Why do people who aren’t going to vote for a Republican in a million years watch the Republicans’ debate?  The same question certainly applies to people who have no chance in hell of voting for a Democrat – why would you watch the debate?  We all know the routine – you watch, knowing full well that you won’t like what you will hear.  Yet you watch and then you complain loudly that you didn’t like what you heard.  Why would you submit yourself to such agony?

Yes, it’s important to know what people stand for, I guess, but we are still 14 months away from the Nov. 2016 election. But really?  Do you have to watch debates with people who won’t even be on the first ballot five months from now – in a place where you can’t even vote if you wanted to?

I think it’s the complaining that gets me.  Or rather the name calling.  I have seen several comments on social media of people labeling different presidential candidates as such wonderful things as dumb, stupid, an idiot, and evil incarnate (my personal favorite).

This reminds me of a quote that Brian Zahnd recently posted –

False religion says as long as you believe right and worship right, you can get away with treating your neighbor wrong.” – @BrianZahnd

Maybe we can alter that for politics – Politics says that as long as you believe right and vote right, you can get away with treating your opponent wrong.

This is actually a great reminder that politics is not about policy.  Shocking statement for some to hear.  Politics hasn’t been about policy for sometime now.  Instead politics is about personality and power.  The two work hand in hand.

Have you even done one of those fun quizzes that matches your beliefs with a presidential candidate.  I did one of these for fun, just to see who I would end up with.  I ended up with the top two candidates being Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders.  Seriously.  These are two candidates who couldn’t be farther apart on the role of government – one a libertarian and the other a socialist.  What does that make me?  probably somewhere in the middle.  But the reality is I don’t plan on voting for either of these candidates.  For one thing, I don’t like to vote for senators as president.  I don’t think they make good presidents.  I’ll leave my reasoning for some future blog post.

I’ll end with a few more questions and an observation.  Why are people drawn to things and people they know they don’t like?  Why do they want to allow themselves to have an emotional reaction?  Is it to feel alive?  Is it to have a feeling of self-righteous indignation?  Why all the name calling?  Do you honestly believe that the person you disagree with politically is evil and wants real harm to their fellow citizens?

How about this for a possibility – they have a different way of experiencing the world based on their own past, beliefs, etc.  Their way is different and they see different elements of truth than you do.  There is always something to learn from opposing political belief systems.  Even if you don’t agree with them.  At best, they force you to question your own beliefs of why you believe what you believe.  You may not change your mind, but I bet you can gain a new insight.  Are we too afraid to examine our own belief systems about the world?

Oh, and before I hear cries of “but the statistics and past experience show (fill in some policy idea) doesn’t work…” let me respond in advance by first quoting Mark Twain –

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

In other words, you can make either find any data you want to support your idea or you can manipulate data to make it look like you are right.

The fact of the matter that no one wants to acknowledge is that you can’t pull out one policy and determine if it is truly successful.  You can only say that it appears that this policy has this impact, but we really aren’t sure.  Tax policy is a great example of this.  There have been times of prosperity with a low tax rate and with a high tax rate.  The tax rate by itself isn’t the answer.  It’s how it interacts with a ton of other policies – things that we can’t even imagine. Policies impact and interact with other policies.

And then you have people.  People implement policies and I’m willing to bet that no policy ever created ever went as planned because people have been involved.

So, please, feel free to watch a debate from an opposing political party.  Just don’t act surprised that you don’t like what you heard.