We may view ourselves as belonging to certain groups with what we perceive to be clear boundaries and conditions for inclusion. But in the end, we each share an arguably common set of political and personal ambitions: a peaceful existence; some measure of financial prosperity; a sense of personal well-being; a healthy dose of happiness for ourselves and our families … each guided always by the hope that there’s one better opportunity—at least one better tomorrow—just around the corner.
Do we seek progress and accept the necessary changes accompanying a more expansive future which extends more opportunities for more of us? Or is our focus to be on what we can conserve—resisting new possibilities because they’re new and unknown? Are those objectives mutually exclusive?
What kind of a nation do we choose to be? What is our own legacy to be? What do we leave behind for our children?
What can we do to bridge the great divide between conservative and liberal/progressive philosophies—one that widens and deepens by the day—in order to begin dealing with political and cultural issues whose inevitable consequences will make their presence known regardless of ideologies?
Here’s the bottom line: An increasing body of science suggests that we disagree about politics not for intellectual or philosophical reasons, but because we have fundamentally different ways of responding to the basic information presented to us by the world. These are often ways of which we are not even aware–automatic, subconscious–but that color all of our perceptions, and that effectively drive us apart politically. 
As a strategy, the collection of tactics we employ to bolster our fierce partisanship and effortless dismissal of different others is a very successful one! But as to its enduring benefit to and for all of us, rather than just a select few? Ah, that’s not nearly so beneficial or wise.
Actions, beliefs, and ideologies have consequences; all the more so when we’ve failed to understand or appreciate the motivations.
Blind adherence to group-think has many benefits … and some serious disadvantages. Who “wins”? Who does not? It’s important to appreciate and contemplate not only the answers, but what ensues.
One of the primary purposes of this blog is to not just discuss the issues and point out what becomes immediately obvious. Information about and awareness of the inclinations, tactics, beliefs, and motivations of “the opposition” is an important first step. If we just persist in doing what we’re doing, not much good will come out of it for anyone other than the privileged few.
With understanding and awareness come the opportunity to pause in the headlong, blind dash to doing more of the same tomorrow. Perhaps a little bit of insight into what we do/say and why can open up different avenues for discussion and problem-solving.
Instead of strenuous opposition to programs offering aid and assistance to the tens of millions of dedicated, patriotic, hard-working Americans caught in the gears of economic and cultural and personal disturbances for which they bear little if any responsibility, might we consider how much better off all of us will be in the days ahead if we pay more attention to bettering everyone’s positions in life rather than just those of a few?
Like it or not, we’re all in this together. Might not be a bad idea for us to keep that in mind more often than seems the case….We’ve still got a future to deal with, after all.
Who knows where more understanding and greater levels of cooperation might take us?
~ My Photo: Salt Island, Gloucester MA – 10.17.15
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
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-mooney/why-republicans-deny-scie_b_1196823.html; Why Republicans Deny Science: The Quest for a Scientific Explanation by Chris Mooney – 01.11.12
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As I state in the “About Me” section, I’m driven by an intense commitment to learn why those on the conservative side of the fence view so many matters of great importance to us all so differently than do those of us on the progressive side. Those 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.
If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.
The late Senator Paul Wellstone’s observation continues to hold far more truth and power than we give it credit:
We all do better when we all do better
Why make setting up inevitable and enduring conflict the primary objective of policy and planning?
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Life Will Answer – Thought-provoking inquiries & observations about how (and why) Life does … and does not, work for everyone. [Inspired by my book of the same name]. Posts resume in February, 2016.
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The Middle Age Follies – An occasional column offering a slightly skewed look at life for those of us on the north side of 50 … far north.