Sunday, March 16, 2014

Left, Right, Bush-lite, Red

I've been way overdue for a political quip.  The winter has been long and during winter months I tend to focus on hard covered books, leaving the paperbacks for summer outdoor reading.  In my case, most of the hard covered that I've hoarded during the warm months tend to be non-fiction, some history and some political.  Amongst the collection are finds that struck me as “a little different,” including David Horowitz’ “Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left” and Bill Ayers, “Fugitive Days”.  (I suspect they may not appreciate sharing the same bookshelf).  And of course, political reading wouldn't be complete without some sort of political circus bantering in the background and my background was replete with the saber rattling of Bush-lite Obama and my favorite Red, Putin.  Instead of cracking jokes about the antics of leadership, this quip is going to focus on some of my political perceptions – some from the reading and some more general.

1.  Political dogmas are not linear.  Often in political speak, references are made to the left or to the right and associations applied to them.  Politics cannot be quantified on a line.  There are many issues which I find myself squarely conservative; in general, I think less government is better government.  I also hold some values that would make traditional conservatives squirm such as pro-abortion (yes, and don't call it “a woman’s right to choose” as this candy coats an issue that is much more complex than simply one person’s right to choose).  Similarly, unlike Horowitz’ Unholy Alliance, all individuals opposing war are not leftists and contrary to Ayers choices, most individuals who oppose war do not bomb their government.

2.  Political dogmas are never pure.  One of the interesting points that Horowitz made in regards to socialism is that it is some sort of vision of utopia that is not based in reality and has never been successful in the history of mankind.  Touché – although, it may be said that in the age of governments, there has never truly been a pure democracy either.  While we pride ourselves in labeling our country a democracy, I ask, “Is it really?”  True democracy would suggest that everyone has an equal voice.  Clearly that is not the case and the last I checked the huge state of California is represented by 2 senators and the small state of Wyoming is also represented by 2 senators.  We applaud democracy when the US troops are holding the guns in Iraq and holding an election, but discount the validity of democracy when Russian troops hold guns in Crimea during an election.

3.  Labeling is for the pseudo-intellectuals.  Labeling communist, socialist, democratic, capitalist… often does more to confuse than to explain.

4.  The moderate majority is the most silent.  In our social media world this should be a no-brainer.  What garners our attention is that which is different, deviant, absurd, bizarre – we don't want to be bored to death and the media is there to serve.  And so it is the same with politics, the apathetic majority don't make for exciting news.

5.  Governments are temporary and fragile.  Leaders know this and there is a reason why there was so much attention in the US during the “turbulent 60s” to folks such a Mohammed Ali and John Lennon.  Charismatic leaders and ideas have the potential to catch fire; nations come and go quickly.

6.  Life is politics.  While it is easy to get wrapped around the axle creating political complexities, the building blocks are easy to understand.  Maslow's hierarchy of needs points us to a simple truth that beyond capitalism or communism, most of us are simply trying to live another day on the planet.

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