Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why I Hate The 'All Politicians Are The Same' Meme

I posted a comment to my Facebook page yesterday that stated 'the bigots I was most concerned about are ones who have the power to write legislation.' 

One of the peeps who responded to that comment said something that irritates the hell out of me when I hear it along the lines of the 'All politicians are the same' meme.

It has other derivatives, such as 'all politicians are corrupt', 'there's no difference between the two parties', 'they work for the same corporate masters', et cetera.  

And all of those memes are incorrect.

I hear that meme far too frequently from predominately white people, because as any non-white American can tell you, there's a Grand Canyon sized chasm of difference between Democrats and Republicans, and anyone parroting the above memes will get the side eye from me and any other non-white person.  . 

I hate those memes for multiple reasons.   Not only are they inaccurate, they are one of the things wrong with American politics that feeds into the cynicism that breeds low voter turnout and people not participating.

And that makes the corporate interests and the conservative movement very happy, because they can only win elections when the turnout is under 50% of the electorate.

And far from being beholden to corporate interests as the lie goes, as I have seen with my own eyes on lobby trips to Washington DC, Austin, Frankfort, et cetera, politicians at all levels pay far more attention to their constituents than corporate interests. 

Can't tell you how many times I've observed in my 16 years of activism and lobbying the various lvels of government that a city councilmember, representative, congressmember or senator has kept a corporate lobbyist waiting outside his office as I and other constituents are given extra time to discuss our concerns and problems. 

I have been admitted into an office without an appointment or allowed in before our scheduled appointment started and the only thing I've done is voted for them.   I have had situations in which I have talked with legislators as they were hustling to get to the chambers to vote, or had a one on one chat with me after their council meeting or school board meeting concluded. 
Broad brush disparaging all politicians instead of the handful of people guilty of the criminal and nekulturny behavior that tarnishes their offices can have the effect of discouraging quality candidates who have a genuine desire to serve their fellow citizens from running.  

Pushing the 'all politicians are the same meme' can also poison the dreams of our liberal-progressive youth who are contemplating running for office someday.

The facts are that all politicians are not the same.   Just as in society, they come in all shapes, sizes, ethnic backgrounds and political beliefs.   Would be nice if we could add some trans politicians to the mix at all levels of government, but that's coming sooner rather than later. 

We also are quite aware of the fact we have far too many conservafools chomping at the bit to run for offices they clearly aren't qualified for so they can unleash their 'proven conservative leadership' on the rest of us who don't want it.


at pushing of the 'all politicians are the same' lie has opened the door to the Louie Gohmerts and others of his ilk who seem to think saying the most stupid, bigoted and outrageous stuff to their base voters combined with passing racist and punitive legislation aimed at the most marginalized people in our society is the way to go. 

So check yourself the next time you get ready to part your lips and say 'all politicians are the same'.  Put your lips in neutral and think about it before spouting that comment. 

The overwhelming evidence is that they aren't.       

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