On Thursday night I hit a weird emotional point. Scrolling through Twitter earlier that day, I was done. The headlines were negative, the tweets were void of respect, and I started to realize the kind of system I have allowed myself to get involved with.
In 11th grade, I had a government teacher who used to be a Houston police officer. He spent years arresting the worst of society like criminals, druggies, and abusers. He eventually got tired of only seeing the negative side of society so he became a teacher because he wanted to be around good kids who are just trying to learn.
That story inspires me because it’s a situation that I now find myself understanding. Granted, I’m not dealing with violent criminals on the daily, but I and many of my fellow politicos have to deal with a level of tension and frustration that I think is bringing this country to the brink.
I became obsessed with politics when I was 13. The 2008 election was in full swing and my eye balls were glued to the television. I remember watching the debates, learning about the parties, and even considering a future run for office (oh sweet, young naivety).
Since then, I have become more involved through my occasional activism, my writing, my commentary on my podcast, and my hobby of making fun of politicians and policies from both parties (I consider myself an equal-opportunity H8er).
But as I’ve become more involved, my eyes have been opened wider and wider by what is going on in this country and world. Personal politics aside, I believe we’ve lost our ability to be respectful, compassionate, and understanding of each other.
I like to believe that people are inherently good, but that is a belief that is hard to maintain in politics.
If you’re an active conservative, you’re surrounded by a dangerous hatred for the left. If you’re an active liberal, you are exposed to a dangerous hatred for the right. And if you’re an independent, well, you probably hate both sides. I’ve heard Republicans tell me that democrats are pieces of crap who worship Satan. And I’ve heard Democrats tell me that Republicans are a waste of space and should be put in a mental hospital. Can you feel the love?
Because of the state of politics today, I have (almost completely) burned out.
Talk to my friends and you’ll discover that I’ve been plotting some changes. On the extreme side, I think I could maybe move to the UK for a year or so. On the lesser extreme side, I’ve contemplated scaling back my involvement in media.
As I wrote in my cover story for OUTSET, the problems that we face as a country is not a liberal or conservative issues. The problems we face as a country were created, and continue to be created, by both sides.
The root of our problems is that we are more focused on our own agendas than we are on our uniting American principles.
On my side, Team Conservative™, we like to lay claim to “traditional American values.” Many conservatives believe that our founders would have been Republicans (I’ve heard it said many times). But our American principles are not the property of any one party or ideology — they belong to all of us.
Principles like individual liberty, equality, government for and by the people, American exceptionalism, and the rule of law belong to Americans of all races, genders, sexualities, religious beliefs, and backgrounds.
Democrats are throwing away American principles for a liberal agenda.
Republicans are throwing away American principles for a conservative agenda.
I refuse to throw away American principles in favor of an agenda.
At this time in our country’s history, albeit the history of the world, a significant change has to happen that shifts our energy away from our own agendas and towards an agenda of mutual respect, understanding, and liberty, for all. If that change does not happen, America and its fellow nations of the world will follow the path of all other great civilizations.