Virtually every human condition, tendency, thought, skill, or experience falls neatly onto a bell curve.
Quick example: how many days do you exercise a week? If we ask 10,000 people from around the country then plot out their answers and trace a line through it, the resulting graph will show a bell curve. Happens with just about everything. My guess is that maybe 10% of people exercise 0 days, 10% exercise 7 days, and the 80% remaining fall into the 1-6 day range with the curve ballooning out around 2 days.
I don’t have any real data so these are all guesses, but you know what I mean. Exercise is just a random example but you can extrapolate this out to just about everything we do as human beings – very few of us actually behave/exist on those margins, on those extreme ends of the spectrum.
The big problem is that our politicians do. Nowadays, that’s the only place they reside – way out there on the margins. The extremes. The 10% of us who actually live on the far left and the 10% of us actually on the far right currently have a voice in Washington but what about the 80% of us that don’t always think Republican or Democrat? Why aren’t we represented? We are the actual majority, right?
Or do I have this wrong and politics is different from everything else in the human condition? That we all fall into the Republican camp every time or into the Democratic one every time? Can it be true that we all think this way or we all think that way? That life only has two sides to it?
But as we see every day, Republicans and Democrats always oppose each other. At least here in 2018 they do. If a Republican likes it, the Democrat hates it and vice versa.
How is that possible? Don’t the issues we look to our government to manage (e.g. gun control, abortion, infrastructure improvement, tariffs, regulation, energy development, etc.) have many sides to them? Aren’t they more nuanced than yes or no, right or wrong, left or right? If you are for old forms of energy you are automatically against new forms of energy? I can’t believe that the majority of us feel that way yet we see this play out every single time. Is that the way we really think?
I don’t believe that. But I do believe one thing for sure: it’s totally unsustainable. This yin and yang view of every issue we face cannot go on. It can’t. When the way you view a situation is defined by the way the other side views it (i.e. if they like it up, then I like it down) then you will never, ever get anywhere.
When Nazism and white supremacy become partisan, then we’ve lost it. We’ve gone too far.
Another quick example: people from Michigan hate people from Ohio. People from Ohio think people from Michigan are idiots. And vice versa. I grew up in Michigan and I witnessed this. It’s a narrative, but is it really true?
Of course not. Well, I’m sure some people on the margins probably actually believe it, but if you talked to 80% of the people residing in those states if they actually believed it, they’d say no.
So if things don’t actually work like that, what on earth are we doing in these two diametrically opposed political camps?
It seems to me it’s because we have no choice. We get to vote for this guy, or that guy. This woman, or that woman. Trump or Hillary. No other choice.
Absurd. We need to get candidates that more closely represent us. Candidates that will compromise. Candidates that see the complexity of these issues and legitimately scrutinize the pros and cons of each solution, then decide as a group. We also need to stop participating in the game. We need to stop sitting in the red box or the blue box that the echo chambers want us to. We need to get up and move around. We need to read more, talk to each other more, understand the issues more. We need to stop being lazy and reading the crap that tells us our side is great while their side is evil. We need to stop gorging ourselves on the outrage and scandal and start solving issues in a way that will benefit the majority of us.
Right now all you have is Democratic outrage at every single thing the Republican president does. If the Democrat had been elected you’d be seeing the exact same thing from the Republicans.
It’s like watching two toddlers fight over a toy. Why do we put up with it?
Picture for a moment that our government starts to compromise, that politicians of both parties start to work together to come up with the best solutions. That they put the best ideas on the table and tweak them to benefit the majority of the people – you know, the 80% of us in the middle of that bell curve. Could you imagine what this country would be like? Could you imagine the well-oiled machine that we’d become, what we could accomplish together? Wouldn’t you love to live in a country like that?
Yeah? Then stand up and demand it.