Quite a few people on my Facebook have been filling my feed with political posts, generally from some news source. He said this, she did that, and as startling and sad as it the posts are, it's still nothing new. The only president who may or may not have had these problems was the first president, and I'm certain some people took issue with George then. It's hard not to post updates now, with election year here and present, but that's certainly not a problem. Staying up to date is never a bad thing. No, I have a problem with other matters.
To me, politics has become a name calling, poking each other with sticks, and speaking anything the people want to hear campaign. It's the only time that slander is allowed freely and out in the public: it's on the airwaves, your television set, on billboards and emails. The news networks get ugly and say things about their fellow human beings that would make them horrified if the tone and words were thrown back on them. It's sad, it's monstrous, and frankly, I don't see the point to debasing the other side. How does that make you look?
Still, I'll admit to having posted on my timeline a few articles that made me go, "What the ever loving duck?" I've posted, I've commented, I've gotten in on the politics game. I'm an American: the future of our country concerns me, and this campaign is all about whose hands our country will wind up in. The latest craze is Mitt Romney and his spokesman Eric Ferhnstrom who described Romney's campaign as an Etch-A-Sketch
, meaning that once Romney clinches the GOP nomination, he can change his stance as quickly as shaking an Etch-A-Sketch to clear it. Which, of course, has led everyone to quickly point out that a man who can so quickly change his views and stance isn't one who's reliable. It's all over my Facebook from my friends. Despite his latest state win, Romney's now under fire, again.
While this is frightening - and a tad bit humorous, considering now all I can see is a guy dressed like an Etch-a-Sketch getting turned upside down and shaken - what concerns me the most is not Romney, or Obama, or Gingrich or Santorum or Paul or any of the other candidates that the GOP may toss in at the convention. No, what concerns me is how the game is played, in particular for the next generation. The kids, the next in line voters, the youth of the nation. Recent studies from the Kaiser foundation show that children ages 8-18 spend, on average, more than 53 hours a week
watching media in some fashion. iPad, TV, online, it's all in there. That's more hours than an average work week. And I guarantee you that this stuff about politics is crossing their eyes more than once. This is what they're watching.
Their parents may not talk to them about it, but they still know what politics are, to an extent, from those same parents. One of my students brought up how she doesn't like Obama. When I asked her why, she just shrugged. Her parents said they hate Obama, so naturally she follows in their footsteps. She's a bright girl, thinks for herself, is obnoxious and funny and a sweet kid, but without any real reason, she hates our president, because her parents do. The amount of power that parents hold over their kids is astounding. These kids might not obey all the time, but they do listen, and it's not always in one ear, out the other.
We try to teach our kids not to be mean to other kids, to do right by others, to not bully and pick on and say bad things about others. We try to teach them tolerance, patience, kindness. This isn't just a Golden Rule or the Rule of Three or Karma, either: these values have nothing to do with religion. These rules are fundamental rules we want them to emulate, to carry with them as they go through life. These are basic, "Be a good human being," rules we want them to take to school, to a future job, to a future family. These are important
Then the politics and the news stations come on. Romney bashes on Santorum. Santorum says evil things about Obama. Obama disses on Gingrich, and around it goes. These are the things our kids are viewing, these men that hold high levels in our government before they even run for president. These are congressmen, senators, our current president. They slander and bully each other and say the vilest things you can, all to make themselves look better. And what does it teach our generation that's priming to go to the polls?
To be honest, politics has become a 'vote for the lesser evil' for me every time the polls come around. It shouldn't be that way. I understand fully that no man - or woman - is perfect. Obama is not perfect. Romney is not perfect. The people that work for them are certainly not perfect. They do, however, try their best to represent America in a strong fashion. At least, they're supposed to. For their good efforts with America in mind, I thank them. For those who are playing bullies on America's playground, I have nothing but contempt. How am I supposed to respect someone whose prime way to the top is to discredit someone else?
To whomever our next president is, I wish them the best of luck. It's not a position I want. I hope one of your interests is for our next generation, and I hope you lead them by good example, that you show them that you can be better than your ad campaigns have proven. Some of these children will be voters by the next election, and what you say now will make a difference. Your seeds that have been sown will
Until then, I'll keep reading the news feeds and watching the politicians play what essentially boils down to Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots.