So I clicked on over to blogher.com (a website I am just starting to become acquainted with) and the first thing I saw was this post titled “Afraid to Voice Your Political Opinion?”
Yes. Yes, I am.
Not, fortunately, because of close relatives or god forbid a spouse on the opposite side. I am mostly surrounded by like-minded liberals, both in my family and in my college town neighborhood. But I do have some Tea Party freaks on my facebook, including a couple of cousins and my best friend from middle school. (I also have a weird situation in my immediate family involving local politics: radical activists on my husband’s side versus my moderate brother in law who serves on city council. Lawn signs that I don’t agree with magically appear in my yard, petitions that I would rather not sign pop up in my email, etc. Many of these local issues are things I don’t feel strongly about (public art, a new convention center, library millages, that kind of thing)… but I care a LOT if my sister comes over and sees a sign on my lawn urging people to vote against a proposal her husband introduced, ya know?)
The reason I have a hard time voicing my political opinion, though, is because I feel like I don’t know the facts. I believe the reporting on both sides is biased. I probably sound like a conspiracy freak, but honestly I don’t believe anything I read. One of my aforementioned Tea Party cousins says he makes a point of following both liberal and conservative media, and he challenged the rest of us to do the same. I don’t watch tv at home, but I happened to be out of town at the time and had access to cable tv, so I watched Bill O’Reilly and Rachel Maddow, back to back. Wow. Their politics may be different but their techniques are exactly the same. They are both demagogues, snarky rabble rousers, and they made me equally angry.
And not only are the media biased, but the candidates themselves, both of them, misrepresent things and make errors. At least, according to factcheck.org, which is supposedly nonpartisan but is it really?
I know in my heart that Obama is the best choice, and Romney is the road to ruin. I have absolutely no doubt about this. But I’m not sure I can tell you why. Sometimes I feel like Shelley Long in that episode of Cheers where she fills out a football pool with choices based on the different teams’ mascots, e.g. a dolphin could not beat a lion. I would like facts and figures to back me up because I am a Rationalist type who always wants everything to be neat & tidy & logical. And politics are anything but neat, tidy & logical. So I shy away.