Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Little Moderation

The last few years have brought about such an outpouring of political frustration due to the perceived brokenness of the political system. From the virulent incoherence of the TEA Party movement to the wildly undefined OWS uprising, it has become clear that we as a nation have reached our frustration limits with the status quo. Politicians on both sides are doing their utmost to capitalize on the events either flattering and attempting to align, or damning and holding their opponents responsible. I have yet to see any politician who truly gets it and realizes that "the people" are fed up with being lied to and manipulated for the gain of the few by both politicians and corporations.

While I cannot find a way to align with either side in the social war. Both are too fragmented and to extreme. While on the one side, I want "government" to leave me alone even though I am a quasi-government employee (the state government claims educators when it wants to and disowns us when it is more convenient), but I do believe I should pay my fair share of taxes. I think I am grossly underpaid for the work that I do, but I opted to go to college and earn three degrees directly related to my present position - with the full knowledge that I would be grossly underpaid for my entire work life. I made the choice and quite happily live with it.

Discontent, though, creates dangerous conditions. Benjamin Franklin said, "a mob's a monster, heads enough but no brains." While both organizations appear to have structure, the extremists in each do a remarkable job of making both seem much more threatening than either likely is.

I have tried to come up with a clear definition for either one.

As best as I can define it, the one seeks social justice for themselves alone and the other seeks social justice 1950's Mississippi style.

Both perceive their own hurt to be so personal they cannot rationally comprehend any other viewpoint, and logic long ago fell victim to passion.

None of the leaders in this generation have experienced the level of acrimony from the public masses as is demonstrated in congressional town meetings, electoral debates, the vitriol of talk radio and the slanted coverage of news stations. Everywhere bias dominates the public forum and I have to wonder how much social media has to do with it. A couple years ago, a sociologist released a report/book on how we have segregated ourselves into interest groups. We have moved into neighborhoods of like people. We attend churches with like believers, we get our news from stations that support our political positions, and we friend or follow others who reinforce our values. No wonder we are such angry people as we constantly feed our emotion with fearsome fodder regardless of its nutritional value.

I long for leaders who have the strength to lead with one another over the din around them - leaders with the intelligence to understand the sound and fury of disillusionment and do what it takes to restore trust somewhere in the moderate middle - someone who is able to appeal to me.
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