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Friday, June 14, 2024

Does political rhetoric or action really affect our lives? Not really


Spent most of the weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with a video camera on my shoulder, capturing what the locals hope is finally the arrival of Spring to a region where winter has been unrepentant.

At the barbershop in the town of Floyd, Virginia, population 434, bluegrass musicians jammed on a Friday night — something they have done for years and continue to do so some winter, spring, summer or fall.

They talked about weather, sports and life.  They didn’t talk about politics, gun control, gay rights or immigration.

Some expressed a desire to plant crops, prepare livestock for sale, open their seasonal shops and perform a multitude of tasks that will help them survive through the year and — hopefully — enjoy life.

Later, as I sat at the editing console and worked through the videos, I thought about how bogged down we all get in issues that may seem important to specific groups but have little impact on the vast majority of us as we move through and try to cope with life.

I realize that nowadays, at 65 and still recovering for a near-fatal motorcycle crash that damned near killed me five months ago, my focus on what is and is not important has changed.

Yes, I still worry about issues that affect this country but I also wonder how many issues that dominate the news and political debate really have anything to do with our future.

I find my own opinions wavering and changing on issues like gun control but I wonder even more if the future of America would be that much affected one way or another if guns were outlawed or not?  The same ambivalence now sets in on other hot-button topics.

I worked inside politics and the federal government long enough to know that — in the end — it doesn’t matter which political party controls Congress or the White House.  Our government, by and large, is controlled by a bureaucracy that continues in spite of political or philosophical shifts.  Voter attitudes bounce from one extreme to another and the result is an increase is gridlock that is broken only when crisis reaches an inevitable point.

Republicans at this point say the future of their party lies in putting either Rand Paul or Marco Rubio in the White House.  In other words, the perceived resolution to the problem caused by the current political novice at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can be resolved by replacing him with another first-term Senator with no real experience.

To borrow an old expression, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

But none of this meant a thing to those I filmed and photographed over the weekend.  To them, the priority in life was putting a bothersome winter behind and getting on the with basics of life.

Life goes on and it does so in spite of the actions or pettiness of Democrats, Republicans, independents, gun owners, gays, lesbians, straights, conservatives, liberals, war mongers or peace lovers.

And that’s the way it should be.

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3 thoughts on “Does political rhetoric or action really affect our lives? Not really”

  1. Washington is far away, and few actions in the District have much, if any real impact on those of us in the sticks. But some actions do have a real impact, such as waging wars, or setting trade terms and monetary policies. These things do affect us, losing loved ones to senseless conflicts, or making things cost more to buy, or even having a job to make a living. So we must pay attention lest we end up with a situation like today where labor arbitrage and the pursuit of absolute advantage fueled by unbridled greed is called free trade and considered “good” for America and money is equated with free speech while actual free speech is now limited to pre-defined zones set up near political events. How did we ever let this happen?

    Too many stopped caring and paying attention!

  2. Thank you for reminding us all that politics is a game played by D.C. that none of us can change nor accept.

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