Looking Left and Right: The “Art” of Opposition Pt 1



Men often oppose a thing, merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike. But if they have been consulted, and have happened to disapprove, opposition then becomes, in their estimation, an indispensable duty of self-love. They seem to think themselves bound in honor, and by all the motives of personal infallibility, to defeat the success of what has been resolved upon contrary to their sentiments. Men of upright, benevolent tempers have too many opportunities of remarking, with horror, to what desperate lengths this disposition is sometimes carried, and how often the great interests of society are sacrificed to the vanity, to the conceit, and to the obstinacy of individuals, who have credit enough to make their passions and their caprices interesting to mankind. Perhaps the question now before the public may, in its consequences, afford melancholy proofs of the effects of this despicable frailty, or rather detestable vice, in the human character.



It’s a matter of public record that Republican leaders decided even before Obama took office that their path to power lay in total and immediate opposition to his agenda.

What happened to the public good, with elected officials actually working on behalf of the nation’s best interests? A process which has almost always required compromise and mutual respect has now become not a quaint relic of our political past but anathema to a too-large group of both elected officials and citizens. Do any of them ever consider what happens when this legislative, problem-solving approach actually “works” as they intend?

Since 2009 … the GOP has given unprecedented scope to those who for their own ideological, financial, or psychological reasons refuse to allow disagreements to be managed.

Blind loyalty and stubborn insistence on “my way or no way” negotiations and conversations are not consequence-free pursuits. When one party to an issue refuses to even approach the table to try and find ways of resolving the problem at hand, then … what exactly are the benefits to anyone in allowing challenges to remain unaddressed? Who decided that allowing problems to grow worse was the wisest course of action?




The embarrassing, shameful, and narrow-minded obstruction and opposition the Republican Party decided would be its legislative response to all things Obama over the past eight years may have been a successful approach when viewed from the lens of denying the nation an appreciation for the progress a majority of voters sought—twice. But if that is the sum total of GOP victory celebrations, we’re going to be paying a price for that for a long time to come. What awaits us all during a Hillary Clinton Administration?

Can we count on this same approach in business? Some employees decide they don’t like a management decision and are willing to bring their company down to preserve their views by whatever means necessary? Team members don’t like coaching methods so they willingly throw a game or two to make their feelings known? Can we now routinely cheat, lie, refuse to cooperate or compromise with our spouses or significant others to ensure we always get our way and only our way, regardless of the merits of the other’s perspective?

What are we teaching the generations to follow by relying upon obstinate, dismissive treatment of anyone whose suggestions, preferences, and actions are not completely consistent with our own? How do those steadfastly refusing to cooperate when cooperation is precisely what’s needed justify making matters worse for more of us? At what point do we decide that ignorance and selfishness aren’t the ideal methods of getting us all from Point A to Point B?

Compromise and cooperation are not quite the savage dismantling of one’s reason for being as seems to be inferred by a continuing insistence on defending one’s group, preferences, ideologies, or needs no matter what.

In a nation of such great complexity and promise as ours, shouldn’t we start considering consequences more thoughtfully than we do now—before we have to deal with them?


~ My Photo: Sunset at Good Harbor Beach, MA 09.02.16


Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows

Be the change you want in the world Gandhi

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything Albert Einstein


~ ~ ~

Our contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.

As each side bordering the political chasm digs in ever deeper to engage in skirmishes whose intensities and potential consequences seem to have no end point in sight, we should be wondering with greater urgency what sort of “community” will emerge from the wreckage. How are we preparing ourselves to pursue opportunities and provide for the well-being of our families when so much energy is dissipated in battles where nonsense is the primary weapon?

Assuming the future still matters to at least most of us, perhaps a momentary pause to consider where current choices will lead is called for….Ignoring legitimate real-world challenges, denying they exist, or making absurd, ignorant claims to defend unconscionable political tactics will not affect the arrival of those problems in the least. Widespread impacts will be following close behind. Do we continue the ideological battles, or decide to meet the challenges by cooperating as needed?

That there’s no chance whatsoever of gaining ground in any meaningful way seems to be routinely overlooked. So too do these battles offer nothing but the creation of more problems for us all in the years to come.

* I invite you to enjoy my two books [here and here], and to view my other   blogs–at this website [see the link above] and also at Peak Oil Matters