Friday, December 12, 2008

Reflections on Staying Engaged in Politics Without Getting Cynical!


I was working out last night and started reflecting on some things. As I often do, I was thinking about the choice we all have to either look at things through a negative prism or a positive one. It is human nature to trend negative, we have to make a conscious choice to be positive. Although, there are definitely some of us whose personalities trend towards optimism more than others.

Since, my theme is optimism, I thought it was only fitting to post a picture of Tony Snow. His legacy is that one can be immersed in politics and not become bitter and cynical.

My reflections started when I was thinking about how people tend to judge others by lumping everyone together. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that "all politicians are corrupt". What bothers me about that is its an insult to the many legislators who aren't.

I first got into politics because of the lack of outrage over Bill Clinton's many scandals. At the time, I read an excellent book by Bill Bennett entitled, The Death of Outrage. A big part of Bennett's premise was that Clinton's numerous scandals had worn the public down into not caring about the integrity of the office of the presidency. Clinton's apologists used the defense that all men, even Presidents cheat, etc... This led to a dumbing down of society into believing that all politicians were corrupt, so it didn't matter.

It does matter, and we should care about the standards of politicians. Yet, we cannot paint them all with a broad brush. During the elections last month I heard a lot of people saying they were voting out the incumbents no matter what. This is so unfair to the legislators who have stood by their principles despite what so many others have done. No matter whether its politics or something else, judge people individually on what they have or haven't done. Don't unfairly lump them in with those who deserve to have consequences for their bad behavior.

In conclusion, there is already some good coming out of this election. Just like Bill Clinton energized me to get involved on the other side, Obama is doing the same thing. I have had numerous friends contact me about how to get more involved.

Right now, I am listening to, 25 Ways to win with People on Cd. One of the ways is to look for the best in others. That is hard for many of us, but it makes a big difference if we look at the glass as half full, instead of half empty.

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