Sunday, December 25, 2011

It is not all Either Black or White

It Is Not All Either Black or White


Politicians tend to present issues as a choice of either black or white. This makes it easy for constituents to support the politician’s choice because they don’t have to study the issue or wrestle with other options. The politicians know that they stand a better chance of getting people’s support by avoiding any discussion of the gray areas, e.g. possible long term consequences. It seems to me that many of the leaders of nations in history became leaders because they promoted an us vs. them attitude. This attitude may be a necessary approach to international issues such as aggression and war; but with intra-national and local issues, it leads to extremes, abuses and inequality.

The present struggle in Washington over what to do about the problems of unemployment, high costs of health care, a sluggish economy, whether homosexuals should have the right to marry, campaign finance reform, and tax reform, runs the risk of decisions being made which are as harmful as the original problem because the decision makers did not consider the gray areas such as all possible consequences. If long range consequences had been made a part of the consideration, this might have called for a compromise—something which present day politicians, especially those of whatever party is in the minority and trying to regain the Presidency, avoid at all costs. It might make the other party look respectable.

Too many people, in my opinion, either don’t want, or don’t have the capacity, to think analytically about complex questions. This makes them vulnerable to whatever adamant, emotion-arousing leader comes along, however good or bad he/she might be. It is easier to choose one of two options than it is to choose one of six possibilities. We take the easy path at our own peril.

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