Ok, a few disclaimers here before I start this:
1. I am a liberal.
2. I am capable of looking objectively at both sides and have calm rational discussion.
3. I am a politcal nerd.
Here we go.
Ok so we have just had our second GOP debate. As a liberal I watch these debates to become well informed on the opinions of those I generally disagree with. I feel it is important to understand where someone else is coming from before you start with an angry tirade. When you pay attention to the debates of a party you don't agree with you're also better able to argue, because you know what they said, and what they stand for.
Something a lot of people don't understand about people on the other side politically is the idea of good and bad. "How could Scott Walker brag about busting unions?" "How could Obama feel good about creating Obamacare?" Simply put, what's good for one side is most often bad for the other side. This is why we are so divided as a country, no one can agree on a common good.
What I find oftentimes from watching these debates and arguing with my more conservative friends is that liberals and conservatives just generally think differently. It isn't that one is bad and the other is good it's that they each have a different set of priorities in what's important. Conservatives tend to focus on business, wealth, military: basically the big picture of economic efficiency and power. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to focus on the people, understanding that it's the people that make all these things happen. They focus on civil liberties, pay equality, education: the things that effect the day to day lives of Americans.
Now, unlike most people who hold a firm political ideology, I believe it is crucial to have both sides. If it were all up to liberals like me workers would be $30 dollars an hour, and there would be a million social departments of government working to help every aspect of life, costing just way too much money. On the other hand, a government ran strictly by conservatives would have no labor laws, no weekends, the country would become a sweatshop nightmare and we'd be at war with everyone always (maybe I exaggerate a little.)
So, it's important to have a balance here.
Now about the debates, here's something I have an issue with: The debates are too easy. After watching this CNN debate and the previous Fox debate I've noticed that the moderators don't ask any hard questions. They ask simply what the candidates want to answer. So therefore they are asking GOP questions about the military, abortion, gay marriage, business, strictly conservative issues.
I feel in order to have a full few of who these candidates are we need to ask them tough questions. Let's ask the GOP how they would deal with income inequality, police brutality, education, student loan debt, etc. And lets ask the Democrats questions about the military, war, business, etc. Unless we know how we might disagree with a candidate we can't make a full, informed decision.
I want to ask every single candidate: "What do you believe is the purpose of education?"
This is an issue every candidate should answer. This answer would inform their ideas about education reform, higher education debt, teacher unions, high stakes testing, etc. All issues that, as a future teacher, are very important to me.
But I digress.
The reason I am inundating you with all of this political mumbo jumbo is simply this: It is important.
You might feel discouraged, jaded, and overall pissed off about the situation of American politics, but unless you take the time to get informed, and do everything you can do, then nothing is going to change. Be curious! Question things! If you feel you don't know enough about an issue, research it! Make up your own mind!
As long as we are still a democracy the general public will always have more powers than the wealthy powers that be. The Koch Brothers can flood the wallets of whatever candidates they want, but if you take the time to look closely at candidates you'll be able to see through the shroud of money.
A democracy only works when everyone takes part and when everyone is informed enough to make an educated decision. Democracy will end when the people stop paying attention.
You will notice I didn't mention the religious fundamentalism of certain conservatives and that is simply because religious extremists have absolutely no place in politics.
So here's the nerdy lesson of the day: Pay attention. Listen. Read. Nerds will save the world.