When you look at the current political situations in America, or Europe at this point, it has not been this polarized since the mid-1800s. Regardless of what anyone would argue has caused it, be it bankers or politicians, it has done nothing for us except to absolutely crush all the institutions that have elevated humankind as a whole.
Jonathan Haidt recently completed an interesting study involving morals and politics. An overview of his findings can be found in this TED talk, The moral mind. In essence, when we begin to believe that whatever our particular political positions are, they are also SACRED, we can no longer compromise or negotiate with the “other sides”. In other words, there are no further negotiations possible to solve the real problems we are facing in our local communities, and more importantly, the issues facing our various countries. No comprise is possible because we have God on our side and there is no way we will yield our sacred views. Therefore it is our way or the highway. We see this as the main element of the crisis in the Middle East conflicts, the current situations in the EU, and the paralyzed state of American politics.
We have all fallen victim to this phenomena because basically we lie to ourselves about our own self-righteousness and to be more candid, our laziness in doing the critical thinking, as individuals, about the real problems we are facing.
Make no mistake, we are ALL facing these problems globally together and as we become more polarized, the problems are only getting worse. We can really allow ourselves not to be outraged at what is happening in Syria, or more close to home, what is happening in our own backyards because we have the moral high ground, and somehow our God will reward us for our steadfastness. There is no doubt our education and welfare systems are crumbling. Our economies are in the tank and the “middle class” of both the US and Europe is being utterly destroyed.
A more important issue is that this phenomena is being exploited by the ½% elite class. That is not even debatable. It is as simple as looking at a chart like this from the US to realize who is benefiting from this trend.
What is more disturbing is the fact we can’t even look at this issue without feeling morally superior about our current belief systems. This is the reality of how we have made sacred our particular position, albeit “conservative or liberal”, ‘facist or socialist”, Christian or Arab, secular or non-secular.
Because we are so “dug in” none of the issues are really getting addressed. Nothing is really getting done to “fix” our problems simply because we refuse to really have open discussions in which we try to see “the other guy’s” position as valid in anyway.
The results so far have been a disaster. We are becoming economic slaves and our governmental institutions are paralyzed and dysfunctional, our institutes of education are crumbling and we are locked in what seems as endless global conflicts. No time in the history of man has our future looked so bleak. Never before in the history of man has a father looked at their child and know their child’s future is NOT going to better. What are we doing?
This attitude has become our chains, and our lack of demanding honest compromise to solve the world’s problems has become our prison. Can we not see this? We have the ability to join hands and tackle problems. The spirit of WWII, the response to 911, the communities gathering together in disasters like Katrina or the Japanese earthquake and tsunami clearly demonstrate our true human nature.
Because the economic or political situations unfold less dramatically, we are like frogs being slowly boiled. I honestly have no idea how I or anyone else can get us collectively see this current situation for what it really is, but at least I can express my ideas and hope. After all, many times in the past, it was only hope that got us through. Where we are all common and share a common belief is the reality of our own families and their futures.
Let’s not let those who wish to characterize any of us as “evil” have a voice at all. Let’s demand our politicians begin discussing where the compromises can be achieved or they can no longer represent us. Let’s not support bankers who will not begin to serve our communities, instead of themselves. It is time, and quite frankly there is no time left.
It is my sincere hope that somehow what I am saying can resonate with people. It really is up to us. There are no Gods or Aliens going to rescue us. We must do this ourselves and to start we must respect each other’s opinions and then say it. We must not allow this polarization to continue one more minute. Start by talking in this manner to someone who does NOT share your views. We are all talking to our own camps when we should be talking with the “other side”. This is not about party or faith, but mankind as a whole. The answers are there and the future can be extremely bright for all if we can “work” the problems as a whole. This is what I pray for every day.