I always hear people saying stuff like, don’t talk about politics. Keep it to yourself. Don’t get political. But that’s just one person’s opinion, to not talk about politics. My opinion is a little different. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I like to only talk about politics, to everybody I meet. It’s one of the first things that I start talking about when I meet somebody. That’s not entirely true. It’s actually the very first thing that I start talking about, even before I formally introduce myself to a new person. My goal is to just bombard people with political opinion, and somewhere amongst this onslaught of clever commentary and smart insight, you’ll feel like you know me, know where I’m coming from, and I’ll consider us introduced. Obviously I won’t have asked you about your political opinions. But I don’t have to, because my critiques are always so fresh, so spot-on, that whoever I talk to always winds up automatically seeing things from my point of view, and once they’re there, they like it better, so much better in fact that they always discard whatever rudimentary political beliefs they had previous latched onto, and replace them instantly with my patented brand of clear-cut no-nonsense award-winning analysis.
People get frustrated talking politics. People get bored. They say why waste the time and energy talking about this stuff? It’s not like you’re ever going to actually change anybody’s opinions. But that’s only because you’ve never actually changed anybody’s opinions. I refrain from talking about politics on this blog because I don’t want history to think that I unfairly swayed the outcome of the 2012 election. Because if I started talking about politics here, my views would be so welcome, so needed by our misguided public, that word would spread way too fast, and everybody would try to log onto this web site at the same time, and I’m not paying GoDaddy enough money to support that type of traffic, and I don’t know what their business model is like. Would they permit the traffic and then send me a ridiculous bill afterward? Or would the crush of page loads simply destroy what I’ve built, rendering it completely inaccessible?
And it wouldn’t stop. Once I start talking about politics, people always wind up saying to me stuff like, “Well Rob, you’ve got my vote!” I can’t run for office. I don’t need to be the center of a cult of personality. Because that’s where it would lead. My views are so all-inclusive, they’re so what’s needed right now, that I’m not sure how I would change and react to such a tidal wave of national support. It’s only honest to think that I’d be changed somewhat. What do they say about the power of celebrity? I don’t know. That’s one of my writing tricks. Whenever I can’t think of something to say about something that I was talking about, and I want to switch topics without making it seem too abrupt, I ask an open ended question, like “What’s that they say about open-ended questions?” And I end it by saying, “I don’t know.”
But what’s that they say about not talking about politics? I don’t get it. We’re one day away from the election and, before Hurricane Sandy leveled the Northeast, it was all I heard anybody talking about. Politics. Barack Obama. Mitt Romney. Seriously, before the storm, what else was there to talk about? I wait tables for a living and, pre-Sandy, as I would walk around the restaurant, every single sentence I would hear from every single table would be about politics. “When Romney finally gets this economy moving again …” “I just don’t get why Obama doesn’t press Romney about his tax returns …” over and over and over again.
But whenever I open my mouth somebody invariably tells me to stop talking about politics. Usually it’s somebody who has differing views from me. Maybe I come across as a jerk. Maybe I don’t really give anybody else equal opportunity to talk. Maybe I get a little too physical when I’m trying to drive home my point of view. Maybe I don’t necessarily need to grab people by the collar and get all up in their faces, little foam spittle flying outward from my mouth. But what does it say about us that we’re only allowed to talk about politics if everybody in the group that we’re talking to shares the same beliefs?
This is pretty important stuff, politics, leaders, policy. We are the nation that we are because of the culmination of all the small political decisions that have been made in our history. And for each decision that was made there had to have been a counter argument. All of the arguments that won, they won because they were argued successfully and convincingly. So if you believe that something should be a certain way, you don’t just shut up about it because you’re not supposed to talk about politics. No, you get in there, you grab that guy sitting at that table with his family by the collar, you tell him that he’s wrong, tell him his family is a bunch of idiots, you tell him that he better listen to you or else there are going to be some serious consequences. Tell him it’s not a threat it’s a promise. Ask him to see some ID. Wrestle him to the ground and force the wallet out of his pocket. I know it’s hard to aim the foam spittle, but try to get as much of it as you can right in his face, right in his mouth. Because politics is important. And we should all be talking about it.