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Left v. Right Pt 3

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October Sky, Good Harbor Beach MA
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What matters more: preserving ideology and one's identity via affiliations with like-minded peers, or a better future? Sometimes giving up one is the only way to gain the other.

If we aren't all thinking right now about what kind of a nation we choose to be and what kind of a nation we choose to leave for our children, we damn well ought to start soon. The ride affirming the soundness of our respective ideologies has been fun and all, but real-life beckons. We can't even get within shouting distance of plans or solutions if we insist instead on waging ideological battles serving limited purposes today and tomorrow.

That we're mired in a presidential campaign that by and large has featured an assortment of candidates ranging from staid to deranged [more of the latter, unfortunately] and a GOP nominee who seems to know only how to bloviate and promote himself with the class of a carnival barker is not exactly helping bridge the divides. Counting on sober reasoning by the electorate is a bit of an uncertainty given that Donald Trump is the Republican Party finalist.

How many of us actually enjoy and/or thrive on the incessant partisan conflicts or the motivations urging us to keep up that good fight? That too many of us don't seem to grasp just what the fight is all about--given the steady stream of misinformation filling the airwaves--is another issue....
This is all the more crucial given that Trump has raised pandering to a perverse form of high art, and has struck a nerve with too many disaffected citizens whose only voice on their behalf is a clueless narcissist.

The Twilight Zone feel to Trump's candidacy would be frightening enough if we were watching it unfold with Rod Serling narrating and an occasional commercial break to draw us back to the comfort of reality. If only....

Giving no thought whatsoever to how the partisan wars play themselves out is an oversight we'll deeply regret. Consequences will not pause while the nonsense spreads, deepening the social and political divisions.

At some point, reality will make it very clear to even the most ardent, delusional deniers that partisan battles fought at current levels guarantee only more of the same; that the inevitable impacts of our warming planet grow more ominous by the day; that our fossil-fuel supplies will become that much more inaccessible and prohibitively expensive--with widespread impact on just about every aspect of daily life; that inequality carries many more costs than we realize; that our economic growth and prospects for prosperity will be at the mercy of powerful financial and political actors to whom we have ceded almost total control; that same-sex marriage actually won't cause the planet to explode; that not every person in America needs a dozen high-powered weapons ... and this is just the Starter List. Through it all, an insistence on acting in our self-interest improperly understood will do nothing but make everything worse for just about everyone.

Contemplating that likelihood well before we have to confront it head-on might be a wiser course of action. Crisis management serves a purpose, but in view of the challenges we face now and in the years ahead, frantic and chaotic attempts to cobble together last-minute solutions won't get us much. What Happens Then?

Isn't it time we find a better and more constructive approach so that we actually solve some of the problems we'll have to confront in due course, atop those already upon us? At what point does it dawn on the populace that too many policies and political decisions are motivated by the urgency of benefiting only the few? When do we come to the realization that there can be no "winners" when the preservation of two distinct ideologies is the only objective?

And now, we aren't even dealing with conservative ideology, since Trump's platform seems more than a bit disconnected from conservative ideology in almost any variation commonly understood.

It's all fine and well to hear what one wants to hear to appease exaggerated and hyped fears, but What Happens Then? is a question asked much too infrequently, if at all. Policy matters. In the long run, it matters much more to all of us than pandering nonsense that soothes uncertainties in the moment. Might be worth paying more attention to that important distinction....

Should it just be an ideal that we all live more peacefully, and that we do so by taking collective actions to create better and more rewarding opportunities for more us--all of which are based on a mutual understanding about the importance of cooperation and compromise? Expanding the collective good is not the worst choice we can make.

Adapted from a blog post of mine
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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)

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