Politics Vs. Humanity
Stronger together. Teamwork is the dreamwork. We stand together. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Or is it? When did we lose sight of our humanness? When did it all become so black and white? When did social media take over and influence the way we’re interacting with one another? When did news become just noise and journalism mostly theatrics (see here on why the news focuses on ‘what’s wrong’ and not always what’s factual or accurate)? When did it become good vs. bad or maybe even evil? When did everyone start ignoring each other’s humanity and instead place so much weight on one’s political affiliation or personal preferences?
Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen said “Government doesn’t work. Liberty and freedom do.” We’ve witnessed that in both the recent and distant past. People’s liberties and freedoms are being threatened and we have an entire culture acting out of fear. When did we let fear takeover though? In fight, flight or fawn and when in a sympathetic nervous system response, the prefrontal cortex shuts off. Just try to rationalize with a toddler when they’re hungry or sleepy; it’s a lost cause, totally ineffective. “Basic research has found that high levels of catecholamine release during stress rapidly impair the top-down cognitive functions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), while strengthening the emotional and habitual responses of the amygdala and basal ganglia (more here).” Sadly, that’s what our environment feels like right now. It appears that most of our prefrontal cortexes are impaired and we’re acting out of fear.
Fear or not though, there is no right or wrong, just different. Some people will vote for Trump because of personal preferences, others will solely support him for his fiscal policy, and the same goes for Biden or whatever the election is and candidates are. However, just because someone wants to protect their beliefs, the software they’ve grown up with or are attached to at this time and particular season in their life, doesn’t make them a bad person. Remember, ‘we are all doing the best we can with the beliefs we have’.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg said to “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” So, let’s recognize our humanity first and foremost, while fighting for the things we care about in a way that will lead and inspire others to join in on the fight. Fighting for liberty and freedom for all, starts with how we treat one another on a daily basis. Political affiliation aside, we are Americans first.
They say “in order to influence someone you have to know what already influences them”. But I look around and don’t see much of that happening right now, people genuinely wanting to influence one another especially those with opposing viewpoints. Knowing what already influences someone is the only way to influence another human. Elected officials, family members or friends, it is the same for all of us; you must know what already influences us if you truly want to have a chance at influencing at all. No one ever got anywhere with someone by yelling at or berating them. So why is that all I see and feel right now? Aside from the gentle “vote” posts and communications, I’ve seen more threatening language around people’s affiliations than ever before. Advocacy is different, and far more effective, than aggression.
Unfortunately, no modern President has ever had the courage to tell the American people this simple truth, “My fellow Americans, the pursuit of your happiness and personal fulfillment is not determined by whether you vote Democrat, Republican or otherwise. Your vote does make a difference, but so does your character and your willingness to improve the direct world around you. In fact, the success of this country is very much dependent on how you act within your families and communities. Proximity is power. By all means choose your parties, pick your causes and cast your votes. But don’t let those votes define you or how you view our country or treat others. America is bigger than that and so are you. Our government depends on you as much as you depend on us. Regardless of how you vote or who wins, will you embrace our liberty with a sense of responsibility? Will you see the humanity in those with whom you disagree? Will you honor your obligations as much as you fight for your rights? These questions are as crucial to our future as our debates about policy.” Maybe a future President will say this, and even if not, remember it for your own sanity and perhaps spread the sentiment to those in your life.
Since ‘success leaves clues’, here are what some of the most effective and inspirational leaders of all time have brilliantly said in historical times like these.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” ― Abraham Lincoln
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” ― Nelson Mandela
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ― Winston Churchill
“Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.” ― George Washington
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”― Gandhi
So regardless of who wins, remember that we are Americans first and our political party second (or even further down the list). Do not let one’s affiliation blur our humanity. Also know that advocacy doesn’t end with the election. The fight to inspire and influence others continues, regardless of who is in office there is always something worth fighting for. Let ‘the fight’ bring us together and not tear us apart though, even if what we’re fighting for may be different, know that we all have a right to fight for what we believe in. With humanity — love, grace and curiosity — at the forefront, we all win and the fight ultimately becomes a unified mission.
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