A Moment On Politics

I'd like to reassure you that I'm not going to write about the "state of the nation" or my opinions on riots or police or anything else. Rather, I'd like to talk about how people react to politics and why (in general) I just stay out of it.

To start, there's this thing sometimes called "tribalism" which is the human habit of arranging ourselves in teams or groups that agree on certain topics. You can see this most prominently in sports and politics, where "our team" is good and right and justified, and "their team" is bad and wrong and unreasoning. Of course, any individual approached on this subject is very likely to express that they don't really think that way, it's just "part of the game" or it's just "on this one topic."

But you can see the trend, yes?

I myself am part of a group I'll call "literary elitists," that believe that reading is the best of all possible pastimes and books are valuable because they are books. We are set up more or less in opposition to the people we might call "cinematic elitists" that believe TV and movie translations of a book are superior, usually because they are more digestible for the mass audience.

The danger of this habit is not, as one might expect, that we blindly attack people that do not belong to our group, but rather in insulation from other points of view. Instead of actually engaging in a debate with another person, we prefer to set up arguments we think the other party would make, and agree among ourselves that the argument is not a good one, affirming how right and good and justified we are to think that way.

We have reached a point in American history where the political arena is dominated by two tribes, allowing folk to pick the color they like better, then set up a totem of the opposing party to yell at rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue with another human being. We basically only talk to people about politics that we already agree with, and if there's information we don't have, rather than revising the flawed opinion we had before, we defend ourselves with the fact that we didn't know it.

Do you see the problem there?

So although voting based on popularity would ensure that the person I vote for is more likely to win, and although taking sides on a topic will gain me friends that agree (loudly) with that opinion, I do not want to put myself in a position where I fall into the trap of insulating myself against the explanations and arguments of the "other side."

Though what I'm doing, insulating myself from both sides in an effort to "stay neutral," isn't much better.

What about you, Inklings? What do you do with politics?

#life #politics

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