As I was engaging in my traditional civic duty of cruising the Times Union website in a half-hearted attempt to keep my finger on the pulse of our region, I came across a photograph in Jimmy Vielkind’s story on the deep divide on health care in the 20th Congressional District that reminded me why I rarely talk politics and probably won’t on this blog:

For so many in this country, a picture like this is gratifying or exciting. Me, it’s just a reminder of how incredibly childish and illogical people can get when it comes to politics. It’s one thing to be passionate. It’s another thing to be so smug and self-assured as to close your mind off to any potential opposition to your views, or adopt the philosophy that a louder voice and angrier gesture will win any debate or argument.

Is it unfair that I’m casting judgement on the individuals shown in this picture? I’m sure. It’s also wholly unfair to paint them and their views in such broad strokes based on a single image. But as the cliche goes, a picture’s worth a thousand words. These are the words the picture conveys to myself and others.

I know I’m beating a dead horse when I say that this type of discourse is nothing but harmful to our country and the cause of reform (regardless of which side of the fence you reside). I just wanted to make it clear that I’m not doing it because I’m ignorant, apathetic, or uncaring. Certainly, I am, but also because I have no desire to act a fool in a public setting unless I’m at least going to get some laughs out of it.


As a result of this very blog, Marshallmania is running wild throughout the country…and in others, as well! My recent post regarding handshakes drew the attention of Canadian film buff, festival organizer, professional wrestling personality, and blogger Michael “Llakor” Ryan. It prompted him to explore the ritual of the handshake as it applies to the delicate and sometimes strange world of professional wrestling.Oh, Canada!

Michael makes a note about old media “hitching a ride” and the fact that I write gratis for the Times Union, but also correctly touches on why I think I get more than a fair shake out of the deal. But that’s a blog post for another time.

I’m pretty sure this makes me the first Times Union blogger to gain a foothold internationally.

7 Responses to The Deep Divide in the 20th & Why I Won’t Talk Politics; Present Tense Gets International Coverage

  1. Kari says:

    Because this has been in the news so much, and I keep hearing contradictory information, I really need to brush up on my Universal Health Care pros/cons as well as the “Socialism” aspect people keep throwing around. I may blog about what I find, especially so people can keep me updated. As you know, I’m not really afraid to blog about anything (not that you are), but mine is less public. We’ll see how the day goes. My other topic option is “Idiots on the Highway” Then there’s the yearly “I Hate Cancer” blog. I’ll finish reading this one when I’m back from my weekly meeting. Wanna switch jobs now?? Hah!

  2. derryX says:

    I am so pissed about this post.


    PS. I’m not really pissed about this post. (You just described the very reasons why I refrain from conversing about politics)

  3. Kari – I’m be interested to see what you come up with! Please do update it. And I’m really enjoying the blog so far (it’s in my Reader!)


  4. Awesomedude says:

    Bit of a strange fluffy piece no KM?

    I can dig up pictures from the 60s of more than a few civil rights protestors, becoming quite loud in their smug self assured belief that minorities are not second or third class citizens…

    I’m sure there were more than a few Kevin Marshall’s back then who thought such protests were childish and if MLK just was a little more quiet everything would sort itself out…

  5. Personally, I’ve always leaned towards the opinion of health care as a right. But to equate the discussion occurring now over this health care plan with Blacks having hoses turned on them, being beaten, and often times murdered so that their brothers and sisters could get equal rights in this country? C’mon.

  6. Awesomedude says:

    politics is politics…unless you’re saying you do think there are issues important enough where anger and loud voices are both needed/acceptable and healthcare is just not one of them.

    I think the more than a few Americans dead due to a lack of medical care due to a lack of insurance might argue against your idea that health care reform advocates should just quiet down a little bit…

    But the distinction would have to be made by you KM. So- what is it exactly about healthcare that you think makes it a debate to be had with only quiet voices without anyone being riled up about it. after all, its just 17% of our gdp, millions in bankruptcy and thousands dying every year due to inadequate/absent insurance coverage, right?

    I’m sure if MLK were alive today he’d be on your side, ashamed of anyone raising their voice during such a silly political debate.

  7. I’ll end my feedback here, since my comments section should really be more for the readers to have a full discussion with each other with me just piping in and moderating. So don’t take any further (limited) response as me writing you off or being rude; I just don’t want to dominate the conversation. After all, I get enough of a voice. :)

    There are a lot of differences. For one, there’s more to this current debate than ad hominem attitudes and statistics, and often the “facts” presented by either side are anything but.

    Also, I don’t ever hear an argument from a racist and think “huh. You know what, that’s a good point they raised there.” That’s the major difference: the issue of fundamental good versus fundamental evil. I understand what you’re trying to say, and I’m actually on the same side of the fence as you on this issue. But the angle you’re presenting is based on two fallacies: that these two issues run parallel in terms of basic human rights and that they’re even remotely comparable otherwise. They’re not.

    Back in the 1960s, we still had privatized health care. It wasn’t as expensive, in need of reform, or as “broken” as it is now. Regardless, if you’re going to present the idea that universal health care is a basic human right like the rights for blacks to have equal footing and a chance in our society, then you have to concede that Martin Luther King was remarkably silent on the issue. That doesn’t say what his position would be one way or another. I would never deign to definitively define his possible stance on this issue. I don’t think you, or anyone else for that matter, should either.

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