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The Immorality of the Shutdown

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/23024164@N06/9989304865/: Where dreams are kept
Where dreams are kept by Damian Gadal

There's two things we cannot do anything about and they are related: The government shutdown and the moral choices people make.

With regard to the government shutdown, sadly the main stream media has seen fit to spread the blame equally on both parties. This form of neutrality is simply the newest trend in journalism. What gets lost is the truth. The shutdown is a well engineered action the GOP has been planning to perform for three years. This, by their own admission. So please, no comments in their defense.

So what do the government shutdown and moral choices have in common?

Most of us derive our basic morality from our religions. There is an apocryphal saying that goes something like this, "good people will usually do good things and bad people will usually do bad things, but for good people to do bad things requires religion."  

I see the same truth in politics. It's very easy to blame an individual on the other side of the aisle because they take positions that seem morally wrong. But as much as I would employ the simplicity of demonizing an individual and end it there, I have to admit that politics has the same effect as religion. Good people do bad things.

To be fair, I would add, religion can encourage bad people to do good things too. And although it would be much more difficult to prove, the same is true of politics.

As I've written before, we often try to simplify the world and this sentiment is one of those instances. But there is a question more deeply embedded in this issue that I would like to explore.   Can a politician do good without the support of his or her party?

Well if you believe the blog, theimmoralminority, "Morality is not determined by the church you attend nor the faith you embrace. It is determined by the quality of your character and the impact you have on those you meet along your journey."

We can apply this bit of wisdom to politics too.

Unfortunately, the political faith the Tea Partiers in the GOP embrace is morally bankrupt and can result in a lower quality of individual character. Unfortunate, because I don't think stupid people win national offices. Ignorant, yes! Stupid, no. And the need to follow the party line diminishes the character of an otherwise intelligent individual to the detriment of us all.

Now, I could go on about how the taxpayers are being cheated of their government services or how it is so strange to elect people to government who hate it and take a paycheck for doing as much damage as they can to it.

But that all ignores the fact that the individuals who are showing the lowest level of quality in their characters are doing so as loyal pawns beholden to the vast power of the money behind the GOP.

In the end, politics and religion have similar effects on an individual's morality. When one subscribes to a pre-determined ideology in order to be considered a loyal member of a group, the cost of that membership is regressive individual behavior.

This is true when religious people take immoral positions based on their ancient texts. And with regard to politics, look no further than the 30 or 40 Tea Party Republicans for the proof of that statement.

I want to hate them but I cannot. All I can do is pity their plight. Selling one's moral character is always a losing proposition for both the buyer and the seller.

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Author, columnist and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I am a certified ontological coach. I've studied clinical therapeutic practices in Gestalt psychology and am a Certified Birkman (more...)
 
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