Tag Archive for Democratic party

DN=: Part 1–Does Not Equal

Perhaps, like me, you have noticed a preponderance of equal signs lately, on Facebook and elsewhere.  I have also noticed a link between the equal sign and false accusations of “hatred, bigotry and ignorance” being directed at people who are not necessarily on board with the equal sign.

 

This got me to thinking about people and their differences.  Obviously, there’s a whole bunch of us on this planet, and we are all unique, as are our experiences and perspectives.  We all see life a little bit differently, yet it seems that we all also carry with us the assumption that everyone sees life in exactly the same way.

 

I expect this is our natural self-centeredness at work.  If someone doesn’t share our point of view, well, then there must be something wrong with that person.

 

This much is natural, but it seems that in this generation our society has taken this concept to absurd extremes.  Simple misunderstandings of diverse points of view have become breeding grounds for character judgments and demonization.

 

This progression has given birth to the phenomenon known as political correctness, in which people speak in code words with the purpose of not offending others, unless they feel offended themselves, in which case there is another set of code words with which they can label and demonize their opponents without taking the time to hear them out.

 

Anyone else see a disconnect here?

 

I may have found a way to disarm this bomb, however.  If we are speaking with integrity, that is, if we say exactly what we mean and mean exactly what we say, then in theory, we have eliminated the possibility for misunderstanding.

 

One problem with this theory however—people who speak in code also assume that you are doing it as well.  So rather than hearing what you say, which is exactly what you meant to say, much mental energy is wasted trying to figure out your hidden agenda, when you don’t even have one.

 

So I guess that in order to better understand each other, what we need are some clear definitions of the words we say and the thoughts and intentions behind them.  To this end, I have come up with my own variation of the equal sign: the DN= (Does Not Equal).  The purpose of DN= is to clarify the motives behind our words to be more thoroughly heard, and therefore, better understood.

 

To illustrate the DN= principle, let’s start with a word all Americans know–freedom.

 

(And that’s just what we’ll do, if you come back for DN= Part 2!)

 

Us and Them: Part 3–Need

Now we come to the heart of it.  There really is no “them.”  There is just one big “us.”  We all need the same things, though we need them in different ways.  We need to be loved, we need to feel safe, and we need to know that we have hope for our future.

 

However, whenever we place our trust in worldly things that divide us into “us” and “them,” we will always be disappointed, because our needs will not be met.

 

We won’t feel loved if someone hates us because we hated them first.  We won’t feel safe if we feel that someone is out to get us.  And if we feel neither loved nor safe in the present, then it becomes virtually impossible to have hope for the future.  We become depressed, desperate.  We look for somebody to blame.  So we create a “them.”

 

It doesn’t meet any of our needs to have a “them,” but at least we feel better about ourselves in the moment we are condemning “them.”  We feel better, because if there is a “them,” that means there is an “us.”  And “we” are “one of us.”

 

In other words, we feel like we belong to something.  And belonging is kind of like being loved, right?

 

So next, we want to be safe.  The only way for “us” to be safe is for “us” to protect ourselves against “them.”  Therefore, there needs to be more of “us.”  So we need to tell everybody we meet that if they’re not one of “us,” then they’re one of “them.”  And you don’t want to be one of “them,” do you?  Because if you’re one of “them,” then, well, you’re not one of “us.”

 

Does that sound a lot like the current political climate to you?  Are you as unsatisfied with it as I am?  Well, here’s the reason why.

 

You can pretend that you are loved by creating an artificial sense of belonging to an “us.”  You can pretend that you are safe by surrounding yourself with more of “us.”  Nevertheless, even if you can delude yourself that far, what you can’t do by yourself is fulfill your third need—hope for the future.

 

Enter the politicians.  They play on your first two needs by creating two teams, Republican and Democrat, or if you like, “us” and “them” (or “them” and “us,” depending on which party you belong to).

 

By declaring your party affiliation, you belong.  Then the party to which you belong will remind you that you need to be kept safe from “them,” so that you can have . . . wait for it . . . A HOPE AND A FUTURE!

 

Isn’t that politics in a nutshell?  Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign was pure genius in that he distilled the fears of a nation to a single word—“HOPE.”  Then he set down the means of providing hope also to a single word—“CHANGE.”

 

Now before you go beating up on Barack Obama for the HOPE/CHANGE thing, be honest for a minute.  Doesn’t every politician do a variation of the same thing?

 

Obama’s approach was the simplest and most literal, but they all play on the people’s need to have a hope and a future.  The main difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats say the government provides hope for your future, and the Republicans say they provide the means for government to get out of your way so that you can create your own hope and future.

 

Guess what?  They’re both wrong.

 

(OK, so now what?  Come back for Part 4–Love)

 

Us and Them: Part 1–Election Season

 

Election years are a trying time for everybody, but I find them particularly painful.  As a Truthseeker, I am always looking to end arguments by finding the common ground. 

 

Unfortunately, our political process has no interest whatsoever in providing us with that.  Our two-party system virtually guarantees an us-vs.-them mindset.  This can only lead to two things:

 

 1.      Polarization, where everything the other side does is completely evil, so instead of promoting your own ideas, you waste time bashing your opponents by attacking them personally rather than their policies.

2.      When your polls start dropping from the mudslinging, and the public starts to sympathize with your opponent, then you let the pendulum swing back toward the middle and call yourself a “moderate.”  There may be such a thing as an actual moderate, but more often than not, it’s somebody that was once far right or left that has compromised his principles to curry favor with voters whose lives he cares little, if anything, about.

 

A tension that I struggle with all the time, but especially in election season, is the temptation to hate people who disagree with me politically.  The thing is, as a Truthseeker, I generally stay out of the political arena (where truth is seldom, if ever, found). 

 

However, it seems unavoidable in election season that whenever you voice a view, no matter how pure your intentions, whoever is on the receiving end of it is sure to put some kind of political spin on it.  Next thing you know, you’re in an argument.

 

As I have said before, a Truthseeker must never argue.  The minute that we are convinced that we are right and nothing can convince us otherwise, we cut ourselves off from receiving new information.  It could be that the one thing we don’t know is the one thing we need to know to lead us to the truth. 

 

Furthermore, if you become convinced that your limited knowledge is all that you need to know, you will resent anybody who is trying to educate you, because you will have the perception that he is “trying to push his views down your throat.”  Your emotional reaction will be one of hostility. 

 

What will happen next is that you will project your hostility toward that individual in that moment onto the view itself, and by extension, everyone else who holds that view.  That is how you make the election of creating a “them.” 

 

(What happens next? Come back for Part 2–Popping the Bubble)