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When last did any of us have an intelligent thoughtful conversation on a political issue?

  I once lived on politics. At parties, dinners, or gatherings of any sort I so enjoyed the give and take of anyone foaming forth with political opinion.  I enjoyed it most when secretly agreeing, I would take an opposing view and put the greatest value when my view of things had been changed.  Nothing engages more than that moment in an argument when you realize you are wrong.

 My wife referred to it as my “party games.”

 It is such no more.  Most have simply become what they choose to listen to and what they listen to is what they want to hear.

 Political discussion has devolved into angry, simplistic argument, regurgitating this self-serving media source or that.   Who speaks loudest, most fervently often feels victorious but only hardens what might be a less demagogic, respectful opposition. Views are never changed.

 You can look back over the past decades and witness how thoughtful conversation evaporated into slogans, or in today’s vernacular “narratives” successfully punching their way into the public mind, like easy to grasp, quickly satisfying Big Macks.

  Absurdly, there is no longer communion on facts.  It is no longer a world as one of my past employers put it on the Senate floor, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”  Today everyone claims the facts. Without a trusted source of what is fact and what is not, voters simply choose the facts they like.  

 There will never be more Lincoln Douglas style debates that consume the nation’s interest, no longer the hours long arguments atop soap boxes in public squares that followed the American revolution and certainly not the long thought out through examinations of public issues discussed in Greece or the Roman Forum – times and places where the art of argument was a studied and appreciated art that enabled an attentive citizenry capable of self-governance.

  Today, a voter’s political discussion is what remains after Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, TikTok and a thousand more attractive entertainments consuming their time.  For most, the time left for the “downer” politics has become, is just enough to get a Big Mack loaded with the simplistic self-satisfying nonsense some cook gets voters to eat.

Richard Kimball, Vote Smart Founder

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