I just finished reading an article over Air America Radio filing for bankruptcy. I did not expect readers to analyze this information in the context of a general reduction of audiences for this particular media, after all, Air America was planned from its inception as a platform for liberals to communicate their message and counter the influence of conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh who had dominated the air waves for many years and helped put George W Bush into the White House. So, with the November elections just around the corners I expect this articles to generate sparkles and some productive political debate.
I was wrong, dead wrong. Sure there were sparkles, the animosity between liberals and conservatives is at its high, but there was no debate, no debate at all. Don’t get me wrong, the usual issues about the War in Irak, the honesty of the President, the need for a strong leader in a period of war and the price of gas were all risen, but the debate was shallow.
What I do not understand is how Americans can be so divided, when both sides are so alike. Doesn’t everyone realize that there is a consensus on most major issues? Both parties want lower taxes, better security, lower gas prices, etc. and the proposed solutions are almost similar. So, basically Americans are arguing about leadership, not ideas. Most Americans despise the French but in France at least there is some true political going on. Right and Left do actually have some meaning (and I am not talking about the right to wear a gun or discussing if Evolution is science or a theory). This is good because political discussions get deeper and more interesting.
Political correctness has limited the debate to minor topics. The only reason most Americans will likely vote Democrat next month is because they do not like the way the Irak war is unraveling, not because you were against it in the first place. That could have been a good opportunity for debate, but since it is politically incorrect not to support the President in times of war, almost no one questioned George W Bush decisions. When it became clear that Iraq had no WMDs, the debate could have shifted to the possibility of bringing the troops home. However, that couldn’t be discussed either because it could embolden terrorists and endanger the soldiers. Finally, when the Abu Ghraib prison scandal surfaced, the politically correct media was quick to mention that this should not be used to criticize the military because that would be un-American. So, what can be discussed in American Politics? Gas price? No wonder all news channels spend so much time discussing this incredibly important topic, even if Americans pay less for their gas than any other developed country.
It is clear to me that political correctness limits liberty, because even if you are allowed to say things that are politically incorrect, you will find yourself quickly labeled as an extremist. However, even if people decide to stay within the narrow margins set by the political correctness rules, the are many subjects which deserve discussion. My goal here is not to enumerate all the possible topics that could be debated in American Politics, just to demonstrate that there are more interesting and relevant subjects than the price of oil.
Take for example the Constitution. It was written over 200 years ago. Does it need to be rewritten? For many, this is a ridiculous question, the Constitution has served the U.S. well. However, there are many things that I do not like about the U.S. Constitution. The people of the United States (the same ones mentioned in “We the people…”) actually never got to vote on the subjects of slavery and child labor. The decision to eliminate these abominable practices were taken by the Supreme Court, nine judges who supposedly interpret the meaning of the Constitution but in reality take political decisions without asking the People. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Constitution that explicitly prohibits child labor and have that Constitution approved by the American citizens? I think so. I believe that Americans would feel better knowing that it was the People who declared slavery illegal instead of nine judges who have not been directly elected.
So, wake up, there are many interesting and important debates in Politics. Things can change. Everything should be open to debate. Use your liberty and democracy to discuss real issues not just management styles and results. Finally, respect those who think different, they may not be morons and you can probably learn something from them.