by Leigh Bravo 8/29/14
I recently attended my monthly book club group, which is comprised of women from differing political persuasions, including but not necessarily limited to conservatives and liberals. We can have some interesting discussions, as you might expect, especially when the topic broaches anything political.
But today, in this current polarized atmosphere, what might have been interesting, informative and polite conversations that dispense at the end of the evening with the world’s problems solved, they tend to morph into disagreements and in some cases, hurt feelings, frustration and anger.
I have always felt that women can discuss issues, contemplate solutions and together solve just about any problem. We all have many things in common and of course as mothers and care takers, we have the ability to step back and see the path that must be taken in order to spare the lives of our children and make the world a safer place for future generations. We are not interested in war, but would have no hesitation in stepping up to the plate if our families or our way of life were threatened. In the past, after a banner evening of solving the ills of the world, I’ve left convinced that if women could rule the world; it would be a much better place.[pullquote]Why are we otherwise so determined to spread the misinformation and rhetoric that is fed to us by the very politicians and media who are determined to take control of every aspect of our lives?[/pullquote]
So, what has created such a wall between us on the political front? We’ve always known differences were there, but now they’ve somehow taken root and grown into a wall of vines so thick that we are unable to see through them. What has pushed us into our respective corners, causing a rift that cannot be resolved? What has caused such polarization?
What is polarization?
In politics, polarization refers to the divergence of political attitudes to ideological extremes, a sharp division into opposing factions.
I have been guilty of angry responses to angry attacks on my beliefs. Why? When you take the time to thoroughly research the facts on an issue facing the country, you expect some thoughtful discussion. You expect someone to listen before they attack. We cannot all take the monumental amount of time required to research each and every issue facing the United States today. Yet instead of listening to those who have some expertise on a subject and asking questions or adding additional useful information to the debate, we choose to respond with anger, shut them down or we close our minds and refuse to hear. Why? Most Americans want to discuss the state of our Union, not for political gain, monetary gain, or power, but for the simple reason that they love this country and are concerned for her future. Why are we otherwise so determined to spread the misinformation and rhetoric that is fed to us by the very politicians and media who are determined to take control of every aspect of our lives?
We will always have differing views as long as there are people on this planet. But why has polarization become so commonplace? I believe the situation has become formidable because of the atmosphere fabricated by the very leaders we have elected to protect us. Our leaders have irresponsibly, but very purposefully, used our emotional responses to current events against us. Ultimately they use the disharmony they’ve created to manipulate us into playing a game they have invented where the winners have been pre-determined: them. I know it’s a cliché, but “divide and conquer” has become a reality in today’s political climate.
As Americans, must be able to recognize the leaders who use polarization for their own political ends. We must resist the urge to be manipulated and instead work towards a common goal and find solutions that make the country stronger, without demonizing those who disagree. Don’t we all want what is best for our Country? Don’t we all want a world where our children and we are not bogged down in debt and allowed to live the lives we choose without government interference?
We have to recognize that politicians, special interest groups and the media have one thing on their mind: winning and expanding their own wallets.
We must remember that the United States is a Republic and our founding fathers fought and died for a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It was not founded on a government controlled by a “few,” benefiting the “few” and growing so large that the “few” govern the people.
We must remember that we all have differing views based on personal life experiences, therefore resulting in our belief in, or support of specific solutions that we feel or have had success in using. We cannot only look towards those who believe as we do, but seek out those who believe differently and listen to their points of view. We must offer the opportunity for those of an opposing view to explain their position, offer the facts supporting their stance and in turn offer ours. Solutions can only be reached and supported when all opinions are heard, respected, discussed, considered, and backed by fact not political rhetoric.
Why are we so opposed to hearing the facts when they go against the very agenda that our politicians are pushing? Why do we have such blind faith in what our leaders tell us? Are their claims backed by fact or are they just using their power to further divide us on the issues in order to control us? Do our leaders have a history of lying? I think we all know the obvious answer to that question.
We have been purposefully divided by race, religion, ethnicity, sexual preference and gender.
Statistics currently show that Americans have no faith in their political leaders. So why do we continue to vote for them and allow them to dictate the rules of the game while refusing to discuss the actual facts, and enact the very solutions that will serve the general good? Why do we continue to demonize and shut down the American citizens who only want what is best for our country yet put blind faith in the leaders who go to the extreme to keep us in the dark?
Have they trained us so well, that we no longer recognize manipulation at its worse? Have they manipulated us so well that we continue to believe and allow the media to misinform the very public they vowed to inform? The media who took an oath to provide a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues through honesty and integrity? Where is the outrage? Where is the demand for change? Why do we allow these leaders, special interests and the media to make the rules that will ultimately cut us out of the game and result in our own demise?
Unfortunately, America has become a place of apathetic individuals easily manipulated because we have been distracted from the real issues at hand. As technologically advanced as we have become, it boggles the mind that the “masses” have time to scroll through the lives of the many on Facebook, but no time to educate themselves in the matters that will affect their lives and their children’s lives for generations to come.
When we allow politicians, special interest groups and the media to lie to the American people, create negative ads attacking honest opponents falsely, making promises they have no intention of keeping, all without consequences, the American people are the real losers.
When we allow the media to be bought, sold and controlled by one political faction, to pick and choose the stories they want to report, to omit stories that do not put their agenda in a positive light, to report the news with their own personal political slant, then the American people are the real losers.
When we allow the government to become corrupt, operate with no consequences or accountability, employ friends and supporters without adequate experience, spend our money irresponsibly, tie our hands with regulations and taxes, and repress our constitutional rights, then the American people are the real losers.
When we allow our educational system to expose our children to only one political philosophy, to pick and choose the history they want to teach, to suppress their freedom of speech and religion, to teach our children what to think and not how to think, the American people are the real losers.
We must recognize that in order to raise a generation of real thinkers, problem solvers, and our future leaders, we must expose them to every view, every side of the story, and allow them to decide what is best for them, their families and our Nation. We will not raise true leaders and problem solvers by denying exposure to all the facts, ignoring history or by demonizing those with differing views. The United States cannot remain the true example of freedom to the world or maintain our position of power when we systematically allow our government to become our jailers.
It is time for the left and the right to come together as the people of the United States against our common enemy and demand that our government hand us back the keys to the castle and take up their rightful position in servitude to the American people as our constitution demands!
Leigh Bravo blogs at The Trumpet.