Monday, September 22, 2014

Money and Politics

My mother, who is now 99 years old, has been a Republican for most or all of her adult life.  Now that she is no longer able to take care of her own finances and is residing in a nursing home, all of the mail that used to be delivered to her former residences has been sent to me, since I pay her bills.  This includes the mail sent to her by the Republican Party.  At first, I tried to tell them to take her off of their lists, but this just seemed to encourage them.  I got more mail and phone calls wanting her support for Republican candidates and the Republican party in general.

I, on the other hand, am very liberal.  Back in my college days, I protested the war in Vietnam, even though my brother served there, and I supported the civil rights initiatives and women's liberation.  Until recently, I considered myself independent, because I am not much of a joiner, but I have been startled by the politics of the Republicans, and have recently become a Democrat.

As a result, I have, in the last month or so, gotten questionnaires from both political parties and other groups on both sides and have found it very interesting.  The questionnaires for both sides claim that they want you to return them, even if you don't send a contribution, but the wording of the questions is so slanted that it cannot be true that they are really interested in the answers.  When all of the answers favoring "their side" have positively worded phrasing and all of the potential answers that might be for the "other side" are negatively charged, you know they are just trying to get you to agree with them - and send money. Both sides are guilty.  The only thing they are really interested in is your money.

It is discouraging to me that this is the level of discourse relating to the very important task of governing the United States.  We don't talk fairly or in depth about issues, we just slant everything our way and try to trump up more fear of the other side.  And it works.  I am as polarized as anyone.  I almost automatically reject with suspicion anything proposed by the "other side".   Personally, given the very real laws passed by Republican state legislatures, I feel my suspicions are completely justified.  I just wish that I counted, even if I don't have money to give. 

Thus, I say to both parties and to anyone else with a political agenda:  if you really want my opinion, you have to send me a questionnaire that absolutely does NOT ask for money at the end of it.  And, it would be great if you actually had reasonable answers that might differ slightly from the party line.  Or, even leave room for real answers from the people you are questioning.  I know it is your job to keep asking for money, but I don't make much money and I can't support all the causes I would like to. But I do have significant ideas.

It is a shame that only money talks. 

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