Even though I've been disillusioned and disenchanted with politics and politicians for awhile, it's still important for engaged and concerned citizens to make every effort to keep current with what's going on in our world. Oddly enough, as the number of television stations and Internet blogs increase, the ability to find an unbiased site or at least a site that attempts to give exposure to both sides of an issue decrease because everyone is presenting their own particular points of view which often times aren't grounded in the facts at all.
So I've watched Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck and listened to Rush Limbaugh on the right, and watched Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Rachel Maddow on the left and have been totally disappointed in all of them because of the narrow, biased, and often wrong-headed perspectives they present.
But I finally found a program last week that gives me what I've been looking for and that is "Morning Joe," a three-hour program that runs every weekday morning on MSNBC. It is co-hosted by Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, and Mika Brzezinski, a Democrat and the daughter of former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. The issues of the day are discussed from both liberal and conservative perspectives and if you're not an expert on these issues, which most of us aren't, it gives the viewer an opportunity to hear both sides, something exceedingly rare in the mass media these days. You can never come close to the whole truth of any issue by listening to only one side.
The major discussion this week has been the interview Gen. Stanley McChrystal gave to "Rolling Stone" magazine in which he made some very critical and unflattering remarks about President Obama and other high ranking administration officials. Now typically, one would think that Republicans would defend a military man taking shots at a Democratic President but as Lee Corso from ESPN says, "Not so fast my friend."
McChrystal reportedly had FOX news banned from his command post and Republicans automatically assume he's a liberal because he did that. So instead of supporting the general, Scarborough launched an all-out attack on him, calling his criticisms of the president insubordination of the highest order and called for his immediate firing.
Scarborough went on to say that civilian control of the military has been the law of the land all the way back to the founding of this country and that the president, regardless of who he is, as Commander-in Chief demands the respect of every person serving in the military, at least publicly.
He went on to say that the most unpopular president with the military in the last century was Bill Clinton, because of his efforts to dodge the draft, but that even Clinton was saluted and deferred to by military men and women because that was their duty and obligation. He also argued that to publicly disrespect the Commander-in Chief puts the lives of those serving in hostile regions around the world in jeopardy.
The Democrats, on the other hand, argued that McChrystal made some valid points during his interview and in taking that tact, criticized the person they helped elect president.
Scarborough countered by saying that whether McChrystal's points were valid or not is inconsequential and meaningless because they should have never been made publicly.
Those in the military who have the opportunity to meet with the president privately have the right and even the duty to make their feelings known but they should always present a unified front publicly in support of their Commander-in-Chief.
Now here's the interesting thing about this debate. Would Scarborough have defended McChrystal instead of calling for his immediate resignation if McChrystal was a card-carrying conservative Republican instead of a rumored liberal Democrat? I suspect so. And therein lies the primary reason for my disenchantment with politics.
Nothing's about principle anymore; it's all about party and politics.
Parties defend their own and attack the other side even when they're both doing the same thing. It's not about who can debate the soundest any more but who can yell the loudest.
Political debate in this country has reached its lowest common denominator as we wallow in the mud of petty, partisan, political bickering and we're all worse off because of it.