Thursday, October 27, 2016

2016: My Political Endgame

I have been trying to coalesce my thoughts on the current election I have found it difficult to do in discussion - There is just too much emotion, FUD (an old geek term. Stands for Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. Refers especially to rhetoric or propaganda designed to instill those feeling in people in order to control their choices by keeping them off-balance, in fight-or-flight mode, unable to employ critical thinking.)

So, I am going to try here.

In 1971, Philip Zimbardo performed a human behavior experiment now famously known as the Stanford Prison Experiment. The purpose was to study the psychological effects of prison on prisoners. A group of volunteer students were separated into two groups- prisoners and guards. The experiment was terminated early, when things got out of hand.

The Dr. Zimbardo later published a book, chronicling the events, and drawing comparisons to some of the most heinous acts of human mistreatment by other humans at Darfur, Abu Ghraib,  The byline for the book is "Understanding how good people turn evil". And it shares frightening examples of American soldiers with excellent records - good, decent people - engaging in dehumanization and torture.

You see, there are some characteristics we humans have.
1) We organize and classify. We place things into buckets. Black, White, Male, Female, Old, Young, Spanish, German, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Atheist...
2) We inherently seek our own personal self-interest. "People don't do things to others, they do thing for themselves".
3) We form groups. We associate with others, we are essential herd/pack animals (yes, even us social anxiety suffering introverts have an innate need for human connection).
4) We build filters through which we evaluate all information. Those filters are constructed from personal experience, from information provided by peers and parent figures, and from repetition (which is why advertisers pay so much to keep their brand in front of your face).

Because of these characteristics, it is incredibly hard for us to avoid classifying one or more groups as us vs. them. good vs. evil. (And yes, as a christian, I do believe in evil, and "them:.To me evil is the absence of good, just as dark is the absence of light. And them are those who chose to fight against God and became The devil and his angels, who seek to  lead humanity away from Love, peace, and joy).

But the simple reality is this world is imperfect, we are imperfect, we make mistakes we try our best. Most people are just trying to do the right thing, to the best of their knowledge - That is why we were given the planet and placed here. To learn, to experience to improve...

Okay, enough back story. To the current election:

Disclosure: I am  not a Democrat. I am Not a Republican. I am not a Libertarian. I don't like political parties. I believe they are a natural outgrowth of the aforementioned human characteristics. I believe they put us at risk of creating the precise conditions which lead to "The Lucifer Effect".

The two main parties are becoming increasingly polarized. Continuing on this path will inevitably lead to violence in the name of "the greater good". History is replete with examples of this.

Liberals - Conservatives are not evil incarnate. I know many good conservatives who are just trying to make sure our governmental system is fair for everyone, corruption is prevented.

Conservatives - Liberal are not evil incarnate. I know many good Liberals who are just trying to make sure our governmental system is fair for everyone, corruption is prevented.

Yes, there are differences of opinion, but they are not nearly so enormous as you have been lead to believe. You have been misled by FUD, by propaganda. You have been led to believe that "They" are inferior, selfish, self-serving, greedy, lazy, manipulative.... evil. "They" - mostly - aren't.

The world won't end if the other side wins. Every thing they can do can be undone.  Laws can be revoked. Supreme Court Justices can be impeached (not easy, not impossible). Any political leader can be removed from office by the united will of the people, should the united people find said leaders behavior not in accordance with the ideals for which we strive.

The real threat to America is continuing on this path of divisiveness. of allowing the relatively few, angry outliers to dictate our policy, our mores.

So, my endgame for this election - my hope is that enough people will vote for neither party. In doing so, a clear message will be sent that we the people don't approve of their behavior. That we the people will no longer continue to live the current status quo. That we the people want to come together, to understand one another, and find compromise - a choice which respects everyone, to the extent possible.

I believe most people are good. I believe most people want peace, I believe most people want their neighbor to live in peace. I believe we just need to find a way to overcome those human characteristics. I believe this is true of  Americans, Chinese, Russians, Syrians.... I believe we, the people of the world, can be better then this. I don't think it will happen until we can set aside the artificial gangs we create. I believe it can happen.

My endgame looks beyond the next year, the next 4 years, the next 30 years...

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
- John 13:34-35

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