Sunday, December 6, 2015

We Used to Argue

by Leann

When I was growing up in western New York, my dad's family all lived there and I had a big extended family. We got together at the holidays and filled my grandparents home with kids running and playing and loud adults who drank A LOT. Those Irish do like to drink.

Back then, there were lots of arguments about politics. In fact, no family get together was complete without plenty of booze and lots of shouting. I didn't care for the drinking because my mother was an alcoholic and often these family gatherings would lead to a serious binge. As for the arguing? I loved it.

Part of the reason was the subject matter. Politics were fascinating and hearing two sides taught me a lot. We had military roots. My father had been a soldier, my uncle had been a soldier and one of my aunts lost her husband in WWII. He is buried overseas. These were people who cared passionately for their country. And passionately for their own opinions.

What I liked the most, however, was that they argued and in the end, it was okay. They still loved each other and laughed and were ready for the next time. Arguments didn't mean they wouldn't speak to each other for months or years. It meant they simply liked a good fight. Plus, they didn't vote along party lines. It was about who was the best candidate.

Today, our political system is broken. We have a man running for president who screams at crowds, says outrageous things, lies, humiliates and cares nothing for the truth or for solutions. This past week he is shaking his empty fist at an enemy he doesn't understand. Our divided government, in the meantime, continues to do nothing after the most recent horror against humanity. But as one twitter person so wisely said, and I paraphrase, when our government did nothing when 20 children were gunned down in their classrooms, that was a tipping point. A hollow, awful tipping point it was. I have retweeted the names of many members of congress and the amount of campaign money they received from the NRA. For some, it is a staggering amount of money. I also retweeted all the "no" votes on the most recent attempt to affect some kind of reform in our gun laws. Retweet if you want to. We need this information out there.

Today, unlike when I learned how to debate thanks to my very vocal family, we cannot argue anymore. To me, it seems useless. In my opinion, we have scary people running for president and a congress unwilling to do anything that might jeopardize their job. That's a terrible combination. Tomorrow is the anniversary of "a day that shall live in infamy." Pearl Harbor Day. I am afraid we are now living in an age that will live in infamy.