Politics is very emotive because “division” is an important aspect of the human Ego.
The Ego’s default inclination is to either..
- Seek ATTACHMENT or
- SEPARATION, particularly when we’re not psychologically awake to what is happening.
Let’s just take a second to review how Attachment works – it inflates (false) sense of self – if we psychologically “have” more, we “are” more.
Separation works by also inflating (false) sense of self – by separating, we make an “other”, and there is no greater “other” than an “enemy”. We criticise, complain about an “other”, implying we are superior in some way.
So politics is about attaching to a party that represents our beliefs, our desires and goals, while separating from parties that don’t connect with us.
Because these things are important to us, they come with great emotion.
We become tribalist behind the ideologies of one party at the expense of others.
But politics isn’t as black or white as politicians and the media would have us believe.
Mainstream media is a hugely influential force, when it comes to shaping public opinion.
But it’s important to understand that the media craves drama, discourse, division and headline-making news, in the most emotive way possible. It does so because these things attract and engage viewers, and in doing so, the media can make money from sponsors and advertisers and justifies its existence to stakeholders.
As the public, we need not take sides, or get dragged into the overblown drama of the media.
If you’re emotional about something, anything, there is an underlying attachment at the heart of that emotion. Check out the following story to illustrate what I mean.
Mike is watching the news, sees a program where keir Starmer criticises Boris johnson with regards to one of his policies; the details aren’t important for the purpose of this story.
This elicits a negative reaction by Mike, as if he were being personally, verbally attacked himself.
But why does he have this response?
Mike is attached to Boris Johnson in some way – not to him personally, because he’s not a big fan of him as a leader. Mike is attached to some of his policies. Mike likes what he believes Johnson is trying to “do for” the country
Mike believes Johnson is going to try and “reform government” – which is important to Mike.
Mike believes Johnson is going to invest in northern towns and cities – by redistribute wealth to poorer, undeveloped areas, as he promised.
Mike believe Johnson represents “something important to him”
Mike reacts to an attack on his attachment; what he believes Johnson stands for.
Mike doesn’t want Johnson’s “mission derailing”
Mike is really attached to what he believes…
- Johnson stands for
- Johnson represents
- Johnson will do for the country and for him personally
- #1 – Reform government
- #2 – Investment in northern towns and cities – redistribute wealth to poorer areas.
Mike is putting faith in the person rather than the system. He may not trust the system.
Does the Johnson have the power to deliver on his promises? Does Johnson have the will to do this? Does Mike trust Johnson’s intent, capabilities, trustworthiness.
Remember, we judge politicians on the basis of their…
- Personality – intent, capability, credibility, trustworthiness, likeability
Mikes beliefs, in this instance, are based on FAITH rather than certainty and habit.
So it is with all of us, when we’re trying to make decisions about future events or situations, we can’t know with any certainty that we’re doing the right thing. We may give a leader or party the benefit of the doubt, but faith is usually what our beliefs are founded on.
I guess we could vote a particular way based on habit; we voted for them last time, we’ll vote for them again, or family vote for a particular party, so we do the same.
We might decide not to vote at all.
After all is said and done, whether you’re engaged in politics or not, it affects every facet of everybody’s lives.
Whatever your political persuasion, it’s important to understand the roles that all the participants play; politicians, media and the public.
It’s equally important to see through the often overblown drama stirred up by the media. They are running a business with their own agenda. Drama pays the bills for these organisations.
It’s equally important to understand that competing political parties are maneuvering for political power. It is in their interests to disagree with one another, to find fault in one another for their own political gain.
However, there is a difference between point scoring and holding each other to account, which is an important part of the political process. We want government to be scrutinised and held-to-account by other parties and the media, for their promises and actions.
But understand the underlying motives and learn to read between the lines. Scrutiny is good, point scoring, and political maneuvering is bad and self-serving by the politicians.
We shouldn’t focus on taking sides, by falling behind one party or the other and attaching with a vice-like-grip to a political position or engage in party politics. What we need to do, as a society, is to hold all politicians to account. Utilise the best policies based on merit and the reality of human nature in reaction to those policies, rather than ideology alone. We need to ensure politicians deliver on promises with effective execution. Question whether the policies are doable, and the politicians capable, and we should base these judgements on merit, not ideology.