For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with politics and history. The two topics are intertwined with each influencing the other in ways too numerous to count. There is a strong sense of admiration I have for those willing to step up and attempt to lead their constituents toward a vision for a better future. Yes, that includes those stepping up that I completely and utterly disagree with. Along with the admiration for leaders who have emerged with noble intentions is an equal sense of dismay at the fate many of our brightest leaders have met.
Names like Kennedy, King and Lincoln are revered not only for the causes they championed but also for the ultimate fate that they met. It’s hard to reconcile the fate of those leaders who championed messages of equality, inclusiveness and harmony with the rise and support over time for leaders who spout words of division, fear and intolerance. History provides the strongest warning possible when it comes to this other type of leadership and the consequences of it in the wreckage brought on by dictators and despots across the globe.
This all paints a bleak picture for the idealistic and well intentioned wanting to lead and influence their society. A political climate that has always been unwelcoming at best is today more like a dumpster fire. The inevitability of constant ridicule from opponents coupled with the reality that many who agree with your cause may not appreciate or want your participation and leadership is enough to discourage even the most head strong individual. In the world today, this political climate not only discourages new leaders from emerging but it also discourages participation by citizens across the expansive middle of the political spectrum in the electoral and policy process.
I don’t believe we’ve arrived at this current political climate by accident or on our own accord. I’ve detailed in the About section my belief that we hold more shared values and beliefs with the stranger on the street or the protester across the barrier than we have differences between us. That’s why this current climate of polarization seems so odd, unnatural and even forced upon us. Without sounding too conspiratorial, it really would seem as if some controlling force was trying to manufacture conflict and controversy within our society.
Nothing I write here can sum up that belief as accurately and succinctly as Mr. Chomsky does in the 2016 documentary, “Requiem for the American Dream”. If you have Netflix you already have access to the documentary. If you do not, I highly encourage renting it here. There is a message here that both the Bernie Bros and the MAGA crowd can get behind and understand.
In my coming posts I will attempt to touch on those shared values and beliefs that our society holds, detail ways to take back our political process and encourage participation. As for now I encourage everyone to check out the documentary, find a cause that you’re passionate about, ignore that stinky dumpster fire and enter the fray.