Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Political conversation becoming increasingly personal

As children, we are taught to respect others’ personal space and to expect the same treatment for ourselves. A physical radius was invisibly drawn around us, and for many, this translated into manners of privacy. You don’t get in someone’s personal bubble, and you don’t pry into his or her personal business.

You are reprimanded as a child for being disrespectful of personal space and privacy, creating an early understanding of appropriate topics of conversation, as well as those that are clandestine.

America, as a child, also learned this lesson. Created by those tired of an overbearing empire, the U.S. government started small and respectful. Yet, as children always do, America grew. We are now dealing with a 236-year-old, and it seems she has forgotten her manners with age.

Perhaps it’s the sound of desperation for approval and election votes, or maybe our leaders truly believe we value their opinion on personal issues. Regardless of why, the last few months have included conversations about birth control, abortion, marriage equality, welfare, education, medical expenses, immigrants and business strategy.

Personal and social issues are irrelevant to the government’s operation, especially that of the national government. Let the doctors handle medicine and the teachers handle education. Let the church handle marriage. Let the city and state handle welfare cases. But most importantly, allow businesses and individuals to handle themselves.

Certain responsibilities like the Federal Reserve, national security and foreign relations fall under the umbrella of responsibility for Washington D.C. Whether or not General Motors will fail or if a woman can take contraception is not an appropriate topic of conversation for political leaders. Allowing those who are experts or professionals in appropriate fields will lead to more educated statements – thank you, Todd Aiken – and more realistic solutions. Allowing individuals to make their own life decisions leads to more responsibility upon the individual and less blame upon the government.

Consider, on a smaller scale, Tuscaloosa. The one-year anniversary fell very close to the same anniversary for Joplin, Mo. Comparisons of the date led to comparisons of the town and respective recovery process. The “Tuscaloosa Forward” plan Mayor Maddox and his team created was a specific blueprint for the future of the tornado-affected areas. Joplin’s government took a hands-off approach, only addressing the concerns a city government could handle – massive debris, road structure, medical and personal safety, etc.– handing the majority of recovery responsibility over to the citizens affected.

Tuscaloosa’s strict rebuilding guidelines slowed the process, and there are still half-desecrated buildings lining 15th Street. And while the intentions of “Tuscaloosa Forward” were admirable, they were unrealistic. In addition to the waiting game, Tuscaloosa practically forced their citizens to become dependent on city and government funding, while Joplin provided what was within their ability and responsibility. In Joplin, where small businesses, churches and community groups took charge, decisions were made on an individual basis, depending on circumstance. And while both had monetary and physical help from the government, one city learned to rebuild, rather than rely.

Forcing citizens to adhere to government-regulated guidelines creates unnecessary waiting and inadequate results. Every fraction of America is diverse – nation, state and city. It is this diversity that makes America great, while making many government programs failures.

It is impossible to spread a blanket over rocks and expect the blanket to lay completely flat. And it is impossible to make uniformed requirements to a group of people with preexisting dissimilar circumstances.

And who knows, maybe if the government stops prying into the petty and private issues of individuals, they will do better with the issues that are their responsibility.

SoRelle Wyckoff is the Opinions Editor of The Crimson White.

More to Discover