THE GREAT AMERICAN COMMUNICATION DIVIDE (Re: MAGA, GOP, DEMS and fact based reality).
Friends, lately I’ve read a plethora of articles proposing that when deconstructed, the issues before us are simply (mis-) communication problems; all easily solvable if only we just talked to one another.
While that’s a nice Mr Roger’s type sentiment, to represent what ails us in that manner wholly mis-understands the root causes of the problem. Further, to mis-understand, ignore and/or overlook the root causes embedded within our current landscape, risks constructing solutions that do not begin to address those problems. Equally, it should also be clear the price we will pay for ignoring what’s uncomfortable in favor of palatable ineffective and mismatched "fixes," borders on the catastrophic because when left unattended, the natural progression of those root causes are all but guarenteed to bring about all we fear.
So let me start by addressing why the idea that we simply have a failure to communicate completely mis-understands both root causes and what's at stake.
As a Forensic Clinical Neuropsychologist & a Genocide Scholar, I run into communication, word meaning and frame of reference problems A LOT. Often it’s the crux of the problem in terms of challenging not only the internal assumptions you have about yourself and others, but what you think others intend to mean about you; and of course this is also the crux of the problem for couples.
WE NEED TO ASK EACH OTHER “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT" OR “HOW DOES THAT TRANSLATE OR TRACK FOR YOU IN EVERY DAY LIFE", FAR MORE OFTEN. (e.g., Two patients each tell me they are depressed. The first thing I do is ask each one what that looks like, feels like and how they behave in response in relation to their everyday lives. Guaranteed, even IF BOTH ARE DEPRESSED, how that tracks in terms of the struggles they experience in the course of everyday living will turn out to be very different for each one. Subsequently, if therapy is to be of any benefit, treatment will need to morph according to the individual needs of both patient’s).
That said, while I can easily identify a variety of communication difficulties, breakdowns etc within a variety of contexts and provide genuinely workable solutions, as an everyday ordinary human being who is witness to these problems, I often find myself screaming inside my head: WHAT THE HELL IS A DICTIONARY FOR? I mean the dictionary is our standard SHARED agreed upon reference for the meaning of words right?
It seems many folks have their own version (Bob’s, Sarah’s, Ken’s & Barbie’s) of the dictionary wherein the meaning of the words: “sometimes,” “maybe," "always" and "never" part company with Merriem & Webster’s Standard Dictionary definitions in astounding ways.
AND YES, THAT IS ABSOLUTELY MADDENING!
However, the above described everyday normal communication difficulties should not be confused in relation to the evident differences when it comes to information processing and the sum total production of widely divergent facts that currently plagues us today. Equally, the above logically begs a much larger question: How is it on most days, most folks (White Americans), manage to process and behave accordingly and in full agreement with fact based information (rules of driving, showing up to work, and on time, doing homework, etc) versus a large segment of America’s White population who seem to simply ADJUST what they see or twist the content of CERTAIN FLAGGED information they process to: fit, benefit, validate, justify and fuel the pre-existing illogical, irrational, hate fueled narratives they run with? Further, what are we to make of this?”
I would noted here, we in the Mental Health BIZ call this particular ‘Ninja Mind Trick’, self-delusion and while there are specific perks to this as a lifestyle, the down sides can and will kill you. Maybe not right away, but nature does not take kindly to folks who do not align with reality.
So let’s start with this: the above fixed state approach to conjugating facts in order to navigate reality is NOT NORMAL. It is however indicative of folks with low cognitive skill sets (and here, no one should be surprised to find that White Supremacy is not the brightest of ideas known to man) who are equally informed by a weak moral conscience which allows them to pick and choose facts according to what suits/benefits them while vehemently twisting and rejecting those that dont.
Moreover, this approach as a widespread social phenomena employed by a large majority of America’s White population is not how fact based/reality based societies function or maintain cohesion for that matter (& BTW you jump off a building, you’re going down whether you believe it or not; & don’t try this at home, just take my word for it). If in the majority, we each altered our shared understanding of basic laws (above and beyond what is already racially altered to privilege White people while holding all others to a standard far above) everyone would be in jail.
So how is it these “altered reality" folks understand enough to come up to the line of the law, yet most of the time not cross over that line via ordinary shared standards to break the law but then subsequently loose that ability when dealing with democracy, humanity, social boundaries and facts they don’t like?
Seems to me there are one of two things going on here, either we’ve separated into two groups, one that has evolved to deal with reality, the other, which has self-selected to de-evolve, soon to die out because either they flat out refuse or are unable to deal with reality (& let’s be clear we are speaking mostly of WP in the larger social context here) and/or these “altered reality” folks represent a far greater de-stabalizing force owing to and culminating in what is the stranglehold of corruption already embedded within White American society marking via it’s widespread acceptance a prelude to genocide (detailed explanation of this last option further down).
While communication issues in the context of ordinary life relative to (pre-) existing differences and variances in colloquial, regional familial cultural heuristic & hermeneutical meaning as a frame of reference IS NORMAL, and a normal part of individual human relations, these differences are not so varied as to cause pervasively wild misunderstandings most of the time or we’d never survive two years with ANY intact relationships.
The idea that such a pervasively wide gap exists between what constitutes reality and what does not, as being a normal part of every or any fluid functioning society just isnt accurate. In fact you don’t see that kind of divide across ANY STABLE FUNCTIONING COUNTRY UNLESS.....
that country is in the process of de-stabalizing such that it is concurrently manifesting all the pre-cursers to genocide (the second option). And at that point, such gaps serve only to justify the rational for those in the position of de-evolving (re dealing with fact based realities) to eventually commit Genocide in the service of wiping out those whose reality THEY CAN NOT TOLERATE....
So, and, both options can be true at the same time (meaning those evoling to deal and those de-evolving not to deal emerge as indicators of and pre-cursers to Genocide).
I would again note here: the purpose of folks believing what is convenient to bolster the rationale for their hate & fear serves only to make what eventually (sooner or later) becomes the ultimate solution (genocide) to resolving their unresolvable reality conflicts, justifyable and moral in their minds when targeting “the other" for elimination. BOTTOM LINE: THIS IS NOT A COMMUNICATION PROBLEM, ALTHOUGH THOSE DYNAMICS CERTAINLY CAUSE PROBLEMS IN/WITH COMMUNICATION.
For more on this see Germans pre- during and -post WWII Nazi Germany, especially during the -post Nazi period and read the interviews covering how the majority of Germans who became Nazi’s duped themselves (we also see the same repeated across post- genocide Rwanda when interviewing Hutus convicted of war crimes and struggle of ordinary Rwandans to reconstitute reintegrate and reweave dispirate elements in the aftermath into a functioning civil society once again....)
Summary: What we are faced with IS NOT A COMMUNICATIONS PROBLEM, however the current dynamics embedded within White America (and let’s be clear, this is largely owing to White Supremacy) are all but guaranteed to generate problems in/with communication.
But let us not in our discomfort and haste mistake for root causes, easily identifiable problems that emerge as a result.