Not long ago I took a trip to Alabama. Saw some interesting stuff and learned a bit. I went in October to see my old friend Bruce. We started taking pictures and doing the darkroom thing at about the same time in High School. He’s the only person I’ve ever gone out with to wander around looking for pictures to take. So, when I went to see him last October we went wandering for photos. Visited some ghost towns (like Burnt Corm) and haunted graveyards. I mean it was October. I learned that many of the graves of people killed during the Civil War were empty because the Union Army would burn the bodies of the southerners they killed and leave them. In contrast the South would return the bodies of Union soldiers killed in battle. I think we get so focused on the bad in people anymore that any of their good doesn’t matter. The South fought a war to preserve their way of life. Wouldn’t we do the same today? Unfortunately, their way included the continuation of slavery which was unacceptable but they weren’t bad people. They just didn’t know any better and those stubborn individuals who rose to political power wouldn’t and in all probability couldn’t seek a better solution to the slavery issue than leaving the Union that ended in a civil war. Lincoln didn’t start out fighting the Civil War to free the slaves, his goal was to reunite the country. The abolition of slaves only came into the picture when Lincoln was hard pressed to get more men to step up and become soldiers for the Union. Current estimates are 750,000 people died fighting that war. That’s more casualties than all the other wars the US has fought in combined. I think the death toll was so high because the battles were fought like they’d always done with advancing picket lines but the weapons being used were much more lethal. They needed to change their strategy but couldn’t see another way.
I look around today and see this same kind of rabid polarization. It seems the Democrat Party currently suffers from myopic vision. Like thinking that the only way to get rid of Trump is to impeach him. They’ve spent all their time on something that will never have the outcome they want when they should have spent that time developing good presidential candidates that could beat Trump at the ballot box. When people become so focused, so single minded about something they just can’t stop themselves. It’s like lemmings going off the cliff. The belief that Trump had to have gamed the system to get elected is a decent into conspiracy theory. I don’t know why they just didn’t except the fact he won and begin the real work of rising up a candidate for the 2020 elections that could take him down. Every single allegation against Trump has been refuted or minimized. Too much crying wolf by the Dems. Don’t get me wrong, I hate Trump but I have to except the facts that the GDP has had steady growth over the last three years along with record low unemployment across all ethnic lines. Illegal immigration is down by 70%. New and much better trade deals are coming online. All this is hard to fight because it’s personal. It’s about my job, my income, my company’s growth, like I said, it’s personal. Sitting presidents with these kinds of numbers generally get reelected or so history tells us.
This polarization that both political parties are helping to create is frustrating as hell to me. We do have real issues that need real solutions. Things like how we are impacting the climate and the planet in general, systemic poverty, crime, violence of all kinds (not just guns), racism, terrorism, the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs… These are hard things that take LISTENING more than talking and having to be right. I feel that right now no one has the answers to all these issues because we can’t sit down long enough and listen until we truly understand why people feel the way they do. From my experience as a leader what we need to do is define the ends we have in mind. I’ve found that once each side has defined the ends they have in mind they can share them with the opposition and all parties will discover that they can agree that all of these ends are good. Only then can we craft solutions. When we work together in not violating any of the ends we have shared and agreed are important is the search for the third alternative possible. This takes humility because you have to deal with the fact that being right isn’t as important as finding real solutions we all can believe in. End of my rant for today.