October 10, 2016
Filed under Opinion
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I was asked this summer during an English course to become the political columnist for the Mesa Journal. I wrote two guest editorials, and was extremely happy with the content I had produced. Those articles were about issues I thought were important, about issues that could actually make an impact if the population would open its ears.
Then begins the Fall 2016 semester and my position at the Mesa Journal. I was excited, and began diving into the world of politics again… I dug, and dug… and with each issue my enthusiasm retreated. The world of American politics is severely lacking in substance.
My interest and hope in the political columnist position grew when two campus-sponsored political events were announced: the Kel Seliger town hall at the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute on September 22, 2016 and the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute Distinguished Lecture Series titled “The Mandate for Our Next President” with which was a debate between Alan Colmes and Judge Jeanine Pirro, both of the Fox News Network.
Senator Kel Seliger deserves quite a bit of respect because of how he conducts his office. This town hall was his 334th while in office. There were good explanations of Senator Seliger’s track record in office, and deserved boasting in his accomplishments. However, 70 percent of his town hall was a speech, 30 percent was Q&A, and almost all of the town hall was broad generalizations of Republican philosophy with Kel Seliger. When the tough issues were brought up (such as abortion) Senator Seliger took a poll of stances in the room (which were overwhelmingly pro-choice) and said he was shocked. Conversation did not go any further on the matter. This event felt less like a town hall, and more like a special lecture by a state Senator. (I must mention the audience did not have much to contribute, but the format did not generally feel open to questions/debate.)
“The Mandate for Our Next President” debate was so loud, aggressive, and solely focused on being accepting or being opposed to Candidate Donald Trump’s scandal and infamy, that there was nothing to write about. No information was gleaned from this conversation except for Alan Colmes’ commentary on being against the Clinton (and all other) political dynasties, and the fact that both speakers enjoyed making fun of Gary Johnson’s campaign.
Argument over distinct ontological views does not make for a good debate, but as both of the speakers noted, it makes for great “reality television” as they drew parallels between the 2016 Presidential campaigns and that terrible source of entertainment.
And this brings me to the point of this article. Politics has devolved into an argument over truth and the basis of facts. The ontological divide in this country has moved to such an extreme that we have to ask ourselves: Do these conversations even matter anymore? How do we move forward with the very real issues our country faces?
So I’m faced with an issue as an individual who has been hired to be a political columnist. What do we care about as a community? Not which candidate we want to win, but what actual policies and issues do we care about?
Therefore, I propose that this be an open column. I want your input. Not on candidates, not on parties, but on the issues we face.
Please email me at [email protected] with policies and issues you want to discuss, and your opinion.