Skip to main content

Americans Are Not Political

An Essay on Political Dissonance 



The American Dream of Upward Mobility, anyone can get rich, well not everyone.



Etched into American etiquette is the belief  that political discussions are to be avoided, at all costs.  One can conduct conversations concerning the most private of matters. Highly personal topics are acceptable.  Ideology is not.
The reluctance of Americans to define themselves politically is in sharp contrast to the way they define their religious views.  The divisions within Christianity points to the need for specificity regarding the precepts that define a faith.  Americans have little difficulty with taking a highly evangelical approach to religion.  Spreading the word is part of the faith. Sometimes it is a requirement.
Just as Americans go to great pains to define their beliefs, such care is not  given to politics. Defining ones political identity in America leaves little room for nuance. The lines are stark.  The dialectal nature of the two party system creates a yes or no response regarding how one sees ones self politically. It also impacts problem solving.  It is literally a winner take all model.

Political parties embody specific ideologies.  All of them do. Within every party is a template for how society is to governed and the methods employed.

Core beliefs are the very  D.N.A. of a political party. They form the ideals, goals, expectations and values that give substance. They also  define their members. Belonging to a party is providing consent to an ideology.

The opulent world of a Man of The People.
The poor one day hope this will be their future.
Are they only one lottery ticket away?

The reason why conflict in this arena becomes so heated is that individuals participating are defining the core of who they are, even if unaware.  A political party immediately offers an identity. It becomes the very expression of personal choice. To reject a party is to reject the people in it, as it is seen by some.

Americans are notorious for saying, “I am just not political.”  Also common is “I just don’t vote.” What they fail to see is that both acts are in effect defining a political identity. It is being done just minus party affiliation.

What non voters are stating is that they reject the system. Their message is that government is either irrelevant, or unchangeable. In their lack of engagement, they are making a political statement of identity.
Either due to disconnectedness and possibly apathy, they are making a point. The big  statement being made is that they are unwilling to either join an existing system or offer alternatives.

Some who participate in the system do so with a sense of disconnectedness to the parties to which they belong.  Some join simply because there is a history of supporting a particular group.  There is no questing of what membership means. There also maybe very little understanding of what the core beliefs of the party are.

Only In America, Political Dissonance can turn a rich man into a populist . 


Due to the education system, Americans are simply not versed in the essentials of various political systems and  ideologies.  Concepts like National Socialism, Socialism, Fascism, Social Democracy, Democracy, Democratic Republic, Communism, Constitutional Monarchy and Oligarchy are ideas that are a jumble for far too many.

Many are unaware of the fact that a political system and an economic system are separate. Capitalism is a not a political system. In the minds of most Americans Capitalism is tied so closely to the American Political system that they are one in the same. Democracy and Capitalism are seen as conjoined and always dependent on each other.

For many Americans, Socialism is tied to Communism, even though both are obviously not the samet.  The reason for the confusion is easy to understand when you understand education in America.

When it comes to U.S. education, there is a real hesitancy to educate the public on the various political systems in the world and the various economic systems that accompany them. Instead of clear understandings of terms, the political world is seen as an incomprehensible web of inferior ideologies that are either irrelevant, incompressible or both.

Even in some sections of academia there is ignorance regarding our system of government. This sector of society is not immune to indifference to political life.

Hobbled by the perception that they are not vital, politics is viewed as either a necessary evil or something to be avoided at all costs. This idea even translates into government itself being viewed as an omni-present villain and all participants guilty by association.

Much of what happens, or does not happen, in U.S. politics really comes down to the notion that forming a detailed political identity is not important.  As we have seen, with that foundation absent, almost anything can happen.  Usually, it is the “anything”  that becomes a reality. This is usually bad.
Minus a understanding of what a political identity means, political figures run without being in accord with the tenants of their party.   Nearly anything can be said.  One can go to vast extremes and carry a specific agenda because there is no agreement about what the party stands for and what is of minor interest versus major interest.

Versailles, A possible reminder of what can happen?


Because of the fast and loose nature of identity in politics, people vote in ways not accord with their identity outside the voting booth.  Individuals may live in a life style not in accord with the principles of the party to which they belong.

Recreational drug users and those having premarital sex can define themselves as Republicans.  Their life styles are counter to core principles of the party, yet they have no problem with the contradiction. This dissonance between life style and political identity is the result of when a political identity is not formed, or partical formed.  If your identity is fluid enough, you can vote for any party without dealing with the contradictions.

            Minus the creation of a world view, people vote not only for parties that are counter to their life styles and beliefs, they also vote against their own interests. This happens when one is not looking closely at the D.N.A. of a party.

Sometimes the contradictions are glaring.  Caitlin Jenner, whose transition from male to female has put a spotlight on the subject of being transgendered. She also  openly stated support for the Republican Party.  This caused concern.

The Republican Party has never made LGBT rights part of the party platform.  In fact, Publicans have used fear and prejudice of this community to gain votes.

Jenner was surprised that anyone took issue with her party affiliation.  In this example of personal identify being divorced from political identity, the blatant contradiction was missed.  This is an example of how political identity disconnection finds people supporting causes not only counter to their interests, but hostile to them.


The Luxury Life, but at what cost to the country?  The inability to see where the money really goes.


Had Jenner an awareness of the platform of the party and her own identity and circumstances, she may have seen why others were confused.  Clearly her past identity as an affluent White male athlete was overriding her new one.  Her gender changed, but not her political identity.

Political Identity Dissonance is the reason why the election of 2016 had its unlikely outcome. People who were poor, working, class and white supported the Republican Party. Even though the party platform contained elements harmful to their circumstances, the lack of a strong political identity  in tune with their reality made voting this way possible.

When the two identities, the actual identity of who you are, is not connected closely to the political one, it is easy to make the intellectual lapse in logic necessary to vote against yourself.
The reality of how Americans view themselves and their nation is at serious odds with the reality.  “Alternative Facts,” is a concept that can be traced in part to the disconnect Americans have between thier political selves and personal identity.

              If facts are “fluid,” then one can live with contradictory political identities without the pain of facing objective reality.  It also allows you fudge facts and in such a way that reality is just a malleable palette upon with anything can be written.

The philosophical constructs America is built upon is now facing a radical revision. At this point in history factual information can be ignored or revised at will and political dissonance can exist with out appearing hypocritical.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Drag Queens and Blackface

February 5th 2015
Kurt von Behrmann





The First Signs of Real Change

The Washington Protests: the shape of things to come 


Protests broke out in Washington D.C. during the inauguration of the controversial 45th President of the United States.  A distinguishing feature of this one was that it was not the product of spontaneous pandemonium.  This organized event brought together several groups unified in their shared beliefs.

                One statement made by this collective was so powerful that it explained succinctly the reasons for the discontent. It was a powerful message.
                Seeing a stretch limousine battered and flaming is an arresting image. What made this one potent were words spray-painted on the side “We The People.”  The connection between those words and the anger that compelled them to be written was visual, visceral and ultimately vitriolic.  Deeply seated resentments and frustrations were writing themselves on the American Psyche, one not accustomed to this kind of populist expression.


                Connective tissues s…

The Most Tasteless Thing You Can Post After A Tragedy

Kurt's Choice of the most Tasteless thing you can put on the Web after a tragedy.


Here it is

I am still in shock with this one. What would you do after a tragic air crash? I know, do what the "good" people at Z Living.com did and promote your cheap herbal remedy for depression.

Oh, and lets make it really "classy" and put the face of Andreas Lubitz on the page telling you how you can avoid depression.

That's right, if Lubitz just used St. John's Wort, no one would have died in the French Alps.

Hey, why not exploit human suffering, loss and grief to sell your cheap remedy for depression?

If you can make a quick buck, why not?

Really?



(I am very involved with issues related to mental health and this is serious. If you suffer from depression, bipolar or any mental illness, please seek professional help. NAMI is a great starting point. Mental illness is a medical matter, so please get help if you even think there maybe a problem. Prompt help does…