Leo Gura

Who's Interested In Conscious Politics?

763 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, Serotoninluv said:

@Zizzero Part of the problem with American politics is the binary nature of issues. The polarization into opposite extremes is intensifying. In part, this is political strategy, yet it is also influenced by American culture of us vs them - as if it is a team sport. For many there is identification to a team and wanting to win. Mark Sanford was a conservative Republican from a conservative state. He didn’t agree with Trump on all issues and respectfully spoke out on occasion. This was seen as betraying Trump and there was a severe backlash. At one of his town hall meetings, Sanford brought up a a core conservative republican value (like fiscal responsibility or limited government) and spoke mentioned Trump was not acting like a conservative republican on the issue. This outraged many self-identified conservative Republicans - one person said “Trump is the quarterback of our team now and you go with the quarterback you’ve got”. I think this attitude represents the mentality of a significant portion of the electorate.

As well, using a binary frame makes it easier to call winners and losers. The media goes along and it’s great for ratings. Nearly all politicians do this to an extent, yet Trump is extremely oriented toward binary thinking and winning vs losing. Such an environment doesn’t leave room for nuances. Most Americans right know are responding to rapid either / or binary constructs. As you mentioned, abortion is a good example. Creating policy on abortion is not a simple either / or issue, it has a lot of nuances. Another example would be with gun laws. Traditionally, this issue as been framed as a choice between banning all guns or having all guns legal. Another example that is intense in American politics now is racism. There is a very strong binary construct of racism that people are either racist or non-racist. There is finger-pointing all over - “You are a racist!!!.” “No, You are the real racist!!!”. Headlines are made by who calls who a racist. A simple binary model of either 0% racist or 100% racist has some value in limited contexts. Yet it sooo restricted and limited that it doesn’t include a lot of important nuances and dynamics going on. For example, there are degrees of racism. Someone could hold extreme racist views or mild racist views. A person could have racist views in some areas, yet not racists views in other areas. As well, everyone has some degree of racial bias. Some may be subconscious biases. This is mostly Orange-level constructs and is not above the capacity for most Americans to consider. Yet there is a hyper obsession to frame it in a blue-level either / or mentality. I think mainly because people identify so strongly with race and it is deeply associated with their sense of survival. 



Me being from Switzerland, When I started to follow US-politics I remember I was very surprised to hear that abortions are so controversial in the US because in Europe there are not a lot of pro-life people. I was pro-choice all my life and I always found it kind of commonsensical to be pro-choice. But what shocked me even more is that even many of the pro-choice people in the US seem to go too extreme; I mean there are a lot of people who support late term abortions which is something almost no one would ever even consider in Europe. 

Following the politics of a few countries I really came to appreciate Switzerland actually. A month ago I saw a political talk show in Swiss tv about climate change and the coming election in Switzerland. A social democrat, a free market liberal and a conservative sat at the same table and they couldn't agree on anything. The social democrat was like: "Climate change is the biggest problem, we all must act quickly!", the liberal was like: "yeah, I would support some taxes to help the climate. But let's have the market solve it" and the conservative said: "Switzerland is already doing more than anyone else. Let's not hurt our economy even more because of some unproven theory". These members of parliament could not disagree more, yet they talked to one another like colleagues. Even when it got heated, you could feel the mutual respect for one another. It was so refreshing to see this.

What do you think is the reason for this binary nature in US politics?

think this has a lot to do with the political system of the United States. The winner-takes-all principle, having a two-party system and only an indirect democracy creates a very game-like nature of politics. To compare it with Switzerland which has a system where both the seats in the government and the parliament are distributed proportionally to what people voted and the people can directly vote yes or no to changes in the constitution or the law; if either political side wants to change something, they have to find some sort of middle ground to have a majority that supports this change in policy. Demonization of the enemy is not a successful strategy. Also, because Swiss people vote for or against policies and not for or against people, the political discourse is more focused on the topic, rather than name-calling. 

Your post actually just inspired me to think that what the US needs more than good policies is a movement that actively wants to change the political system of its country. The US might have the worst political system I know of in the western world. (Of course such a change of constitution would never be supported by the US population, though)

Edited by Zizzero

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@Zizzero I shouldn't have made the post the way I did. I was dealing with some unrelated personal anger last night, and I knew immediately after posting it I would come across as aggressive. I decided to leave it up however since I figure it's better to try and own up to my mistakes than pretend like they never happened.

My point - that I should've made better - was that it only seemed like Trump was speaking things "like they are" because the people who felt this way already agreed with him. You said Trump won because he didn't talk down to people and didn't question people's ability to think for themselves, but this was only true if you supported him to begin with. Underneath the assumption that Trump "said it like is it" was a whole load of other assumptions about power, race, etc.

EDIT: For the record, I understand the point you're trying to make. Yes, a lot of people who voted for him did feel like he was just being a straight-talking, no-nonsense man of the people. Of course, this just said more about the state of the collective American psyche, rather than anything to do with how truthful or relatable Trump himself was.

Edited by Apparition of Jack

“All you need is Love” - John Lennon

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What it really comes down to is the battle of the extremes.  Much of the electorate, about 30 percent are moderate or centrist.  However, the challenge is how to get the extremist to move. 

For instance; the U.S. debt is $22 Trillion and the government brings in $3.5 Trillion annually.  Every year the government spends $4 Trillion.  The extreme left wants to spend $6 Trillion and just raise taxes, and the extreme right wants to spend $3 Trillion and pay off the debt.  To most people a compromise would be to meet in the middle and spend $4.5 Trillion...........more debt.  The media points out the evil on the right but the truth is right in front of us.

For instance; we are now entering an era where on the extreme left it is acceptable to kill a baby after birth if the intention was to have an abortion.  If you do not believe killing babies at anytime after conception, this is considered extreme.  So, the compromise is to kill them when, prior to day 135.

I find it hard to believe the U.S. is the only country struggling with extreme views.

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