January 27, 2010

Tune in tonight and have a fun mental exercise

I rarely talk politics, even to my closest friends. It meddles with people's convictions and values so it gets very messy. We can all agree at least to pay attention tonight, as President Barack Obama will have his very first State of the Union.

When the speech is done, complete this questionnaire:
1. What is your initial reaction? Are they generally positive or negative?
2. Tune in for about 15 minutes after the State of the Union address to see how known political thinkers react. Do your reactions from question 1 lean more towards those known to be liberal/Democratic or conservative/Republican?
3. See how the other parties from question 2 react. Where are they honing in on their praise or criticism?
4. Do you see yourself agreeing with at least one point from the other parties, or do you see yourself retorting their arguments?

There is no right or wrong answer. I have done the exercise before since high school. Here is the one conclusion that still stands to this day. This was my answer to President George W. Bush's 2002 State of the Union address:

I have generally noticed people will hear what they want to hear, especially in the State of the Union address. If you want to hear something about your topic of choice (terrorism, poverty, social security, etc.) you will tune in exclusively to the opinions expressed on that topic and tune out almost everything else. Every topic is important, and the fact we disagree on how to best handle those topics only emphasizes their importance. Solutions may not happen instantaneously, but they will likely emerge after much compromise. No one will get exactly what they want in these solutions, but something is better than nothing.

Don't you love political spin?

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