What is it you want, voter? Really, I want to know. Both sides. I don’t want you to tell me you want a particular person to deliver that want, or a big overarching philosophy. I want you to tell me what you value, why it is important to your life, and what you lack if you don’t have something. How are you diminished? Be very, very specific.
It is obvious we are a divided country. I think there’s no disagreement about that. But why? Obviously the mechanics of programming, a.k.a. brainwashing, a.k.a. propaganda, on all sides is a delivery system as well as a consequence. It can be benign or malevolent.
Regardless, it begs the question of what is it you see? Are you being told what you want to see, to reinforce your precious beliefs? What is missing in your life you think the government should provide? What threatens you?
WHO WANTS HELP
If you are a Trump voter and perceive you don’t like socialism and are in fear of that being delivered by Biden, are you willing to forfeit your Social Security? It is a social program, after all. If you are a farmer, are you willing to give up your subsidies? It is a social program, after all.
Certain kinds of tax deductions function as a socialistic mechanism to benefit income levels, which is to say you can have more money in your pocket because of being able to claim them on your income taxes. This goes for corporations that get tax incentives too!
You don’t view these mechanisms as socialism because it’s indirect as opposed to direct as a benefit. Do you think it’s possible to have “social” and economic programs that are socialistic in nature but don’t define us as a socialistic country?
Are you afraid of Black people? Hispanics? Gays? Straights? Are you afraid of educated people? If so, why? What is it you think you risk, or lose by their very existence?
For others, are you afraid of uneducated people? Are you afraid of the Christian right? Religious zealots? Search your hearts; those fleeting thoughts, the muscle tightening if “they” get too close, if they dominate.
If you could name three to five values that you feel have been lost or compromised, or fears you have about your world, what are they? Be very specific. I think it could help all of us repair this country.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Most Biden voters are afraid of autocracy or fascism, among many other things. Of that I know. From both ends of the extreme, there is an implied loss of freedom. But freedom of what, for what purpose?
What does freedom even mean? Do you believe there is a commensurate responsibility that accompanies such freedom? There’s really only one side here. But we have all been deluded, the left and the right, into thinking this is unresolvable. I don’t believe that it is. But we cannot continue even with a new president without addressing some of these questions.
Even if it’s just in our own minds and hearts initially, soul searching is required. Results will follow in due time. But here’s the rub: we have to be willing to discuss sanely, rationally without doing the “make wrong” or demonizing the other. And we have to be willing to compromise.
RECOVERING FROM ADOLESCENCE
If winning is the highest value, either by position or party, we all lose something, maybe even everything. If either side values winning a position above all else, worships a person above all else, is rigid, we continue to deteriorate as a nation. It can be the thing that breaks the country, possibly beyond repair.
But we have an opportunity now. Dig deep. We are all required to grow—and grow up—and to stop viewing ourselves as so bloody precious and righteous. I suggest, hope, and pray that we take this opportunity to examine ourselves. Even with Trump gone, there is a diseased body politic just juicing itself, itching for the next fight.
We all have to stop this madness. If not, we will be no more than children playing King Of The Mountain, illegitimate as a democracy, stuck in arrested development.
Profound questions all offered in the spirit of inquiry rather than shaming or blaming. We need a chance to explore the answers to all of them. If we don’t, I suspect we will lose what little faith we have in our country’s ability to represent our best selves.
Thanks, Mary. I really do hope that all of us will explore these questions in the depths of our own hearts, honestly and with humility.
Well said Rosalie. I continue to pray about these issues. Retired, I have time to read the WSJ and NYT as well as non-fiction on both sides of the divide. Somewhere in the midst of that lies some truth. One problem on each side of the divide is that effective wordsmiths (speakers and writers) tend to be taken at their word regardless of what lies beneath. Even humor is frequently used as an effective weapon. May we all be blessed with more authenticity in ourselves and our leaders by the grace of God.
Thanks, Bob. We all have to keep the faith and do what we can to improve this situation.
I think it’ll take time to get perspective and relaxation around these ideas which are crucial to be clear about. For me, I had to stop with the news over two months ago for the sake of my health. Four years of political noise and overwrought emotions around this have affected me physically. I’m done for now. I’m truly enjoying the feeling of peace I have now that the election is over and things seem to be sorting themselves out around the country. As for covid, it’s a day at a time thing for me. I do all I can to stay safe and keep family safe. Only time will tell with any of it. But in the meantime, I’m creating as much peace as I can in my life.
It’s a good plan, Cate. I’ve gone back and forth myself over the last four years. Suffice it to say, like so many things in life, it truly is a day at a time.