“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” ~ John F. Kennedy
While what John Kennedy said makes sense, the prospects of that happening in an uneducated society is slim. A part of the difficulty lies with those who don’t understand the ideologies they insist they believe in. And it is made more complicated that they understand even less about other ideologies they’ve been bullied into being afraid of. By saying that, I don’t mean that all fears are irrational. But they do tend to begin to appear that way once you get people talking to you about what is inside their belief disorders.
People often get emotional over terms such as “fascism” and “communism”, but cannot intelligently tell you what they mean. The same is true with the words: “liberal” and “conservative”. In fact, some people who insist they are strongly one or the other, fail to recognize when their emotions have carried them to the exactly opposite position. Examples of this are when fiscal “conservatives” are against measures of conservation, and fiscal “liberals” are against measures of liberalism. When it comes down to “social” liberals and conservatives, logic often breaks down into differences of superstitions and dogma.
Irrational “phobic” behavior empowers dominators (bullies) who cannot sustain themselves without the control of the fearful people that do the bully’s work for them. And the phobics depend on the bullies, too. A lot of that dependence is the illusion of being protected from the other bullies. A system like that allows gangs of dominators to assume huge chunks of power.
Some bullies are just “intermediate” or go-between bullies. They have no real power themselves other than the appearance of support from some higher bully that they themselves are afraid of. So it seems to get worse when the elected officials, though often seen as the bullies themselves, are also members of the large subset of phobic and uneducated people, such as we have in congress today. This continues in spite of the huge disapproval congress receives from the American people. And that disapproval has been in the red for a very long time, no matter which polls are consulted:
The irony of all this is, that for my entire adult life, I’ve been hearing the man on the street yelling: “Throw the bums out!” But doesn’t it seem apparent that when they do, they just seem to replace one bully with another one? The new guy gets the lobby dollars instead of the old guy, and representation seems to continue to favor whoever can afford to pay for the influence, doesn’t it?
Kennedy’s suggestion to “…seek the right answer”, and “…accept our own responsibility…” would direct us to the intelligent process of open dialogue. That’s a far cry from just the art of rhetoric, which is a principal tool of argumentation and debate.
The goal in collegiate debate is to win. And just as in the game of basketball, it is particularly important to do EVERYTHING YOU CAN to prevent the opposition from scoring any points, even if that means to use some of your “maximum number of allowable fouls”. They actually admit it to be the reason for obstructing progress, a thing most reasonable people would be ashamed of in ANY setting other than a mere game.
So is governance now reduced to being just a game? Are the fans on the sidelines yelling battle words at each other and praying to the Most High for a victory to boast about? Is that it? If it’s a game, that means it’s playtime–it’s not important. But some feel what we have at stake about what we choose to allow and disallow IS important. After all, for some it is a matter of life and death.
While I continue to hope (wishful thinking?) they will do better at some time in the future, I’m reminded of something George Bernard Shaw said a long time ago:
“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”