Politics don’t have to be involved in everything

It used to be we didn’t know what elected officials’ thoughts on an issue were unless they issued some sort of statement in a press release or interview.

Now, with social media and the 24-hour news cycle, there are some politicians out there who feel it is necessary to comment on every issue out there.

Sometimes, it can be harmless, praising a group for a particular effort. Other times, it is constructive criticism. More times than not, though, it is little more than political bickering; taking shots at someone on “the other side,” as a way to try and score points with the voters.

It’s not limited to politicians, either. There are those in the media (usually, larger nation-wide outlets) who feel they should interject themselves into the news event.

In recent weeks, everything from massive storms to football games have taken a political spin.

It’s enough that I’ve been wishing there was an opportunity to move to some little cabin in the middle of nowhere and shut myself off from the rest of the world. Then again, that’s been an appealing idea for a lot of reasons lately.

I’m sure there are those who will bring up our right to free speech under the Constitution. People have the right to say what they want. They can express themselves. etc.

Yes, we do have the right to free speech. We also have a responsibility to know when best to practice that freedom.

There are proper times and places to say certain things and express certain opinions. Sometimes, though, it’s OK to just not say anything.

When rescue and rebuilding efforts are taking place in a particular area of the country, it’s probably best not to get into a spat with those involved on social media.

It’s also not a good idea to spend so much time sniping at each other over whether to pass legislation to fund emergency relief efforts that the next administration is in place before any help from the federal government can arrive at its destination.

Let the NFL take care of issues with its players. Professional football doesn’t need input from the Democrats or Republicans in office.

Player conduct, in any professional sport, should be regulated by the league. If those hired to head up a professional sport feel something is wrong, it is up to them to step in and handle it. Those in the federal government, or the national media, or the entertainment industry have nothing to do with any of it.

The nation is angry, and people jumping into the fray of some issue just to get face time and pat themselves on the back only serves to get people angrier.

It doesn’t help anyone, least of all those actually being affected by the issue. Believe me, at the end of the day, those politicians who are thrusting themselves into the debate, feel little to no effects from the topic at hand.

Let’s face it. At its base, politics is about one thing and one thing only.

It’s about convincing us, the voters, that one group is better than the other. It’s about telling us they know better how to run things than the other guys.

It’s about convincing us to vote for them, and, as a result, put them into power.

While in office, they need to be focusing on the real issues; making sure the nation is operational, that it is safe and that problems are addressed efficiently and with the best results for the most people.

Instead, they waste time with name calling, commenting on topics outside of their purview and sending everyone else into a tizzy.

Much of our lives are fine without allowing a politician to influence what we think, say or do.

In fact, it’s supposed to be the other way around. What we think, say or do has a major effect on whether a politician gets to continue their work.

That’s something we should all keep in mind.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)