Thursday, March 17, 2016

How we messed it all up in three points . . . and some encouraging ideas forward.

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,

    the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
    with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble

    and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts."
Is 57:15

To those that have had it with the savage political climate that we are in . . .

To those that are fearful, worried, vexed and exacerbated . . .

To those that feel alienated by their own culture.

A little perspective about how we have arrived at the current Trump phenomenon.

1.  There is very little good leadership going on anywhere regardless of where you land politically.  Most good leadership is local - in our communities.  Our national leadership is kind of scant.  Both sides of the aisle have either re-treads or opportunists (no one else is running, maybe this is my year!).  Hillary and Sanders were considered jokes along with Trump before he started winning.  Now it is just who is the less dangerous joke.

2.  The crowded field has made it easier to win.  Because there were 15 people vying for approval in the primaries you could win a state with 1/3 the people's votes.  Think about this - according to Real Clear Politics, Trump has averaged 36% of the vote.  Now remember - these are primaries - only 35-40% of people in these states are voting.  So Trump is getting 1/3 of 1/3 of the voters in any given state.  Not the majority we envision.  Now consider that his biggest rivals got 12,18 and 22% of the vote.  Which of course means that if there were an alternative to Trump he would consistently lose primaries 52% - 36%.  But there are not a lot of good alternatives (see no#1)

3.  We as a nation have become less open-minded.  Because of this, we are embracing views that don't factor in any balance.  So we wind up with passionate people solving complex issues simplistically.  Jobs are leaving?  Build a wall.  College expensive?  Make it free.  Obamacare is failing?  Scrap it.  Income inequality?  Democratic socialism.  What we see in polling is less balance, more 'us vs. them' and derision of anyone who has a different idea.  Basically immaturity as a people to collectively seek answers to difficult problems that go beyond one's worldview.  At least Hillary balances out Sanders - people can like what Bernie has to say but feel safe voting for Hillary.  There is no such balance on the other side of the aisle - which goes back to point no#1.

And so all of this for me comes down to this - 

Take a deep breath

We are the victims of circumstance.  A lot of factors have combined to bring us here - we are not doomed . . . yet.

These times remind me that we really are just a bunch of stupid human beings.  As such there is no place for 'us vs them' or derision of others' points of view.  There are no Democrats and Republicans - we are human.  As human beings we are all groping in the dark for the best way forward.  And perhaps the best that these times can do is to inspire us to do a few things:

1.  We should not look to politics as the solution.  It is not.  We are the solution and we means you and I.  You can't have we with division.  Politics divide.  So put away your memes and listen to each other for heavens' sake.

2.  We should not look at different ideas as the enemy.   New thinking calls for new ideas.  Just because they belong to the person you disagree with doesn't mean they might not work.  What if we learned a new phrase:  "Let's try it your way and see if it works!"  Not catchy but boy is it helpful.

3.  And please, let's be ok with seeking direction and guidance from something beyond ourselves.  

We've tried leading ourselves, maybe it is time for us to consider the wisdom of humbling ourselves before God?

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