What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

03 July 2013

I Promised Myself I Would Stay Out of This. Oh, Well...

I’m not really into politics, public controversies make me itch, and heated disagreements in the comments sections all over the internet make me despair for the future of the human race. And don’t even get me started on most trending topics on Twitter.

And yet, for all that, I’ve decided to put my two cents into this little contretemps. You may have noticed that Texas has been in the news a bit this last week, which is of course due to our warm climate, abundant tourist spots, and friendly people. Oh, and maybe because of an abortion bill in the Texas Legislature.

There was a time, for about 30 seconds 10 days ago, when I thought that maybe Texas’ governing body was going to have a sensible discussion about this bill and its realities for Texas. I thought that just maybe some sort of agreement could be reached that perhaps neither side would regard as perfect, but that we could all move forward with. Maybe this time.

Texas Tribune's photo of the Texas
Capitol Rotunda during the debate/
filibuster on June 25.
Yeah. That nice fantasy didn’t last long. The debate has broken down to people trading insults—in person and on the internet—and it isn’t limited to protesters on both sides. Our legislators and our members of Congress are trading barbs on Twitter, and it’s not pretty. I don’t know how everyone else feels about this, but I was hoping for a bit more dignity from elected officials than using the same name-calling on social media that the protesters are using. (I don’t care who started it. I don’t even believe that someone “started it”. Everyone’s doing it, and the whole “I didn’t go negative first!” thing is hardly a good defence. You can always stop yourself.)

I imagine this will end the way the party in power in Texas wants it to end—the bill will become law, and we’ll all get to see what happens next. But there are unintended consequences of this debacle debate: Friends becoming not-friends (I can’t be the only one thinking of culling my Facebook list right now), some elected officials becoming superstars, others losing their seats in the next election over this one issue regardless of how much they’ve served their districts otherwise, and who knows what else. How long will those side effects stick around?

Seriously, I’m tired of our laws, of our nation, being a zero-sum game. Can we please get our act together? Maybe find a better way? Or at least refrain from showing off how horrible people can be just because they disagree?

(You'll notice I didn't give you my opinion here. That's because—and I know I'm in the minority here—I believe my readers can come to their own conclusions without a blogger ranting at them. Incidentally, that comment section down there? Keep it clean and civil, or be deleted.)


Anonymous said...

A touchy subject for sure. Everyone seems to think that their opinion is the correct one....and it is, for THEM.

Su Wilcox said...

Exactly. And the emotions are running so rampant. I don't know if there's a way back.

Chadwick said...

Unintended consequences is a politically correct way of seeing the same events that are aptly described with "pride comes before the fall."

But, change the way we talk about it and it makes people feel like there is something different going on. It would be nice if we were all able to get to the heart of the issue instead of hiding behind our language.

Our culture does that for us well. Double entendre is how we like to communicate in this culture, but we really only have one intent. Soon we believe we actually have the intent our language is hiding and we don't.

The only way we will all be able to have our ideas and have them all be accepted as equally valid is if they don't contradict each other and the only way to do that is to be extremely specific. So specific that the real size of our ideas can be seen, instead of trying to make them seem so huge.

I'm not trying to rant, just trying to consider what this means. ;)

Courtney said...

Hear! Hear!

We are all honored citizens, standing for RIGHTS. Abusing other rights in the process and demeaning others is a true reflection upon yourself.

Several sayings come to mind, but I think the most relevant is that the Texas government is cutting off its nose to spite its face.

I have been seeking change in Texas politics for a long time, and I am glad to sense that it is coming, but at what cost? We have sacrificed our dignity, and wasn't that what we were all fighting for in the first place?

Throwing the baby (in this instance, somewhat literally) out with the bathwater (in this case, your standards, self-respect, and dignity), doesn't produce any benefit to the cause you are fighting for.

There is a benefit however, by alienating yourself from your constituency and demeaning yourself to the level of school yard children goes a long way toward helping your opponent in the next election, and for that I am grateful.

I have only seldom been ashamed to be a Texan, and today is one of those days.

Su Wilcox said...

Well said, both of you.

J E Oneil said...

Very well said! I just wish the people who so desperately need to read it would.

The whole point of politics seems to be to make it an us-versus-them mentality, something popular in middle school. And to be truthful, I think the whole point of the internet is also to behave like a child, so when you combine the two things, it gets quite bad.

Su Wilcox said...

Yep. When you start breaking every freaking thing down to ingroup/outgroup, us v them, and so on, people just dig in. And then nothing gets done. To wit: Congress. :(