The 2016 Presidential Election was something that I knew from the start was going to be a historic event. The end of the Obama administration, having held the office for eight years, was now rapidly approaching. The nation was tasked once again with choosing a new administration to take its place. Knowing this I began to not only study the candidates offered up this cycle, but also our Government as a whole. Regretfully it was something I had not given much thought to until that point. So I set out to educate myself as best I could so that I could make an informed decision come November 8th.
I started to consume as much of the news I could possibly get my hands on that was related to the election. I was careful to include a diverse selection of sources and media outlets with the idea being that I wanted to avoid creating any bias prior to formulating my own opinion on the matter. I received daily emails from CNN, FoxNews, BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and MSNBC to name a few. I would alternate which news reports I would watch from evening to evening as well and was growing more confident in my comprehension of the overwhelming amount of data. I began to relate all too well to the phrase “drinking from a fire hose“.
In forming my own opinions I was careful to take into consideration only that which seemed to be mutually agreed upon as fact when comparing the often contradictory reports. It took several weeks but eventually I became familiar with the candidates, the issues, the debates and was able to more readily disseminate fact from personal bias in reporting. I then began formulating my own political opinions that I based as soundly as I could on the facts made available. By this time we were well into the election cycle and November 8th was quickly approaching and I came to realize something that I had not anticipated.
I had become addicted to politics.
I simply could not get enough of the news as it pertained not only to the upcoming election but on our Government as a whole. In fact, I had gone from only watching the news in the morning while drinking my coffee before work (and mostly it was just for the weather report) to having FoxNewsHD or CNN constantly on in the background throughout the work day. My lunch and breaks were used to sift through my Twitter feed and emailed articles from the day and I loved every minute of it.
I found myself engaging passionately in conversations with friends and family over politics and always cautioned to only state that which I could show as fact, to the best of my knowledge, as I knew it to be at that particular point in time. It was during these conversations that I discovered just how sensitive discussing politics can be and that for some it goes far beyond passion. For many, their political beliefs define to their very core who they are and what they stand for. As my political opinions were yet in their infancy I did my best to not only listen to those who had views that differ from mine, but to also understand why they felt the way they did. However, not everyone is so open minded and I must admit there are things now that I too ardently hold as beliefs as well.
It was during one particular exchange with a friend on Facebook that my wife finally spoke up. She asked that I end the conversation because our views were never going to align and that if I could not conduct myself in a mature fashion that I should remove my Facebook account all together. Though I at first was upset by her attempt to censor me, as I put it that evening, I now looking back can admit she had a very valid point. It was then that I started to contemplate creating this publication and why it now exists.
What my wife was able to show me was that even though I now held certain political beliefs and could discuss them intelligently that they do not carry an innate justification for me to force my views upon others just because they are my family and friends. People have the right, just as I did, to form their own opinions and not be forcefully subjected to those that they disagree with. Additionally they had the right to not engage in political conversations at all and keep their views private. This is something that many people do because politics is such a hot-button issue and a powder keg waiting to explode.
With that realization it became clear that I needed to separate my political and social interactions. For the past several days I have been thinking about this and how I would achieve the separation. Writing a political commentary blog seemed to be the most logical choice because it served a two-fold solution. The first being that I could publish my thoughts and views providing myself with an outlet to express them. The second being that those who read them will do so by their own choice and not by stumbling upon it on my personal Facebook or Twitter.
It seems fitting to me to launch the site on Presidents’ Day. It was even more fitting when I saw today’s Word Of The Day from Dictionary.com – which is now part of this publications name. I’ll leave you with the definition below and hope you come back again to dive into healthy debates and educating each other on the politics that drive this great nation of ours.