Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

(I just changed my fractal image - over to the left.)

The political atmosphere these days is ugly - not just in the United States, but in Britain as well.  The British decision, at least, is almost over:  tomorrow, the UK votes on what has been nicknamed Brexit, the decision whether to leave the European Union or remain.  Regardless of which way Britain decides, however, I suspect there will be fallout, name-calling, repercussions ... everyone taking facts and twisting them to suit their particular variant of "I told you so."

The United States is in a battle that will continue for months more, of course, with two major candidates who are both polarizing figures with huge personalities.  This latter muddies the waters even further:  the personal and the political spill over into each other.  And this battle now occurs around the metaphorical wreckage of a national tragedy.

Everyone wants a solution, but in the shouting and anxieties, the very human desire for that solution to be *simple*, proponents of one side have forgotten that "everyone wants a solution" applies to the other side, too.  No one is saying, "Eh, this is just the way it is."  There's no cosmic battle for good and evil going on in the political realm, wherein the belief you espouse makes you a villain or a hero.

This is not a new phenomenon, but it seems to be even worse this election cycle.  Republicans and Democrats alike paint each other as the enemy (idiotic, heartless, ruthless, oblivious, sanctimonious, lazy) without making that basic assumption which allows for dialogue and thought:  my opponent has their own line of logic.  There's another way of looking at this issue besides my own.

Again, it's human nature.  I talked in the previous blog post about the deep discomfort most people have with states outside of the binary ... what about people who agree with Republicans on some issues, Democrats with others?  In the current climate, you'd better swallow your outlier position or risk accusations and imprecations.

(The partial answer to this, of course, is that there are third parties, but their electability is slim at best, and it's still very possible to disagree with certain positions.  Parties align themselves according to certain fundamental principles - that human desire to organize and label, again - but individual humans are more than capable of holding specific positions that contradict generic guidelines.  We're flexible like that.)

I've stayed out of discussions personally, but I'm unable to escape the lure of reading them.  It's the worst of pulp (non)fiction.  It turns my stomach, makes me want to grab people by the shoulders and shake them.  True, there are some people who are genuinely twisted or self-interested to the point of being dangerous ... but I'd like to think that percentage is very small, and that more progress will be achieved by assuming that your opponent is operating in good faith.

If there's been any upside to this election cycle for me, it's that it has forced me to personally examine my positions and figure out where I stand - and what impact each position has.  I may choose not to think about it, but I've brought passion and rational thought together, and I hope others do the same.

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