Politically Neutral Analysis – The New Normal
It’s the beginning of October and we are only weeks away from the 2020 presidential elections, but it is hard for me as a leader in the community to voice my opinion about our two candidates without confrontation. These days as soon as you voice a political opinion about anything, even from a politically neutral standpoint, you are attacked by the “opposing party”. Not even the “opposing opinion” just an attack by anyone who supports the “other candidate”. Even so, I do have the right to have my own voice and my own opinions. But, to share them with the outside public really only subjects me to ridicule and attack.
So now when anyone asked me what my opinion is on a political issue or even who I am voting for in both local and national political campaigns, I simply withdraw from the conversation or change the topic. While my nomination as a model citizen and continuous contributions as a columnist to Model Citizens Magazine has given me a voice, it has also subjected me to ridicule, just like with my radio show, The Diversity Project. So all in all, staying on the safe side in a polarized political world, or being “Politically Neutral” as Model Citizens Magazine publisher John Dowling Jr. likes to put it, is a safe place to reside.
While it is somewhat heartbreaking to admit that, I do have friends and business colleagues on both sides of the political divide. As a politically polarized society, there is a new cold war in the making, and I am not referring to the one between the US and China which has been brewing for decades now, I am referring to the cold war that exists now right here in America between the far left and the far right politically. To most anyone regardless of political affiliation or how moderate or liberal you are, we all recognize that as a country we are on two extremes of the spectrum. You are either ultra-conservative or a socialist. There is no more middle of the road liberal republicans or conservative democrats. We are in a political world where you are either with us on our entire political agenda, or you are the enemy, with them, the opposing party.
We all should really stop and take hold of the fact that in this election cycle yet another seat in the Supreme Court is up for grabs, and it will determine just how far left or right our country goes for decades in the judiciary. The same polarization that is occurring in our society, with our politicians, and with us all, is also now expected to be represented in the Supreme Court. As I am sure you will agree, even judicial choices are based on political affiliations. Again, this is a full-blown cold war between the two parties.
This election is the prelude to the book in your grandchildren’s history lessons decades even centuries from now. This is a time in history when the librarians, teachers, historians will be teaching our great-grandchildren about the great demise of the American experiment or the incredible way under the threat of a once in a century pandemic we negotiated and reflected upon every issue with our children and grandchildren in mind. Will greed rule our world or will the generosity of others pave the way for a better way of life, and opportunity for all. We all know that in a capitalist system that survival of the fittest rules the world, as does hard work and perseverance. Our choices now will determine the direction of the US for the next four years, and since the issues, we are now tackling represent some of the most challenging issues to keep the status quo or make a change that is going to affect the entire destination we take our country and economy in, they are substantial issues. We all know what they are so no need for me to reflect on them here. But we will find out who we are as a society, who we are as people, as neighbors, and as a national community. As we have read in previous stories in Model Citizens Magazine, we will be judged by future generations not by how powerful we are, but how well we take care of our elders and children, the quality of our national healthcare, education systems, and the safety net we provide to each other. Quite as importantly how much that costs, versus how much we are all willing to pay for that safety net and the value of services provided to those who have issues surviving in our current system.
While I already know who I will vote for, there are many that are still uncertain and I can understand why! First off we can look at the first presidential debate if you could even call it a debate. The entire so-called debate made a mockery out of presidential debates. Almost looking like something you would see with Alec Baldwin playing Trump on Saturday night live, not an actual professionally conducted debate. It was more of something you would see in an elementary school playground with two children fighting over the ball. It is heartbreaking that neither party could give the respected and allotted time of 2 minutes to each other. It is two minutes – just listen and rebut, when it is your turn! It was painful to watch the limitless interruptions and the back talking. It is just as painful not to have been able to hear the responses from each candidate – even more irritating when each candidate decided to give a response not in reference to the question at all. I have total sympathy for the people who are undecided but I will say that I have more respect for someone that follows the rules – it goes back to the law and order of our country – pretty ironic. The one that wants to support defunding the police at least attempted to adhere to the rules. Now if only the rest of our society could do that. The debate has not changed my mind on whom I will vote but it was an embarrassing situation for our country. Next up is the voice of our media, social media, moms on media, and more.
It is here where the message continues to get distorted. For every post, a new view, new thought, and new twist of the “he said” drama. it breaks my heart how a simple thought or action is spun, like a good old game of telephone, everything can be turned upside down. “ I plan to reduce our tax burden” is turned into multiple variations of increased taxes, decreased services, increased health cost, to a wait and see strategy. We live in the most amazing place on Earth – America! Winning is supposed to be about the majority of the people you wish to serve to agree with your opinion and voting towards those goals, not about winning so you can push an agenda down your constituents’ throats. We do live in the land of the FREE and home of the BRAVE but at what cost to our society is winning elections coming with?
I am watching political TV commercials about our local races and the same is true. It’s always about winning not about the issues, with advertising and reporting on politics. I believe that running on facts – validated facts and plans that create tangible results is what should matter most. If you are an incumbent it should be about the candidate’s performance while in office, not about their life history. With new candidates, it should be about tested ideas, better implementation, and thinking out of the box sometimes, but no matter what, about the plan and your ability and our trust in implementing the same. These days it seems that all you need to do is wait and eventually many political races simply turn into a smear campaign. Just wait, even if you have a perfect reputation, the opposing party will find some way to make you look evil. Why do the elections need to be run on smear campaigns and not on policy or expectations? For instance, there is a candidate running in my district and not one TV commercial or advertisement states what she will do to improve or “correct” what is happening here – instead of an entire smear campaign on the opponent. I am not interested in the drama – just what your plan is and why it is important for me to further investigate your campaign and details.
Is it just me? I must ask, am I the only person highly offended by what is happening with the riots, destruction of property, and lack of order? This is not about red or blue but right and wrong. Where are these people migrating from? I have yet to meet someone who agrees with what we are watching. I looked for a single voice that can explain why this radical behavior is tolerated, so far I could not find one. These are our streets,
And our communities and societies that made us who we are, why do we want to deface them, disrespect the people that govern them, and ruin the opportunities for our business communities that help support us? What did the nail salon, pizza makers and shoe store proprietors do to deserve this act of injustice? And most importantly why are these acts of terrorism acceptable and not punishable? What lesson are we teaching?
I am very concerned about the idea of defunding our police. I believe there may be additional strategic ways to handle certain circumstances but it is not the job of a social worker to run into violent crime in motion. I agree that as a society most people have a lot more stress and anxiety and that the need for professional help in the form of therapy and medication should assist in the solution, however, not at the first phase of action, it should be part of a recovery plan – not the plan.
BLM? Well, let’s be more specific, ALL LIFES MATTER! Our history of social injustices is just that- history. I do not want to apologize for what I did not participate in but I do hold empathy in my heart for all of those who have been mistreated, regardless of color or race, we are all human and deserve equal respect and opportunities. I do believe that racism still exists but depending on where you live, it goes both ways – I am not white privileged because I was born this way, I am privileged because I worked hard for what I have.
COVID-19 is a global tragedy, lives lost – families destroyed. If a vaccine is available, now or after the election, when it comes out I will not get it. I do not believe that it should be mandatory. I do not believe in injecting anything foreign into my body unless it is medically necessary. I have not been a victim of COVID and perhaps if I was my view would be different. I believe that the virus, the spread of the virus and the future vaccine is not a voting point for me. I believe that both parties have been equally affected by the tragedy. I believe that medical technology will present itself as soon as it is safe. I look forward to a future where I can go out and greet someone and see a smile on their face, not blinded by a mask covering. I follow orders and wear a mask when asked or required – if it makes someone else feel safe, just do it and stop offending people. We all are upset, all effected and together we will all get through it.
POTUS and FLOTUS have COVID – I do not wish anyone to be sick, whether COVID or any disease. I think we have lost our way in society when people can publicly wish them harm. COVID is not about politics, it is about being a human. When people are barking about them being sick it is disgusting, when Chris Cuomo had COVID did we wish him bad? No, as a society we wanted to monitor his symptoms and outcomes and we all hoped that he would recover as soon as possible. POTUS and FLOTUS getting COVID just shows that anyone, in any condition, young or old, fit or unfit is susceptible. There is nobody that wishes this upon themselves, we do the best we can to protect our bodies. However, as a society, I know that we will come out of COVID stronger than we all went into it. COVID has wounded our lives, but to shut down our economy again is what will actually be the death of us.
We certainly are not back to business as usual, and I must admit I do not know what that looks or feels like anymore. I can only say that I am looking forward to the next chapter. I have had so many of my own personal experiences, some good and bad, in 2020. This is a year for the books for many – I know that I have learned a lot about myself and others. I have watched some step up and be leaders and others fall apart. In the end, it is OK – we are strong and we will bounce back. The business community is slowly starting to walk out their front doors and begin to network. I have even been invited to participate in multiple outdoor events as a group. I will say that it still feels uncomfortable upon entrance to any place, but after a few minutes, masks off and conversation as usual.
I will never disrespect the feelings of others, a mask will stay on if it offends someone, but my feeling is, if it is an elective opportunity, do not come if you’re not comfortable or make alternative arrangements or just pass until you feel better about the situation. In the end, I know it has been an extremely tough year.
If any of the readers know of a family in financial distress, created because of COVID or other reasons ( death, disability, illness, loss of a job ) please let them know, I am here to help. Have them email a request for assistance to Rhonda@EquityFirstFoundation.org or call me at 631.714.4822 x102 for a private consultation. Tune in to my new show, The Diversity Project each Saturday night on LINewsRadio.com at 5:00 pm. Visit the website for information: TheDiversityProjectLI.com