What if we saw the world through some filter other than politics? What if we were just as smart as a rat in a maze and we looked for an escape from this dead end?
Really, what have we gained from our political infighting?
I can tell you what the politicians have gained and what our global foes have gained. I can list the wins for the lobbyists, the polluters, Wall Street and trial lawyers. What about us, though? How, exactly, have we benefited from the continual focus on left and right, red and blue, us and them?
I have a ton of friends who are so caught up in the filter of politics that they cannot have a conversation without linking pretty much anything to their perceived foes, or saviors. We can’t be two minutes into a conversation before they’ll be telling me how Pelosi is to blame. Or Trump. Or Antifa. Or McConnell.
If the weather is warm, I get a comment about global warming. If it’s cold, I get a comment about, well, global warming. They rattle off political talking points like trained parrots, using the exact words and inflections AS SEEN ON TV!!!
If we want to form a more perfect union, we need to have a grown-up discussion or two about our challenges. There is a legitimate debate to be had about…
Well, we could have a grown-up discussion about these issues, but we don’t. All these issues hang interminably in limbo, because we refuse to have an adult conversation about anything today. The first rule of politics is that nobody talks about anything but politics.
There are no issues, only talking points.
There are no solutions, only sides.
Worst of all, we supposedly normal people buy into this nonsense. We divide the world between us and them, even though the “us” in question is a political tribe that might or might not really be our natural home.
Maybe it’s time for one of those paradigm shifts that the scientists like to promote. What if we considered new developments through the filter of morality or compassion, empathy or enlightened self-interest? What if we asked how we could make something work, rather than how to stop it at all costs?
We could make a ton of progress if we stopped accepting the “either/or” arguments that form the basis of political debate today. “Either/or” choices tend to be extreme, punitive, and pretty much unworkable in the real world. While we all retreat to our corners to wait for the next round of memes, our problems metastasize into crises.
These false dichotomies offer great benefits to politicians who raise funds and win votes by promising to fight for one or another option at all costs. Perversely, solving any of these problems would cost them money and support, which might be one reason that there is no sense of urgency about problem solving on Capitol Hill. If the issue is resolved, it's harder to raise money for the battle.
Could we protect the environment while also creating new jobs? Sure. Could we encourage entrepreneurship while restraining corporate abuses? Yup. Could we defend good cops and punish bad ones? Absolutely.
It’s not going to happen, though, until we can escape the political filter that drives our thinking and our conversations. As long as we echo their talking points and support their intransigence, we will end up serving their needs at the expense of our own.
When the residents of Jonestown “drank the Kool-Aid,” it’s likely that many of them didn’t realize it was poisoned. What’s our excuse?
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.