||[Oct. 11th, 2008|12:23 pm]
The social climate both on and offline has pushed me to wax philosophical.|
Please forgive me.
As I consider it, I believe much of my personal ambivalence towards politics as a whole stems from an underlying disdain for partisanship.
The words "conservative" and "liberal" have become convenient blanket terms for "Everything I'm For" and "Everything I'm Against". These broad lines give folks an intellectual crutch that allows them to bypass independent thought and lead to little but uniform divisiveness.
Interestingly, in cases where a person views a particular faction as "Just Enough of the Things I'm For", they tend to automatically toss the opposing faction into the "Everything I'm Against" pile.
Demonizing those that hold different viewpoints than your own is a fast road to short-sightedness. Regardless of where your particular inclinations lie, those that think differently are *not* evil, and they are almost certainly *not* stupid. Every idea they propose should not make you fume with anger. Anger is not a constructive state of mind; nor is its offspring, self-righteousness.
Given the will to do so, how does one change this seemingly pervading system of black and white thought? My suggestion would be to start in the single most important and powerful place -- within yourself.
If you find yourself becoming quick to anger at the words of others, try taking a deep breath and consider what it is that is actually being said.
Try to mentally remove the labels associated with public figures before hearing what they have to say.
Think about what it is that actually matters to you in your day-to-day life.
I think George Washington had the right idea:
They [political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.