Emerald Specter 21: Being Lured In

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I’m still moving steadily forward with my column per week, though this one is the one closest written to when it’s supposed to be released. The others had at least a week, if not a little more, of time before being posted. Usually what happens at this point is that I’ll let the pattern lapse and there would be a period of no writing before I restart the effort again. I’m going to try writing through November and a week or two into December so I can participate in NaNoWriMo this year, because I’d really like to be writing full time and making money from it, so this is something I can’t really let go.

Enough of that, let’s get to the topic of the day.

Politics.

Yeah, I can feel the shutter already. I’m not going to talk about the right side, left side, wrong side, or the side that just plain can’t see past it’s nose. I’m going to talk about the people who follow politics casually, who try to get you involved in conversations just so they can argue.

Yes, those people do exist.

I’ve recently been involved with a Facebook post that was talking about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The conversation was smoothly talking about that, how the ones left protesting are the people who do this as a living, probably getting paid by fringe environmental groups, ruining the whole true meaning of what was being protested by doing some sort of stunt to just get publicity and be vilified as martyrs. These people are not martyrs, they’re nut jobs.

The conversation was hijacked by someone who posted that the paid protestors are probably being paid just like the Black Lives Matter group and Trump rally protestors were. I stated that I was no longer going to participate in the conversation because it had been politicized, that person replied with the statement the DAP was already political, and a clarified that while political they’d drug the heated topics of race relations and unsubstantiated protest payments into the mix.

This person was blatantly just trying to stir up an argument to support their believe that Donald Trump is the best person for the President of the United States.

I run into this type of thing a lot, actually. A conversation that has light tones of philosophical discussions and then in bursts “that guy” who just has to point fingers and stir up an argument because how could anyone see why they aren’t 100% correct. Well, let’s go to another conversation I was recently in on Facebook.

A friend of a friend of a friend apparently posted a Tea Party page image requesting we all produce IDs to vote, insinuating that voter fraud is running amuck in the USA. I pointed out that out of one billion votes cast, only 31 instances of proven voter fraud existed and that the real problem was actually voter suppression, which the ID law would be propagating. I have friends who are die hard Conservatives, die hard Republicans, and die hard believers in what they think is puritanical religious (i.e. Christian) national beliefs… and then there are the extreme versions of those people, who are members of the sub group “Tea Party.” Their arguments are normally just bullet points, pushed out to their loudest supporters, to stir up argument and hoping that people will see their “rose colored” version of the world.

Someone reading this column might be looking at everything I’ve posted and see that I may be Liberal, Democrat, or left wing in general. I’m in the center, but if you’re an invested member of either wing, I look like I’m a member of the opposite of what you believe. This is what I like to call “division in America,” where most believe you’re either with them or against them. There IS a middle ground, folks.

One of my friends professes to be a middle grounder, but often posts anti-Clinton stuff in great frequency. I’ve known this guy for some time (we’ve never physically met) and I understand that he’s really just worried that allowing a corrupt, career politician at that highest office in the land is a dangerous thing. He’s also worried about letting an unqualified, hot tempered man-child near that same office… so he’s voting Libertarian, which gives Gary Johnson one guaranteed vote. When the election is over, we’ll go back to being just friends and politics won’t be involved in our discussions until the next election ramps up.

I am trying, really trying, to give up on discussing politics and religion with people. Those topics are almost always inflammatory and almost always end up in an argument. After this election, I’m putting my foot down on myself and following through. But before that happens, let me just drop some words and let this column wrap.

Religious conversation usually ends up being a Christian trying to force feed their belief system down everyone else’s throats, regardless of the protest. I left Christianity, so why in the holy hell would I want to go back? The Bible is “truth” to its followers, yet if that is “truth” then Stephen King’s IT is also truth… because you can’t prove anything in that damn book… truth is fact, facts can be proven. Until you can prove what is in the Bible, stop trying to convert me with a work of fiction.

Politically speaking, if you are a Trump supporter and are so far into the right wing line of thinking that you can’t see your candidate is a dangerous, unhinged, and hot-headed adolescent that he’ll likely start World War III, then you need to step back and evaluate exactly what it is you believe in. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid and think for a second. When have the Republicans ever made government smaller? When has the tax cuts ever lowered the national debt? When has big business getting tax breaks ever resulted in millions of jobs created? Never is the answer. I defy you to prove me wrong.

On the other side, if you’re a Clinton supporter and are so far left wing line of thinking that you can’t see your candidate is exactly the career politician who takes money from special interests, will continue the sad line of corruption that has led the country to this terrible position, and is just as likely to start some sort of horrific war then you need to step back and examine what you actually believe in? When have Democrats ever done anything but raise the national debt? When have redistributing wealth ever resulted in anything positive? When has any of the promises they make contrary to Republicans ever come true? Never is the answer and I again defy you to prove me wrong.

Pull your head out of your ass if you’re on an extreme. Is either candidate a great choice? No. Did we, as a nation, put these two options up as the best of the pack? Yes, we did. Does complaining that these options suck get anything to change? No. Suck it up and decide what you really, ACTUALLY, believe in. Are you someone who calls themselves Conservative, despite fully supporting wildly out of control spending on things the USA doesn’t really need money spent on just for the sake of spending it? (That, by the way, is the antithesis of Conservative.) Are you someone who calls themselves a Liberal, despite making sure no one is offended and miring the USA in a bureaucratic hell making sure that your overly social agenda isn’t going to make anyone mad? (That, too, is the antithesis of Liberal.)

Sermon ended. Think on it.