Start With The Basics Pt 2 | THE POLITICUS

Start With The Basics Pt 2

In a rapidly-evolving world, leading the way seems to be a better approach than trying to hold back the tides of change. Conservatism has much to offer, and a more cooperative approach to policy and problem-solving will afford the Right a more meaningful role to contribute--rather than merely obstruct [or, in the case of The Donald, offer dangerous nonsense].

The question, of course, is whether or not what’s left of the rational and reasonable segment of GOP leadership can not only appreciate that need, but are able to persuade other factions that current wars are both unwinnable and carry heavy, long-term costs to their own supporters. It’s an obvious question to ask. Obvious answers aren’t quite so easy to come by.

I suggested in last week’s diary that a better and more thorough appreciation for--and understanding of--the motivations and perspectives of our political opponents might be an important step in tamping down the increasingly hostile divisiveness which characterizes most of our political dialogue these days. [And yes, that’s more than a bit idealistic at the moment.] That’s just one of many choices we own.

Of course, the majority of us might instead prefer to keep up the battles, because … well, I’m not sure what the point of that decision might be, but it’s a free country. So if problem-solving and a peaceful, prosperous future aren’t what most people would prefer in place of endless political sniping, then I guess we’ll just keep doing more of the same. Someday, if we keep it up long enough … ah, I guess we can keep doing more of that!

But if that’s not what most prefer, then trying something else is as good an option as any other, isn’t it?

But before we arrive at that hopefully/presumably happier destination, we have a lot of work to do in finding some common ground. Each side has established some very solid positions nowhere near the middle, so more than just a bit of persuasion will be needed. That cannot happen without first injecting into the dialogue some calm reflection and respect.

Furthermore [speaking for myself as one occupying a place on the Left side of the divide], a lot of what has been established as traditional and recognized characteristics of the conservative personality—and the behaviors, beliefs, commentary in support thereof—is, to be kind, different than how we believe policy-making and public discourse should be conducted. The traits commonly attributed to conservatives may puzzle us, but rarely can we honorably criticize them simply because those traits are a part of their makeup. What objective standards would we rely upon to make judgments like that?

On the other hand, witnessing how those traits are displayed on the public stage leaves us more than bit dismayed. Behaviors, beliefs, and opinions all carry the potential for both great benefit and great harm, and it is that latter reality which most concerns us.

Fear plays an important role in the conservative camp—both as an expression of conservative temperament and inclination, and as an inflammatory tactic used by too many in positions of authority and influence [hello, Donald Trump!]. The results have not been pretty.

While it’s one thing to recognize and accept differences, that same approach doesn’t necessarily hold when we see the effect both the personality inclinations and the leaders’ tactics have on the rest of us. While it’s by now almost second-nature to simply attack and criticize those observations, if we can’t get past that and find a different method of engagement, persuasion is futile and even more conflict the only reward.

That’s not much of an option. Gotta begin somewhere, Right?

Adapted from a recent blog post of mine