A thought on thoughtless politics

Tim Mackie

The uproar over the recently passed health care bill has led to an excess of name-calling and political posturing and a dearth of critical thinking. Several editorials and letters in the wake of the billâÄôs passage in this paper âÄî as well as every other news source in the country, IâÄôd imagine âÄî have stirred up argument over its nature and impact. In particular, a letter in the March 25 edition highlighted the extreme partisan nature of politics in this country and embodied why I am growing increasingly cynical about our political system. IâÄôm sure IâÄôm not the only one. The letter, âÄúThe conservative mood,âÄù expressed frustration with the posturing of liberals, and one professor in particular, over this bill. In my opinion, the letter perfectly summarized the reasons why I canâÄôt stand to talk about partisan politics. Some liberals praise the bill as the second coming of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and see it as the beginning of the end of all remaining social problems. Conservatives see it as a world-shattering restriction of civil liberties and the beginning of the end of this country. In reality, the bill is nowhere near either of these two extremes; both sides look at everything with red and blue lenses and unquestioningly love or hate legislation based on the party line. As if that wasnâÄôt bad enough, this letter ends by imploring independents to âÄúchoose a side: This is a war.âÄù I never expected to hear such rhetoric outside of The Colbert Report. I urge everyone on both sides of the proverbial aisle to follow this process when faced with a political decision: First, find out what the bill actually says. Then read analysis in support and opposition to it. Think carefully about whatâÄôs been said, do additional research if necessary, and then draw a conclusion. IâÄôm not asking anyone to support or oppose a particular party; I only want people to think about these things carefully. We have the resources to be an informed electorate; now we only need to use them. Tim Mackie University undergraduate studen