Getting A Break To Move Beyond Politics

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Those who read the daily version of this column may note that we haven’t discussed Georgia politics at all this week.  Instead, the week has been dedicated to America’s birthday, our system of government, and each of our responsibilities that are required if we are to continue to hold out America as the world’s beacon of freedom.  The maintenance of freedom is not a passive act.  It requires action and vigilance on all of our parts.

This week was a bit of a needed break, as there were barely scarce references to modern politics.  Today will not be different, save for the theme will be flipped a bit.  Today’s column is not aimed at the politically indifferent, but for the political junkies that would be reading political news on a Friday afternoon at the end of a long holiday week.

Sometimes breaks are needed to regain perspective.  They help separate the important and consequential from the routine and the trivial. Much of our everyday lives are spent in complete reaction to an overwhelming and unlimited amount of data and stimulus.   We spend much of our time simply reacting and getting through.

For those of us that spend a disproportionate share of time around politics, it is easy to be enveloped by a bubble that consumes much of our thoughts and actions.  Many of us socialize with other friends who are political.  Much of our communications are within the same spheres of influence.  Over time, what we are thinking becomes a conscious or subconscious product of the day’s political news and actions.

For too many, government becomes a way of life – even for the ones who are constantly running or railing against it.  A political action becomes the response to every situation.  Talk radio and/or cable news are there to confirm our every belief, reinforce our fears, and pit us against our fellow countrymen as if politics were sport, and as if the infotainment we consume was actionable intelligence.

And then, when we do get a true break – often over a holiday with relatives or when catching up with long lost friends – it is those of us who are political who have a difficult time coming out of the bubble.  Small talk is strained, as all of these people we have spent our time trying to “help” are oblivious to the nuances of tax policy, transportation improvement plans, or our foreign policy in Syria. 

They instead appear more concerned with their kid’s soccer program or the quality of their schools, how to make the next payment to an orthodontist, or what kind of grass treatment they need to be putting on their lawn during 100+ degree heat.  And we listen to their trivial problems and wonder why they just don’t get it.

And it should be at that point, for those of us who live in and around politics, that it dawns on us that it isn’t them who doesn’t get it.  Many of us who want to get government out of our lives as much as possible spend so much time around government or listening to talking heads rail about government that we forget to live the lives we have without constantly obsessing about government.

Holidays are great for much needed breaks.  Holidays away from politics are needed for the same reason.  Real conversations with people who aren’t involved in the system are the best way to determine what the real problems are with government, or where government action could be of help.

When having these conversations, it’s best to be quiet and listen.  Those who don’t “do politics” often have a better handle on the real problems and the potential solutions than those of us who live in a world of consultants and pundits.  Listening to answers and not offering pre-determined solutions would serve all of us in the bubble much better if we tried it more often.

I’ve enjoyed the holiday, and I hope you’ve enjoyed yours.  We’ll be back with Georgia political news next week on our regular schedule.  

 

19 comments

  1. ieee says:

    Let’s celebrate our liberties shrinking every day. We have more laws today than ever before. How much is too much? Do the people who support these huge nanny governments ever get tired of trying to tell other people what to do?

    The BS SEX OFFENDER Registries need to end today. If they don’t, when are we going to get the rest of the Registries? There are no legitimate reasons to have SEX OFFENDER Registries and not have hundreds of other types of Registries. And when those other Registries get created, they need to use the SEX OFFENDER Registries as a model starting point and include all the idiotic adjunct laws that those Registries have enabled and promoted.

    The Registries, and especially the adjunct laws, are unnecessarily and negligibly beneficial. Which wouldn’t be so bad except that they are much worse than nearly worthless. Just as all experts have constantly said, they are counterproductive. That alone would be enough for people with brains to end them. But they are also immoral, un-American, anti-factual, often idiotic, expensive, diversionary, and often illegal. There is not a single good American who supports them. So, are you going to believe the liars and the uninformed who support the Registries or do some research?

    For the people who support the Registries: pay more taxes and don’t complain about it.

  2. Bridget says:

    Sigh :/ I’m reading Peach Pundit from a resort in Costa Rica. And with that, I’m shutting down my computer…

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

    • A friend of ours just got back from Costa Rica and just brought over the bottle of Cacique Guaro not 10 minutes ago that she got for us. Contemplating what to make with it… after all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right? 🙂

  3. sunkawakan says:

    Enjoy your vacation, Bridget.

    As a traditional liberal elitist, I prefer to use the more descriptive “Independence Day” rather than the colloquial “Fourth of July” to describe the holiday.

    It seems to me this is akin to calling Christmas “Twenty-fifth of December,” or Easter as “First Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox.”

    LOL. I’m off to celebrate the anniversary of the retrial verdict acquitting Jeanne d’Arc of heresy.

  4. Lawton Sack says:

    It is easy to get caught up in all sorts of things in life, from sports to politics to work to school. It is always a healthy practice to take a step back from time to time. This allows us an opportunity to examine what your priorities really should be and to make any necessary adjustments to re-focus things in life. I was once a die-hard sports fan, until I realized one day that my life was not different because a certain team won or lost. I still am a sports fan, but it no longer consumes me.

    I have also found that it is important to not isolate yourself from people that have differing views from yourself. You can still maintain your core principles but still take time to listen to another person’s viewpoint. Surprisingly, we may actually learn something from them.

    • saltycracker says:

      This is the 21st century, don’t go all open minded & logical here.The masses have the option to avoid that tedious task of listening, reading, researching while feeling all alone, thanks to the informational age of the internet and entertainment news. We are in data overload and “simplify” our lives to cope & feel ok.

      Even the most illogical idea can find plenty of like minded support just googling around. Few work with probabilities and many conclude you can die from a lightening strike as easily as walking down the middle of the interstate in rush hour.
      As the ad says 99.9% probability now means, you don’t really know. Opinion dismissed.
      Yahoo !

      You need go no further than PP where outrageous opinions are expressed, outrageous behavior of the elected is condoned (if they vote our way) and the sound debatable issues gain very little change.

  5. ieee says:

    Frederick Douglas said, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”

    While many of you apparently wanted to take a break from holding out “America as the world’s beacon of freedom”, I feel it is not much of a leader in that area and no break is warranted. It is certainly much, much better than most countries but it is not near the top either.

    The U.S. has a long, sordid history of a majority of its citizens doing stupid, hateful, and useless things to some hated minority of the moment. The current U.S. witch hunt is just another example of it. The people who support it are not just bad Americans, they are terrorists who cannot leave other people alone. The politicians who promote it are criminals.

    Georgia legislators will surely want to address the federal P.O.S. Adam Walsh Act soon. Perhaps before or as they do that, they should also consider all the other Registries that are justified and get those created first, along with all the adjunct laws (e.g. “residency restrictions”) that should go with them. Or do Georgia legislators really think that people who shoot other people are not dangerous? How about people who only point guns at people? Won’t someone please think of the children?

    • Harry says:

      Good comments overall, although I do maintain we need to register and track sex offenders.

      • ieee says:

        Well, Registering and tracking “sex offenders” does not prevent crimes and worse, it is counterproductive. I expect you understand that means that more sex crimes are committed because the Registries exist than would if they did not exist. That is what experts say and I personally know it is true, but I would encourage you to do some research if you doubt it. Don’t support something just because it sounds good or makes you feel good.

        Being counterproductive would be bad enough but the overall witch hunt has heaped huge problems upon the U.S. So, there may be some “need” to register and track “sex offenders” but I surely don’t recognize it. Further, is that not what probation/parole does far, far better than any Registry could ever hope to?

        I do have to admit that if 1) we U.S. citizens were responsible enough to have Registries just so that we could all be “informed”, 2) the information was collected and maintained solely by the governments, and 3) there were no responsibilities of the people being Registered at all (and thus could not be arrested), then the Registries could probably exist peacefully and not be immoral and un-American. But that wouldn’t be any fun, right?

        Lastly, we must get the other Registries created. There is absolutely no valid excuse that we Register child molesters who are easily rendered quite unthreatening and safe and we do not Register career criminals who will lethally harm people. So Harry, we can surely all assume that you support Registries for all people who have ever been convicted of harming other people. Let’s all get those Registries created. Yesterday.

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