I think…if I could really convince people of the US one thing during this political season, it would be to CHECK THEIR BIAS. I’ve often referenced a two-point system for determining bias.
- You can’t think of anything good to say about opposing politicians because your media sources and social contacts never discuss them favorably.
- You can’t think of anything bad to say about the politicians you support because your media sources and social contacts never criticize them.
These things are hard and if you swing REALLY far on one side of politics like I do – you have to constantly be checking your bias. Not allowing yourself to write blank checks to policy proposed by your side…that’s a hard one. I want to just say, “Oh – the Democrats pushed it? I support it.” Because that’s EASY. But that’s completely illogical – I won’t even register as a Democrat because I don’t agree with them on everything, why write a blank check to approve everything?
And then the harder part is to not immediately hate every idea proposed by Republicans. I have to REALLY make myself dig into policy proposals sometimes. The VA reform stuff is a perfect example. I wasn’t 100% for or against either side of that, but I tended – when I would read into it – to side with the Republicans on the discussions.
But – I’ll be honest – while I’ve tried to avoid bashing Trump, I really can’t think of any stance of his I support or can speak about favorably. BUT – I think that’s not a media/social bias (because I can name off a few people I know personally voting for Trump) as much as it’s really hard to find policy in his rhetoric and he’s not served in government before so I can’t find bills he’s helped author or things he’s spoken out agains in terms of legislation. He is like a Kindergartener in the governing body so I have no report cards to look back on.
HOWEVER – I did hear an interview with Paul Ryan the other day and I really want to hear more from him about his ideas for Welfare reform. I’m a bleeding heart liberal so obviously I support TANF and other government assistance programs, but I’ve often been frustrated by how simple the programs are in that we don’t do a lot to fund job assistance. I know it’s because – in terms of staffing – it’s cheaper to just write checks. These programs don’t have budgets for checks AND training, but I do often wish there was a wider scope to these assistance programs.
Paul Ryan mentions briefly about how transportation and mental health are often the causes of the joblessness and that he’d like to customize assistance programs in cases like that and that piqued my interest! That’s a GREAT idea! Lack of transportation complicates EVERYTHING. You’re limited to the range you can look for jobs (has to be within walking distance or accessible by public transportation) and you’re limited on schedule if you’re dependent on public transportation. Especially in areas without much to offer in terms of transit.
AND YES. Mental health issues definitely thwart job efforts. TOTALLY.
Neither of these issues will be solved by small checks that just merely help people survive. So I love the idea of recognizing more specific hurdles and helping individuals jump those. But the way I understand things, that type of customization costs MORE in terms of staffing and funding. Does anyone know of any Paul Ryan policy proposals that outline these ideas more? I’d love to read about them.
And this is how I sleep better at night. I often worry I’m part of the problem with politics because I do swing SO FAR LEFT on so many issues. I can’t shift my beliefs on things like Reproductive Rights and the Death Penalty and LGBTQ Equality Issues and Legislative/Criminal Justice Reform…but I can do my best to look at specific policies in as many cases as possible and instead of making blanket assumptions based on the side that’s proposing them…I can maybe try to find nuances since government and legislation is a complicated system and it deserves not to be oversimplified into black/white and good/bad.