Sajed Bhandari

America, Books, Cooking, Muslims and some other things

A Statement on Principle has no room in American Politics. The Rand Paul Story.

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“A Statement on Principle has no room in American Politics.  The Rand Paul Story.”

Sajed Bhandari

I have been visiting my parents in Minnesota since Monday.  My mom said she would not take me out in public until I shaved and got a haircut.  It was a fair state of things honestly; I looked hideous.   I had cut my hair one other time in Minnesota.  There is a local barber in the complex.  My dad had set an appointment for me to see him the next day.  My appointment was at three so I decided to head down the elevator and into the skyway to see him.  The man, his name is George, offered me a seat.  Before I sat down, I noticed that he was watching a video of my favorite newscaster, Glenn Beck.

This was not going to go well.

I was about to get my hair cut by a Teabagger.  That was my thought at least.  I don’t know if it was because I was in a different state or because the man had two sharp blades very close to my neck, but I decided not to get into a political discussion with him.  I am not very civil sometimes.

The first question that came out of my mouth… “So what did you think of the Primary results.”  I am an idiot.

What followed was a conversation on the Attorney General of the United States, Arlen Specter, Rand Paul and the Democrats.  But that is a whole lot of conversation to type.  We got into a discussion about media bias.  There was a young girl there, her name was Jennifer.  I think she said she was studying English.  In any case, she offered her input.

Jennifer said that it was interesting how George thought the Media was biased towards the Left and that he saw no bias on Fox News (don’t worry, I bit my tongue when George initially said this.  Again… not sure if it was Minnesota or the two sharp blades).  Jennifer continued saying that we only see bias if we disagree with it.  This is true.

I’m a relatively liberal person.  My friends would say my liberalism is a bit more absolute.  My friends would not be wrong.  But I like using the word “relatively”.  It’s a nice word, relatively speaking.   I guess I never really mind the Media bias on MSNBC because I tend to agree with what they are saying.  I watch MSNBC like it’s porn.

I never really had an issue with MSNBC’s bias, until what happened with Rand Paul and Rachel Maddow.  Long story short, Maddow grilled Paul on his opposition to a title in the Civil Rights act of 1964.  That is not the point of this article.  I don’t want to summarize beyond what I just said.

MSNBC created a firestorm.  They made much noise about Rand Paul and his absolute libertarianism, his purist ways, his political ineptitude.  MSNBC commentators kept saying how Paul was not fit for politics because he was too principled.  Instead of making pragmatic legal decisions, some were worried that he would spend too much time taking part in 2 AM dorm room bull sessions on national TV.

Needless to say, much of the commentators supported President Obama and his campaign of Change.  I think most of us were fed up with Washington and even more with President Bush.  Change would have been more than welcome.  But, these same commentators were criticizing Rand Paul for being too different from what is expected of politicians.   I guess change was important, but too much change from Washington’s ways, too much deviation from what is mainstream is not welcome.

Rand Paul was having a discussion on the nature of private ownership with Rachel Maddow.  He was not advocating the repeal of the Civil Rights Act.  But the nature of a 24-hour news cycle does not allow for an intelligent and informed debate about such issues as the nature of ownership.  Instead, conversations on these issues are turned into convenient political jabs.  The issue is deeper though than the faults of a 24-hour news cycle.  The issue that I am concerned with relates more to the deep-rooted anti-intellectualism that exists in much of our political discourse in America when we disagree.  President Obama, the philosopher-President, was able to intelligently articulate the case for a Just War while being the Commander in Chief of a military at war in two different nations and accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.  That is not sophism or political maneuvering.  It is good logic.  It is good argument.  It is Obamaesque.

The Media has time to sit and appreciate such an articulate speech when they agree to the premises and conclusions being made.  Rand Paul however, a libertarian, is not given the same patience.  We disagree with his premises and conclusions.  We do not let him have a reasoned interview on national TV.  We would much rather create sound bites and denigrate the man as taking part in dorm room bull sessions.  The issue is not that we have biased media.  That is a welcome part of a free society if not an integral one.  The issue is not allowing a person to logically explain his position when we disagree.  Thomas Jefferson preferred a free press over a functioning government.  Free press is what makes democracy possible.  But how are citizens of our republic to be informed when a person cannot defend his ideas in the abstract?  This is the change we need in our politicians; Republicans and Democrats who can have a civil discourse and argue with civic reason.  But that will never be the state of political discourse so long as every politician needs to worry about his or her speech being worthy of the 24-hour news cycle sound bite.

We say we are waiting for change, but we are not willing to accommodate it when it arrives.

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Written by sajedbhandari

May 22, 2010 at 1:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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