Monday, September 3, 2012

POLITICS 2012: What's the Fuss?

POLITICS 2012:
What's the Fuss?

As most of my readers are aware, I have a true passion for politics. In fact, it's been in my blood since I was a ten-year-old, collecting presidential trading cards during the 1972 campaign season. But to be honest, even I recognize that we often take the game a bit too seriously.

Despite maintaining my well-acknowledged, unwavering alliance to the Republican  Party, I also can admit to other realities. I've never been an Obama supporter. Sure, he seems like he'd be fun to hang with at a tailgate party, but as a president, he's failed. And although I do wholeheartedly support Mitt Romney, I believe that unless something truly wacky transpires, my team is gonna lose in a squeaker come November. See, I just said that, and oddly the planet didn't burst into flames.

I enjoyed watching the televised happenings at last week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida and I'll likewise be tuning in this coming week as the Democrats converge on Charlotte, North Carolina for their week-long rally. For me, this is fun stuff and I enjoy every minute of it.

There are those who gleefully typecast conservatives as uncaring. However, I put people before politics. America currently faces incredible challenges to be sure. And as I've written extensively over the last several months, I believe that if our nation truly is going to get back on track we must immediately put aside partisan bickering and rhetoric and start showing each other some kindness, compassion  and most of all, a whole lotta love.

But sadly, many people from both sides of the fence are missing this very crucial point. It's seemingly more important to be right at all costs  even if that involves personally attacking each other.

Moreover, there is a perception that the left must hate the right and vice versa. Recently, I hosted a Florida music awards event where one of the guest presenters was a well-known Liberal columnist. Given my right-wing sensibilities, audience members gasped as he approached the podium. Little did they know that this man, Chuck Van Riper and I had been friends for many years. And after an orchestrated playful banter, we embraced each other and danced together center stage to our favorite song, Glen Miller's "Moonlight Serenade." I even grabbed his butt in the process. It was quite a hoot and the audience seemed to get a kick out of me kissing Chuck on the cheek as I stepped back from the podium.

Me and Chuck Van Riper at the
2012 Brevard Live Music Awards.
(Photo: Michelle Wilson)

Another related experience occurred just this past weekend. I recently had reviewed a Florida concert appearance by a legendary British rock band. Through my research for the article, I (wrongly) felt that I had connected personally with one of the group's members. We'd even become Facebook "friends," "connected" on LinkedIn and a link to my review remained on this person's website for days following its publication. However, after taking a closer look at some of the political content on my blog, the musician reached out to me personally to ask that I cease any further contact with them  strictly based on the "left / right" issue. All other aspects or value of my work found here were  overlooked by this supremely talented individual who I greatly admired. The experience left me feeling moody and blue.

In sum, we all have different opinions and perspectives  that's what makes this country great. And we shouldn't shy away from articulating our beliefs and passions. But instead of concentrating on our opposing points of view, I suggest that we focus on our common denominators. It should be about connecting, not condemning. Just remember that hugs can often be far more effective than fists even in the political arena.

-Christopher Long
(September 2012)


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