Political discourse has been a long-term norm. In some ways, I find this ironic given that we aren’t really enemies but rather, we are colleagues and a national family trying to achieve largely the same goals. Everyone wants to live in peace, have access to the opportunities they need to live a happy life, and security to know that they and their children will be safe from illness, harm, and financial ruin. It is the pathway to achieve these goals, however, that is oftentimes different…and so we have discord.
But is that the true underlying issue?
I don’t think so because it were, we would be more concerned with running the same path than achieving the ultimate destination. While it is a common pitfall to get caught up in the details of designing and demanding the path, metaphorically seeing the trees but missing the forest, when a person or group is given the opportunity to step back, generally, they will find the destination most important.
But there are two other issues that plague this system. The first is the need for power. With not enough competition for resources comes people who look for challenges to create. In other words, for those people who are biologically wired to need these constant fights in their lives, if there is not enough inherent struggle, they will create it. And so you see in the media, the rise of individuals who simply and honestly enjoy a good political fight. It’s in their blood, as they say.
The second underlying issue is a lack of vision, or the ability to see a different framing of the problem. Growing up poor, I thought my goals were to get an education which would allow me to have a strong resume that would allow me to apply for and get a good job – which I would work for a long time to make a higher salary. But when I went to college, I was the scholarship kid amongst the extensively wealthy, and what I observed was unimaginable to me. I learned I was approaching the system entirely wrong. It wasn’t a linear system that rewarded good behavior, achievement, or the proof of capability. Rich people didn’t make their fortunes off their salaries, they made them through investments and across generations. The kids of these wealthy families weren’t at college to get an education, they were there to make friends with people who would become their colleagues in the future. And none of them cared about a resume because it was an archaic piece of paper that didn’t tell your skills but rather was a glaring demonstration that you didn’t know how to work in the system. Rather than proof that you were capable, it was proof that you were ignorant. What I was supposed to do was know who needed what I had to give. Then call someone who would call the first person and speak for me – not about a job they already had available but about a job I invented and believe they needed.
Yelling louder in politics, using linear arguments and pathways to force change, and demanding to use only the methods we always have renders us useless in a game of Rubik’s cube – a metaphorical space where we will be out maneuvered every time simply because we aren’t approaching the problem space with a visionary eye.
Equity will never be achieved so long as information remains technically acceptable but not realistically consumable. The power within the system is no longer held by force but rather by knowledge of a more sophisticated game approach.