I love Politics. I love the practice of influencing one another on civic and individual issues. I like the debate over what is best for the common good because it is from this dialogue that we can emerge stronger and more secure in our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
I hate Politics. I hate the loggerheads created from opposing views and conflicting interests. I hate the accusations that fly from having different perspectives and the castigation of individuals and groups of people that can be the consequence of our fear and misunderstanding.
I like Government. I like the concept of representative democracy where power is held by the people themselves and they elect representatives to protect and improve their interests. I like that we have a system of governance that is designed to defend the rights of even the least influential among us while protecting opportunity for all, predicated on principles of freedom and justice.
I don’t like Government. I don’t like when it is corrupted by greed that panders to special interests. I don’t like that it is imperfect and run by imperfect people who can be susceptible to the seduction of power. I hate that its inequities can compromise the common good.
I like Big Corporations. I like them because Big Business creates 50% of America’s Gross National Product and employs nearly half of all working Americans. I like that the opportunity in America to be entrepreneurial and to expand with ingenuity literally created the world’s economy and the capacity to industrialize.
I don’t like Big Corporations. I don’t like them because without regulations mandated by the People they become a rogue government of their own, too often replacing morality and justice with margins and profit. I hate when the strong arm of their influence contradicts the tenets of our Republic by serving the special interests of an elite-minority.
I love Freedom of Speech. I love that I live in a free country where I cannot be incarcerated for voicing my opinions and I have the right (Nay, obligation!) to protest and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. I love that I can openly influence others with ideas and I love that others can openly influence mine.
I hate that Freedom of Speech also allows for bigotry to have a forum and prejudices can be shared which fan the flame of intolerance. I hate that the free press, protected by our First Amendment, does not continually hold itself to standards of accountability and I hate that it can propagate misinformation as freely as facts.
I like and I don’t like some of the things that are sustained in the realization of our Republic; things that have been created from this grand democratic experiment to live with freedom and to be prosperous. But, it is within this conundrum that we might find some of the solutions we are looking for.
There is nothing unusual about this polarity; I believe that every human being carries a duality where we struggle between light and dark; a fight in our souls between fear and faith and we conform our guiding principles to follow one direction over another so that we can give that conflict rest. And so we take sides: Republicans face off with Democrats, Liberals challenge Conservatives, and Bears battle Packers.
Taking sides, however, can make us feel threatened by the “other side” and so we dig in deeper, creating wider separations to protect our ideals. Perhaps, if we recognized this about ourselves and took time to realize that there are qualities we can embrace within some of the things that we dislike, and that there are ideas that we should question within some of the things that we cherish…
Maybe…we could start to move toward more shared values, greater tolerance and less fear of each other. Maybe we could improve our conversations, our government…and ultimately our lives.
I’d love that.