Sometimes There Are No Good Guys

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“Did anybody bring a map?” “Silhouettes of riders on horseback against the radiant sun breaking through the trees” by Tobias Keller on Unsplash

Americans haven’t been this divided philosophically since the Civil War. This level of economic disparity hasn't occurred since the Gilded Age. Every thing we see, hear, and experience bears the mark of our decline.

And people are really pissed off. Mainly at at each other. There is very little common ground to build on, and even less desire to find any.

Nevertheless, both the Right and the Left have appointed themselves the Sacred Guardians of American Democracy, although both steadfastly refuse to walk the walk if it means reaching out to “the bad guys.” Who the bad guys are largely depends on where you are sitting.

Equally unfortunate is the fact that no single group or organization is up to the task of assuming the savior role anyway. Any bold plans or fresh ideas are greeted with vitriol and a crippling case of “whataboutism.”

As we are seeing firsthand, partisan pandering is completely counterproductive. It’s a mindset that precludes any semblance of logic and balance. The ignorance and polarization resulting from no-questions-asked party loyalty is a massive stumbling block to change.

The problem with knee-jerk partisanship is that you are not dedicated to the truth; you are dedicated to a team. You are not looking out for the best interests of your country; you’re just looking out for your club.

Life, and politics, is not a movie western standoff where the moral fiber of the combatants is clearly delineated by their black or white hats. Too many Americans believe an R for Republican or D for Democrat after your name is a political black or white hat that showcases your (highly-subjective) virtue.

Well, things are never as straightforward as black and white cowboy hats. Every human experience is colored in shades of gray.

And sometimes there are no good guys in white hats. Unless we decide to be them ourselves. And that process begins with simply … listening.

After all, just hearing another viewpoint is not construed as unspoken agreement. Listening to and considering conflicting opinions in no way compromises your own. No-one’s making you sign anything.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that even those diametrically opposed to you have pretty much the same goals that you do: stability, safety, security in the now and for generations to come. You just have very different ideas about how to manifest this.

Very, very different ideas in many cases, but if there is no attempt to establish communication there’s no hope for growth or change, and we will inevitably face the consequences.

Or, from this point on we can acknowledge our shared responsibility for cleaning up this mess and begin that process. As Americans, not party members.

We have many challenges ahead of us. Like it or not, we didn’t get here through the auspices of just one political organization. And until people grasp that, the elites have us by the balls, secure in the knowledge the American people are still blaming each other and not those truly responsible for their misery.

Of the ideological impediments we can immediately overcome, blind partisanship is the most damaging. It’s a willfully ignorant denial of reality because let’s face it -you are not “resisting” when you are writing checks for corporate political candidates. You are begging for more abuse — for all of us.

Someone who grudgingly gives you bread while holding you hostage is not performing an act of kindness.

It’s Stockholm Syndrome on a grand scale — millions of Americans emotionally attached to the corrupt politicians who have made careers out of manipulating and oppressing them.

Until it’s understood by The People that We the People, ALL the People, must take the wheel and be the Good Guys ourselves, we’ll be subjected to endless finger-pointing and issues taking a backseat to bickering.

No more constant, pointless partisan blame-gaming. We don’t have that luxury.

Kids are dying in a house fire, but let’s fight about who lit the match. This, in a nutshell, is why partisan politics is evil.

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“OK, seriously. Who has the damn map?” “A plain at the foot of a mountain range with people on horseback and on foot” by Rachel Heng on Unsplash

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is a political junkie and history buff randomly alternating between bouts of crankiness and amusement while bearing witness to the Apocalypse. Come along!

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