As I ponder the recent shootings in Arizona, my soul is tasked with the question, why is this course of action so prevalent? Why is there such a discourse in our politics? Why is the gap between “left and right” becoming a canyon of friction? The simply truth is that our government is no longer functional. It has become such a bastage of the original intention, that more and more citizens have lost hope in it. The right feels we are taxed too far and that the government is micromanaging our lives. The left feels that we have somehow allowed a large portion of the populace to sink below poverty that we must somehow even the scores. The intention of both party lines are so far off from where they need to be that we can no longer see anything to opposite side has to offer.
I can see both sides. I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I can tell you that I understand how the conservatives feel and I understand how liberals feel. What is more, I can relate to both. I know that taxation is being felt heavily by the middle class, yet the poor are still not meeting their basic needs.
Here it comes, are you ready? Both sides are wrong! Oh yes I said that, they are both wrong. Both sides have been so disillusioned by the other side that they have lost site of the one true fact they both possess. Liberal or conservative, they are both human. Yes, human as in humanity. We are all part of the same species. Yet we have taken the face of the opposite side and made them into the “enemy”. When going through my divorce, I had to go through mediation over custody of the children. I remember sitting there alone, while my ex, the enemy, had his live in girlfriend with him. I resented that. I was alone and he was rubbing it in my face. As the mediation went along, she asked us to state our position, and then the other one would have to state how they interpreted that. How powerful, when the other side would repeat it back with their own interpretation, it never sounded as the original party had intended. Here this whole time we had been simply misunderstanding the intentions of the other. He was my ex, not my enemy. He was the father of my children and in the end, I still loathe him, but I can tolerate the fact that I have to have some minimal contact with him.
In those sessions, I learned so much about myself and my own mental models. It never occurred to me that I could be wrongly interpreting his intentions. The same things are happening in our government, but to an even greater extent, these two sides are not being influenced by the people themselves but by massive corporations.
I am finding myself pulling farther outside the ideologies of either side. What I see on both sides saddens and angers me. Why are we allowing this to happen? Why are we trusting in faceless, non-human entities to designate what our policies are for us? Are we not adults, are we not the people that the government was created to protect? Why do we allow our government to be run by corporations and allow the capitalistic machine to run amok? Capitalism is great, if you are a corporation filled with greed and have only the goal of gaining as much monetary value as possible. Greed and power have smashed our humanity. So badly that we as individuals, in general, have acquired these two traits. We no longer see each other as people, but as obstacles to either overcome or to utilize for our own personal gain.
I for one am tired of the bickering, the battling over policy. I am tired of the lack or compromise, the lack or cooperation and most importantly the lack of humanity in our government. I stand up and shout from the rooftops; “THIS IS THE LAND OF THE FREE, PEOPLE COME BEFORE CORPORATIONS.” We need to all stand up and we all need to recognize that our own mental models were formed by something. Do you believe the way you do because of an outside influence? If so meditate on this, ask yourself why gay rights are a violation of your beliefs? Ask yourself what is wrong with socializing medicine? Ask yourself what would happen if we allowed the roads and schools to decay way past the point they are now? Ask yourself, do you care about humanity as a whole, or just those that fit into your ideology?
I for one see our society as a much bigger evil than most. Our society has created this gap of discontent. We are so focused on who has what, that we forgot what it is that we actually have. “The poor are sucking the system dry” “The rich are not paying their share of taxes” “The political system creates an us them mentality”. If we sit back and look in our own backyard, we can see the blessings that we have, and then what others have will not seem as immense. I for one do not care that you have 5 cars, a McMansion, and 6 laptops. I do not care that you spend $180 on a pair of jeans, what I do care about is that you are human and you treat me with dignity. I am happy where I am, please do not try to influence me that your choices are best, I made them once, and I was miserable. I like my freedom, I am free from debt, I am free from credit, I am free from the bondage of money. I am free and I cannot support the idea of capitalism as it currently functions.
To truly be free we must consider not only our own ideals and our own lives, but the lives of those around us. If my freedom trumps your freedom, then somehow I must compromise my position and collaborative reach an agreement. This is how adults handle situations, we do not threaten to punch each other, we do not pack a 6 shooter to “defend our ideas”, we do not run others off the road. We simply agree to disagree. We then proceed to discuss those differences and the options we have to find common ground. In the end the healthiest and most adult way to handle any disagreement is to set it aside and look at the other party as human and wonder why their view is not in-line with our own.