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Belittling Our Political Leaders

It is okay to protest and criticize government, but it must be done in a constructive manner.
It is okay to protest and criticize government, but it must be done in a constructive manner.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

In general, our legislators hear two basic things from their constituents: we like you or we hate you. The reason is that the majority of Americans usually only offer their support for our leaders, or their rivals, when we vote while the rest tend to wait until they are angry enough to speak with their representatives. Instead of offering calm, insightful suggestions and fully considered policy changes, these angry Americans attack their leaders. The result is a polarized climate where ideology trumps better policy and political leaders treat each other as enemies instead of colleagues with opposing viewpoints.

Although spouting off belligerent comments and threats makes us feel pretty good, engaging in wrathful thought stresses our bodies and forces blood out of our brains. In turn, this hurts our ability to properly think and act intelligently. When confronting very complex, serious national issues, this biological reality creates a major problem. Shutting down the ability of our brains, as well as the brains of our leaders, to properly review and process vital information forces us to rely on our default conclusions. As such, we have trouble building consensus around proper solutions when we fail to engage in civil discourse.

Accordingly, we need to find better ways of addressing our leaders instead of jumping down their throats every time they say something controversial, especially when a comment might be the right solution to the many problems our Nation faces. Worse yet, hearing constituents complaining day in and day out desensitizes our leaders to valid complaints while pushing them to do things they feel are undoubtedly "right" versus challenging their own views. This writer understands there is a movement away from being politically correct, which is something I have difficulty with myself, but we do need to be far less rude and far more diplomatic.

For the sake of disclosure, I must admit I was guilty of saying some fairly harsh things about President George W. Bush's performance in private, but that does not mean I regarded him as less than a decent person or discounted his ideas just because they were his ideas. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who simply belittled the former President no matter what he did. One repercussion has been a tendency of right wing political figures to categorize everything President Obama has done as a failure or a perversion of the American way of life, even before he was sworn in as President.

The American People complain, so the Democrats do one thing to solve a problem then Republicans do something else that involves undermining what progress was made when we again revolt against what was done and so on. This dynamic has been both unhealthy and extremely destructive, because it prevents our leaders from addressing critical issues our Country faces. Instead of working together to find effective, efficient solutions, we scream at our representatives when we do not get exactly what we want. As such, we need to stop relying on personal attacks and undermining comments against our leaders, so we can solve problems even if we cannot have our way on every single issue. Moreover, we need to work with our leaders, not against them.