I guess the world has always been filled with divisions. That goes for every level of society; the line runs through families, religions, politics and I guess in intellectual institutions, the inner wrangling can be the worst, perhaps because large Egos can be involved. Today, it seems to be worse, though most likely this not true. We just have information and news overload day in and day out. being bombarded with on the spot reporting. Over stimulation can lead to fatigue, at least it can for me.
“Conservative” and “Liberal” are big labels today and the media likes to use them in ways that I feel does not conform to reality. In fact I know very few pure anything when it comes to politics; though I am sure there are some out there who identify completely with the liberal and conservative label, I just don’t know any. Now in an argument, well, people can put up some pretty hasty fences in order to get their point across, which leads to the other opponent in the conversation (or shouting match, take you pick), to put their own together. A little emotion can go a long way in building some pretty complicated structures and then giving them a simplistic designation.
A liberal Democrat for instance, who happens to be Christian, can be liberal on many social issues, but conservative when it comes to the ‘right to life movement’, which is just one obvious and easily noticed item. Most people work from deeply held values, which are a little more nuanced and at times hard to label, though it is done anyway.
I suppose (and I include myself in this) one problem that our species has is a tendency to believe (often on an unconscious level) that (for the individual) whatever is believed at this time, is somehow infallible and those who do not agree… well they are simply wrong! I think the internet shows this in all of its inglorious reality. Intelligent people, often with fake names and no email address, can feel free to pontificate on any subject, no matter who is offended or how correct their opponent’s opinion happens to be. This goes for just about any internet web page that has a definite slant that is pro or con anything, which is of course is understandable, being manned by humans after all. I suppose this is most easily seen on racist sites, or others religious sites like the Westborough Baptist Church. Each of us has a voice now, which can be written, or spoken, on the World Wide Web and large audiences can be reached; something impossible in the past. Whether this is good or not…. well, each will have to be the judge of that.
Perhaps we are going through a growing phase and will grow into some kind of communication style that is more mature and reasonable, though I think that is wishful thinking. I know what I get like when I put up my own fence, then there is my helmet and sword…..yes I am a fierce one…well not really. I am really bad at debate of any kind; I have no gift for it. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have that much faith in what I believe, (I tend to be comfortable with doubt, it helps me search deeper, instead of jettisoning the tradition I have grown up in. It is a call to deeper study, pondering and prayer), to be able to argue about it with conviction with someone who speaks with absolute surety…..yes it is a weakness I know. It seems to get worse as I get older. It does not mean that I don’t have my episodes when I attempt to debate, I just have a hard time putting lots of energy into it. For, after all, how many times can a certain kind of archetypal argument, be stated, without it becoming a mind numbing routine? So, I am really bad at any kind of extended debate… say one that goes for more than three minutes. Perhaps I am burned out, for in my younger days, in my early 50s, I did debate some, enough to want to stop not long after I started.
I have my own struggle with my personal infallibility and more often than I would like to say, I fail miserably at trying to keep it in check, though it is expressed only on the subjective level most of the time. Though I do have my moments…. perhaps it is because I am still going through the mid-life change (though I can’t use that excuse much longer, since I will soon be 62). So perhaps, at times, we just have to fight and yell at each other and in the meantime something worthwhile actually gets said and someone listens and some progress is made. It must happen, for after all we are still here aren’t we? How much longer, well, we will just have to wait until the next installment.
Also, by the way, before anyone tells me the obvious, yes….I am….a political moron….don’t get half the stuff out there, though I try to follow. Yet each side tends to cancel each other out with their pronouncements. Sort of like matter and anti-matter meeting in a dark alley…….just a lot of nothing. While meanwhile the average man (me in spades) feels confused and often angry. In the end, though I know it is unfair and yes I am being infallible (in the worst possible way) in saying this, I have come to the ‘emotional’ conclusion that ‘all’ politicians are corrupt, or will become so once they get a little power under their belt. There I said it! So I don’t believe in any of the ads, just get tired of the negative ones; which by the way, according to them, the above statement about corruption is spot on.
Perhaps our form of government is based on the worst possible understanding of human nature. So the three branches while looking for power for themselves, strive to keep the other two branches from getting too much influence….thereby some semblance of order and balance is achieved. So perhaps the system works after all (!)……imagine that. Though nothing lasts forever and one day sooner or later, the USA will vanish, perhaps into just a lot of small countries that were once States, then the bickering will really begin!