The moral difference is clear: Do we have both personal and social responsibility, or just personal responsibility? Are we in this together, or are we on our own? The conservatives say we are, and should be, on our own. Are we the United States or the Separate States -- or millions of isolated individuals who don't care about anybody else?
The answer to these questions affects every issue.
As each side bordering the political chasm digs in ever deeper to engage in skirmishes whose intensities and potential consequences seem to have no end point in sight, we should be wondering with greater urgency what sort of "community" will emerge from the wreckage. How are we preparing ourselves to pursue opportunities and provide for the well-being of our families when so much energy is dissipated in battles where nonsense is the primary weapon?
The current Presidential campaign--most notably the seemingly endless supply of outrageous [and embarrassing] nonsense coughed up by the GOP candidates--is but the latest in an escalating pattern of conflict by combatants actually seeking to fulfill many of the same objectives.
Discrimination against fellow citizens whose personal choices are absolutely no one else's business aren't exactly setting us on a peaceful and mutually cooperative path. Widespread impacts from self-induced harm will be following close behind. Do we continue the ideological battles, or decide to meet the challenges by cooperating as needed? Can we stop pandering to those narrow-minded and poorly-informed cultural objectives long enough to ask where the hell will we all wind up if we keep doing more of the same?
That there's no chance whatsoever of gaining ground in any meaningful way seems to be routinely overlooked. So too do these battles offer nothing but the creation of more problems for us all in the years to come.
In our highly-charged, more-complex-by-the-minute 21st Century, the competing interests, values, principles, ideals, ideologies, preferences and a score of other equally vital considerations [and far too many irrelevant ones] all compete for prominence in the public debates--or what passes for them. Peeling back at least some of the many layers so that an increased awareness and understanding might be added to the mix certainly can't hurt!
This multi-week series is an effort to expand awareness and understanding, which will hopefully lead to even more of those same objectives. The alternative is the continued pursuit of partisan disputes growing uglier and less fruitful by the day. We have choices. It's my hope this series will shed some light on at least some of those options. It might even persuade a few of us to test drive some new approaches to make our individual and collective lives a bit better.
Idealistic of course. But that's not a reason not to try....
Adapted from a blog post of mine