Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Common Ground

In his 1968 folk ballad titled "The Boxer," Paul Simon was almost prophetic in his observation that, "a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."  Through honest and sobering introspection, I recently learned that for decades I had been hearing battle cries for political domination rather than hearing the calm, confident voice that is calling for common-sense resolution, peace and unity in America.

We are inundated daily with political propaganda.  While some of these messages are clearly labelled, I submit that the lion's share of our nation's political propaganda is disguised as "news."  The "news" is generally presented by very likeable and believable reporters who present a degree of truth in their reports.  The problem isn't with what they say most of the time, but how they say it.  The "news" that these reporters present is usually very carefully packaged to generate specific emotions and sociological results with the listeners.  This "news" has the potential to be a very effective and dangerous weapon in the hands of an enemy who knows what we are hoping to hear. 

So, what is America hoping to hear or see when we listen to the "news?"  If you are a democrat, are you watching FOX?  If you are a republican, are you watching CNN?  Each side shamelessly attacks the other side with "evidence" of incompetence and injustice.  What are they hoping to gain? 

When we watch the "news" are we hoping that everything is fine and dandy, or are we subconsciously looking for the "evidence" that supports and strengthens our nation's divisive political ideologies?  Are we subconsciously hoping that our politicians are misrepresenting us, or maybe that the republicans or the democrats have been publicly embarrassed?  Could it be that we are being told exactly what we want to hear, and that we are being played like pawns on a chessboard? 

I challenge our readers to conduct the following "news" test.  Our mission in this exercise is to uncover the truly important principles of democracy and vital issues of magnitude that unite us, and to look for points of agreement on the truly important values that are vital to our nation's sustainability and our ultimate survival.  I submit that we will find these things if we can train ourselves to look for them: 
  1. Put aside your individual political ideology.
  2. If you are a republican, watch a CNN daily report.  If you are a democrat, watch a FOX daily report.
  3. Watch these reports with COMPLETE OBJECTIVITY as best you can.  Rather than drawing instant conclusions, SEEK TO UNDERSTAND.
  4. Purposely LOOK FOR COMMON GROUND!!!  To do this, you must be willing to ignore the tremendous amount of time and energy that the "news" expends in partisan feuding and political warfare strategies. 
  5. Please let us know what you find.
I completed this exercise myself with today's noon report, and I found common ground on the following issues:
  • The left and the right both want economic recovery and prosperity. 
  • The left and the right both want strength and growth in American business.
  • The left and the right both want a comfortable and pleasant standard of living for American families.
  • The left and the right both want to provide vital services and resources for our elderly and disabled.
  • The left and the right both want strong and effective national security.
  • The left and the right both want healthy international relationships.
  • The left and the right are both suffering from "government logic" (please see August 6 posting for a definition).
I also found that there are fundamental differences in the proposed solutions to these issues, and it seems that neither side is willing to look for a "third solution."  Political pride and arrogance on both sides of the aisle have have placed resolution in a stalemate.  Our elected government employees are behaving like 2 children in the same room that are each playing "house" separately rather than playing together.  Like classic co-dependents, we, the people, have enabled, condoned, and even joined in on this counterproductive "parallel playing."  We must demand that our elected government employees put aside their pride and arrogance, quit blaming each other, find common ground on vital issues of importance, and look for a "third solution." 

Again, If we can all just take a step back and analyze the cause and effect of our actions, we can easily see that we are all being played like pawns on a chessboard.  In this game of chess, we are precariously close to letting our opponent divide us, flank us, and leave us in checkmate.  Does it matter which side claims political victory if we allow ourselves to be crippled by division?  Are our political differences worth the cost of losing our self respect, our unity and our nation? 

What must we do to develop a practical, common ground governmental agenda that will strengthen and unite America?  I submit that it needs to start in the hearts, the minds and the actions of "We, the People."  

Brian Buckta
Written Impressions
103 S. State St.
La Farge, WI  54639
(608) 625-6372 / cell (608) 606-2062


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