Well, got behind on a lot of these. So I’m back at it 😉
Anyway, my latest Civic Geek thoughts have been on the issues of conflict in American politics. Bluntly, a lot of our politics is about looking for enemies. This tends to be on the “Conservative” side of things (whatever “Conservative” even means any more), but we see it on the Liberal side at times.
Americans often fall for the delusion that if we “just get rid of X” then everything is OK. Of course this is wrong; it takes a lot of work to make a society run, but ask yourself how many times people fall for this mindset?
If you focus so much on getting rid of something, you never do the work to build a working society. You don’t improve things. You don’t fix things. You don’t try new things. You don’t grow yourself.
Worse, that even assumes that “Getting rid of X” actually solves the problem. How many times have people been told “THOSE people” are the issue and of course, the real issue was the bastard telling you to “get rid of those people” while he picks your pockets or sells you out.
So even when “X” is a problem, you have to focus on making sure you have a working society. In fact, that working society, like a healthy immune system, might prevent any actual bad thing from doing as much damage. It might keep similar problems from arising.
You have to work to make yourself – and your society – strong. Preventing actual bad things is done this way, and is far easier than fixing problems after they start.
This is one concern I have in the age of Trump, which in some ways is George Bush II magnified. Bluntly, I think Trump is the worst president in American History, and we’re going to be paying for the damage for decades. Trump embodies the “X is the problem” mindset, but dealing with him can lead people to too easily thinking once he’s out of office, everything’s OK.
It isn’t. If he got there, there’s a problem, which seems kinda obvious.
Good Civic Participation should focus on making a strong social and political system. Good Civic Participation is about a diverse system that ensures a functional, grounded society, since participation is citizenship.
We’re going to have a lot of lessons in psychology in the years to come.