Tag Archives: Politics

Regressive Thinking

I covered a Corpus Christi city council proceeding recently for a local newspaper and a grassroots community organization. The experience seemed to me a microcosm for a regressive political trend evident in American politics. The council debated what to do about the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) finding dangerously low disinfectant levels in the city water mains for the second time in as many years. The mayor and two council members utilized all of their time attempting to target the TCEQ for allegedly overreacting to Corpus’ repeated failures to measure up to state water standards.  A fourth council member began her like-minded comments as follows, “I am not trusting of government.”

Think about that for a moment. In essence, she said to voters, “I, your elected government official do not trust the process you entrusted me to direct on your behalf.”  It is a common sentiment often expressed in myriad, if covert, ways at all levels of politics in Texas and the United States. It got me to thinking about where we are heading collectively and the kind of thinking that is leading the way.

Government is the act of governing.  Govern is defined as follows by Merriam Webster: “to control or guide the actions of (someone or something).”  You obviously govern your own body.  When you share space and resources with another or others, you establish agreements as to how that space and those resources will be shared. Roles, duties and responsibilities are assumed or assigned as means of assuring those agreements are kept. It applies to families. It applies to clans. It applies to tribes. It applies to interaction between tribes that share space and resources.

Quite obviously the more people occupying a given space and sharing a given amount of resources, the more agreements – read, governing – is required in order to maintain peace and order. Any fool – even an inbred hillbilly confined to interacting with his growing clan on an acre of land – understands that natural equation. The more people and the consequent less space and resources, the more agreement is required and the less self-centeredness is afforded. Or, the more people occupying a given space, naturally the less individual freedom of choice to ‘do as thou wilt.’

It has been observed and thoroughly documented clinically that early stages of infantile thinking begin with the assumption that the child is the center of the universe. Developing awareness of others and the fact that they share space and resources – and cooperating with others in that regard – is incident to the process of maturation. The math becomes intuitive as intelligence evolves.

It is an interesting and potentially enlightening exercise to contemplate the above-offered equation against one’s own experience and values. Think about the political ideas you have accepted or synthesized against that equation. Do some of your cherished ideas make an awful lot of sense after all? Think about the role models, ideals, and dreams you look to and harbor and how you came to accept them and where they are leading you. Do they make you – and those you share space and resources with – feel happier or more fulfilled? Were they influenced by interests, factions or ideologues working at odds to the simple, natural math? What were the purposes of those (educators, politicians, film makers, media, employers, mentors, etc.) seeding such ideation?

Think about the firmly-set ideas you may have developed over the years about certain classes of people (political, social, philosophical, religious, national, racial). Are they fair? Or are they expedient? Are they healthy for you and those with whom you share space and resources?  Have they led to evolution or have they had a regressive effect?

This essay is not a promotion for nor condemnation of any particular political faction. If you engage in the suggested exercise above earnestly, and follow up with some objective homework, I think it will become evident that political extremes – on either side of the aisle – fueled by greed are the most abundant feeders of the sort of regressive thinking addressed.

 

Politricks

There have been a lot of respectful, round-about comments on the blog over the years implying that my politics are from the left wing.  The comments are sometimes overtly and sometimes covertly made by proud conservatives and proud liberals.

I think folks from both sides of the right/left spectrum misunderstand me. I am going to make a political (or apolitical) statement so that there isn’t any mystery about where I stand on the subject of politricks.

While I believe America has become a corporatocracy (that has sometimes verged on fascism) I also believe it has socialized so much as to have created an incentive toward ‘entitlement’ that has become degenerative.  I believe that those who capitalize (and many do as politicians and media) on these obvious problems and make a name for themselves by cleverly arguing that total elimination of either side of those competing evils is the only solution are perpetuating the problem.  I don’t waive any flag, right or left.

I think we continue to evolve and survive as a species because of the unsung heroes in the middle who get it hard from both sides while trying to push things ahead a little bit for everybody. And I think those on either side of the spectrum who earnestly push for reforms (as opposed to those capitalizing on making people anti-this or anti-that) are a lot of times, when they are focused, worthy of support.

A line by Spencer Tracy from an old classic we recently watched, A Bad Day at Black Rock, resonated with me.  His character answered about his political affiliation to a threatening, inquiring redneck (in the stereotypical sense – I have nothing against rednecks and have many times been called one myself):

I’m a rock ribbed Republican who believes Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a great man.

From 06 through 08 I worked for two papers in the Corpus Christi Bay region:

a) We The People, the voice of working men and women. A newspaper whose sponsors considered Barack Obama was too conservative to be elected President.

b) Coastal Bend Herald, The Conscience of the Coastal Bend.  A newspaper so conservative it runs a column by Ron Paul in every edition.

The publishers of both papers – on either extreme of the political spectrum – never once attempted to edit a single word in the hundreds of articles I produced.

Both publishers considered me an asset because of my investigative and writing skills, but more so because I wasn’t backed off from dealing with corruption – whether the perps were Democrats or Republicans.

My politics are that I don’t cotton to corruption and greed, and bullying and injustice to perpetuate corruption and greed.  My philosophy is that if enough people could be brought around to that way of thinking to the point of doing something about it, politics would be a rather pleasant subject and the world would be a far more fair and enjoyable place to live.

Isms don’t pull a lot of weight with me.

After living in this region for more than six years my two most trusted friends and allies are:

a)  The head of the local branch of the Tea Party.

b) The head of the Corpus Christi Populist Progressive Coalition.

Go figure.

I have. I reckon they both are trying to achieve the same thing, only via different routes.  Both of them have hearts of gold.  Both of them do what they do because they detest injustice.  Neither of them are making any money for their efforts.  Both of them would, and have, dropped everything to come to the aid of a fellow citizen in need.

I think the old man had it right when he declared Scientology to be apolitical.

Politics will sort itself out when enough good folks transcend politics.