It seems like some times things just line up a certain way. Last week I was reading up on the debt ceiling increase stuff, and of course watching things on it on 'The Daily Show'. Then, over the weekend I was having dinner with someone and they reiterated something they had stated a few days earlier, and that is that I wasn't someone who was built for the corporate world. That of course is true as many elements of the corporate world seem to reward behavior that I greatly dislike, and wouldn't you know it...so does politics. Let's face it folks, politics is a business now.
Politics was never supposed to be about what it is now. It was supposed to be a way by which people served their nation. It was supposed to be about service to others, not a way to garner things for yourself. It wasn't supposed to be a career. I have a statement that is a gross generalization about a few jobs in our society, "Politician are like lawyers and union leaders. There was a time they existed to make sure the people who were overlooked were heard, then someone decided they could gain money and power in those positions." As I said, it's a gross generalization. I know not all people in those roles are selfish bastards, but there have been enough like that over the years to poison the view of the whole.
But, back to what I was talking about. The reason I wouldn't do well in the corporate world (or one similar) is that I don't like playing "the game". I despise it. I realize that I am idealistic and sometimes it may have to be played for a greater good, but I still dislike it. Now, the reason I despise it isn't just because it represents so much that I think is wrong with society. I despise it because I know I could play it. And I know I could play it well. Remember, I said, "I don't like playing 'the game'", I didn't say that I didn't know how. I've gone to a part of me that can play it, and I don't like it. It's connected to the part of me that goes into the heads of others and figures out their personalities. It picks up the subtleties of their words, their tone, and their body language. Those who know me well know I have the ability to see things in others that they don't see in themselves. We all have it. I think sometimes mine just works in overdrive.
Anyway, the game uses that part of me in a way I don't like. It results in the more cold and calculating part of me (what I refer to as my "engineering brain") using information gathered by my emotional side. I remember when I was in RYSC I was told (as I was one of my group's "Team Leaders") that I should look at stepping into the leader role more, and being a professional version of myself rather than my goofy self. When the group had a tough decision to make about a member staying part of the team (a choice I didn't believe we should have been making), that "engineering brain" part of me popped out. It was curt. It was to the point. It had nothing to do with emotion. It had everything to do with logic, and it understood the lack of warmth it was displaying. At the end of that day I asked the person who told me to be the professional what they thought of that part of me (as they had now seen it). They stated I may have freaked some people out. Years later I would have a conversation with that same person about how people I used to work with were frustrated with things they thought I had set in motion. I had set nothing in motion. I read the players. I read the environment. I made the calls of how I believed things would play out. That's what happened. I told that person at that time, "If they don't want to be pissed at me, they should stop proving me right."
So, why did I mention the politics? Because the game is being played...and the people usually playing others are getting lost. I'm talking about the politicians. Many of them are fighting idealogical battles and they're still getting railed on. A new wave of Republicans were put into office largely due to financial concerns, and they're doing what they said they would do...and they're getting nailed for it. They don't understand why. All the information is there. They just won't see it because they're too caught up in ideology, and it's keeping them from seeing the ripples.
Let me explain.
First, I don't know of a single person who wants to pay higher taxes. But there are people (such as myself) that would be willing to do so because they believe they are able and we see it as doing our part to help the country out of lurch. Please be aware, being WILLING doesn't mean I WANT. Those are two different things, and that's part of what the talking heads are missing. I've had to explain this to others when I say I'm "willing" to pay higher taxes for a time. They tend to respond with, "Well, I don't want to." To which I remind them I never used the word "want". That usually results in a short-term brain glitch for them. They have to look at the terms.
Second, there were some words that I heard Michael Moore speak years ago in an interview. I can't remember who the interview was with, but I remember something he said. The interviewer asked him why he thought people (at that time) didn't want to raise taxes on the rich (polls showed it wasn't wanted by the majority). Michael Moore had a good answer. He said he believed it was due to many of us holding the belief and hope that some day we ourselves would be rich, and said it made no sense for us to "punish" the group we wanted to be a part of. His response was quick, to the point and reading what was under the numbers. A guess on his part, but in my mind it made sense.
Third, much of our current debate on the debt ceiling sphere has been what to cut. One of those things looking at feeling the sting of cuts is Medicare. And that's what changed the game in my opinion.
You see, if you look at older generations I think you'll find people who are much more astute about their finances. They have paid their part, and they expect their due. There has been some wrangling on Medicare cuts to attempt to make it so that adjustments will be felt more by those who come later, than those who are using it now. That's great to appease older voters (which it doesn't seem to be doing), but not younger ones.
This is where my second and third points collide. You see, we can all hope we will be rich. We can all believe we can move up to that higher bracket. There is nothing wrong with that. It may help motivate some to do that which helps them accomplish that goal. But, deep inside...everyone with that hope knows it's a hope. Getting older though...that's a fact. Needing the help of Medicare...much more likely than getting into that top bracket. There is a difference between believing and knowing. Whether we're conscious of it or not...we process that information. I think what people know is starting to give way to what people believe.
That shift takes me back to my first point, being willing or able to pay higher taxes for a time. Now that some people have aligned themselves with those who will need Medicare more than those who are rich...suddenly you aren't punishing a group you might be a part of. You're trying to ensure the "fair" treatment of a group you know you'll be a part of (someone who is of an age to qualify for Medicare).
Some politicians are just not seeing this. I think more Democrats are than Republicans are. I honestly think Obama sees this. The man is not stupid. Republicans are playing the short game to give back to those who put them in power, but some of those people have now changed what they expect...and the Republicans are clueless. I told an online friend a few weeks back that there was a good chance that Obama could be a one-term president because as with the first Bush, he wasn't keeping promises. But, this debt ceiling thing could wipe that out.
Today when I was watching 'The O'Reilly Factor' Bill O'Reilly brought up a poll where Obama loses to a generic Republican candidate (I've read similar polls). Juan Williams (I'm seeing this guy more often and I'm liking him) immediately brought up the fact that against REAL Republicans, Obama wins. He reminded O'Reilly that this supposed generic Republican doesn't exist, and the real candidates don't measure up. Williams understood the emotional part of the poll and its impacts. O'Reilly didn't.
People who thought they could play the game are being played...by the game. It's changed and they're clueless. The thing is...this concerns me. Why? Because I think I see what they don't. And that just reminds me that while I don't like "the game", it doesn't mean I couldn't play it. And play it well.
I'm scared of that part of myself.