by a holistic intellectual approach.
A Change of the Conclusion
The situation in America must change””if it does not””the results will be dire. That much is clear. We must look to the past for the purpose of securing our nation a better future. We must reexamine old ideals, principles, and practices. Today, we proudly proclaim our avant-garde status. But we forget our heritage. We forget history. Jerusalem. Athens. Rome. London. These four cities shaped the American tradition. To ignore the wisdom of the ages is akin to gouging out our nation’s collective eyes.
How Can You be a Catalyst for Change?
Here are some suggestions.
“¢ Turn off the television, end your cable subscription.
“¢ Unsubscribe from your daily newspaper.
“¢ Call talk radio and express your views.
“¢ Write a letter to the editor.
“¢ Don’t let yourself be defined as “progressive,” “Conservative,” “Republican,” or “Democrat.” Recognize that men are in many ways existential.
“¢ Vote according to principle and reason. Not based on party.
“¢ Live what you believe. Believe what you live.
“¢ Read. Research. Remember.
“¢ What’s your suggestion?