I have friends who are liberal, I have friends who are conservative, and I have friends who are not politically inclined either way until they are personally affected.
The WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me syndrome is our human nature. Even those that claim to be liberal or conservative for the common good are still going to be influenced by WIIFM on certain issues that affect them personally.
But aside from the WIIFM syndrome, we have extremists who seem to get all the attention for all the noise they make.
My definition of extremists is a person or group who are so passionate about a single issue or group of issues that they are unwilling to listen to and understand opposing viewpoints.
I’m not saying you have to agree with opposing viewpoints, but unless you understand them, how can you be against them?
Saturday there was a tragic event in Arizona where a 3 term Democratic Congresswoman was shot in the head. As I write this on Sunday, 6 have died, others are in critical condition and the word is this was not a random act of violence but a targeted attempt on the Congresswoman’s life.
The buzz on Twitter and Facebook was heated as people who have strong feelings regarding everything from Gun Control, Abortion, Republicans, Democrats and nearly anything else they could possibly link to this event were spewing out angry words.
We’ve always had passion with our politics.
Go back a few hundred years and read about the battles between Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams. (Check out this story).
The majority of Americans are in the middle. We are conservative in that we don’t want our government to spend stupidly. We are liberal in that we believe everyone deserves a fair shot at claiming their version of the American Dream. We don’t like poverty, nor do we like laziness.
30 years ago cable TV was starting to spread and networks started popping up. In my house, we get 108 channels. The news channels need to fill 8,760 hours every year with something. That “something” needs to attract viewers, which attract ratings, which attracts advertisers who pay money and the channels stay on the air. That’s the way it is, with the exception of C-SPAN. This is also the business model for lots of radio talk shows.
Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Keith Oberman, Sean Hannity, and others are media extremists who need balance. In a sense they balance each other out, but most of us common folks like to listen to or watch those we agree with. And please don’t tell me that the fairness doctrine needs to be put back in place to create balance. We will still listen to those we want to, and tune out the others.
What has ignited the debates even further is the ability for the common folks to spread their voices via the internet with the growth of Social Media.
Please, I urge you to seek peace. Instead of focusing on what drives us apart, look for the issues that bring us together. You’re not going to find it in the media, or in the political talk we are exposed to. We need to actively work to find this harmony. If Bill Clinton and the Bushes can join forces for the good of the people, I know each of us can too.