Are you exhausted with politics? So am I. Every idea, every person, every concept, is separated into left and right. The capacity for intelligent conversation is severely hampered when we can’t present scientifically researched facts and have someone point them out as ‘just an opinion’ – all facts are not opinion, but opinion politics has become big business.
How can we as a society stop viewing ideas as ‘left’ or ‘right’? Dividing and conquering the general public is what gets people elected, when at the very heart of everything, people are actually very similar. We all want safety and security, we all care for others (most of us…) and we want to be loved and cared for ourselves. Fear is what divides people.
Don’t you feel fear that Trump wants to cut California’s capability to take care of its own air quality? Don’t you feel fear that the EU wants to strip non-dairy milk producers of their rights? Don’t you feel fear that asylum seekers are dying at sea, being abused, raped and tortured on remote islands, yet the media is not allowed to report on it? Don’t you feel fear that little girls in South America are getting pregnant as young as 10 from abuse, but aren’t allowed abortions? Don’t you feel fear that there is no rain for farmers?
Collective fear for the Other is also at an all-time low due to media outlets focusing on cultivating this dividing strategy. This forces people into sub-groups, thus giving the group a narrow focus, without the freedom to talk about their problems in a diverse community. This turns problems into an echo chamber, without the capacity to hear the other side of the story.
Community engagement is also at an all-time low. The internet has opened us up to the world, but most of us don’t know our neighbours anymore. We crave people who think the same as we do, so when someone presents to us in a political forum, we will naturally gravitate towards them. However, no one is perfect, and you are allowed to criticise people you admire. Blindly following without questioning is what gives some politicians the fierce loyalty that they do not deserve, that no-one that represents an entire population deserves.
Left & Right
Commercial television and media networks encourage one-eyed loyalty. Shutting down the ABC because they are too ‘left-wing’ is as ridiculous as shutting down Channel 7 because they are too ‘right-wing’. It also strips Australia of a public forum and of freedom of speech, freedom to give an opinion different to what all the major, monopolised channels are giving.
The new conservative is scared people won’t agree with them, yet they don’t want to see things from others point of view. They’re authoritative, but in the wrong areas.
The new left is scared something will offend someone, yet that person is likely not coming from the group that may be offended. They’re outraged, but it’s for the wrong reasons.
We can’t talk about new ideas or proposals as they are immediately categorised into ‘left’ or ‘right’ and once this happens, it just becomes a mudslinging contest and who can insult each other the best. Insults are not the way to change someone’s mind or to have a deeper conversation that leads to true problem-solving.
Often, the true answer to a problem lies somewhere in the middle of an argument, but dividing people into race, gender, sexual orientation, age, education level or any other category incites an opposing reaction. This is where the ‘left’ and ‘right’ divide.
It also hampers discussion about other categories that you may not fit into. If women are talking about how they feel, listen. If men are talking about how they feel, listen. If a different race to yours is talking about how they feel, listen. If someone from the LGBTQI* community is talking about how they feel, listen. They could be your neighbour or sister or best friend or Joe from the pub or…they could just be a person, like you and me, who deserves respect and a willing ear.
Why can’t we just drop the ‘left’ and ‘right’ and work together on a community basis to make life better for everyone? What are your core values? Empathy, compassion, kindness and helping each other out should not have a political angle.