Let’s demand more from ourselves and those we elect
By Dr. Robert D. Argyelan
I guess I’m getting old. I remember when we argued issues and not the validity of rhetoric; when there was nobility in debate and no hatred in content; when process was about jointly creating positive outcomes rather than character assassination; when respect and civility were expected rather than the rare occurrence; and when statesmanship was something we admired rather than something no longer found among those who profess to be leaders.
Maybe I find myself now more disappointed than hopeful; tired by venomous remarks whose purpose is to hurt and politically wound; beaten down by deceitful misinformation whose purpose is to confuse and obfuscate truth; and lost by an abandonment of pride both nationally and on the part of individuals who no longer embrace altruism.
I think we cling to being a Republican or a Democrat because we maintain a bygone sense of ideals and values that may not be applicable to today’s partisanship. Yet growing more tired of what seems mean-spirited pettiness among all elected leadership — including local, state, and federal politicians — and doing little to bring sanity to the proceedings, perhaps we are at fault in allowing it to prosper.
Maybe the only way it is changed is through how we vote — not along party lines, but rather for individuals who express positive ideas through civil discourse and regardless of their party affiliation. Maybe what we need is a revolution that sends a message of what we expect rather than sitting idly only to be told what we will be given.
We need individual change that is more about not participating in the decay of civility and morality than we do dogmatic change.
How many of us have posted anti-Obama or anti-Romney barbs, mocked a politician simply because of her/his party affiliation, or joined in the chorus of demeaning an individual because of partisan thinking? Government, corrupt with the desire to control, has forgotten its role to pass law that benefits the people of this land and has replaced that role with ugliness, incivility, selfishness, greed, and the type of ignorance that is based on the distortion of truth in order to gain advantage.
So much hate, blindness, and vitriol has become commonplace, only to serve as a platform from which any of us can find ourselves reciting unfounded statements, half-truths, and character-incriminating remarks. But it’s our choice to participate in such political folly just as it can be our choice to instead demand more from ourselves and those who would hope to be elected leaders. Indeed, I guess I’m getting old.
Dr. Robert D. Argyelan is a Ramona resident.
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