America: Stumbling thru Prosperity & Crippled by Tribalism

      Why is it that our 2 political parties & our media outlets, in the richest nation to ever exist in the history of civilization, are increasingly focused on imagined fears of any & every sort? Rather than celebrating our wondrously blessed existence?

      I think, in a nutshell, that power over people is most easily obtain through the use of fear. Our political parties want power over us so that they can push their policies into the law of the land. And our media outlets what power over us in order to get us to focus on their content so they can get revenue from advertisers. Yes, it’s more complicated than that, but as I said, that’s it in a nutshell (as opposed to the whole complex world view).

      And we, the people of America, are complicit in the narrative, because we are so focused on living in our blessed prosperity, that we neglect our civic duty to be involved in the governance of the country. Remember that a 40% voter turnout is considered large in American elections. Let’s be honest, that is pathetic. Especially when you consider that the majority of that 40% is the extremist of both sides, not a true representation of the majority of the citizenry.

      These factors have led us into a tribal political system, one in which all people are assumed to be either one or the other and if you are “the other” it is a given that you are either ignorant of reality, or you hate America.

      That is the policy that most annoys me. The idea, posited by both sides, that half of Americans hate America. The absurdity of the idea seems self evident, however, it appears a good portion of us believe it! Since we are becoming more focused on our “tribe” (White vs Black, Christianity vs Islam, Republican vs Democrat, Liberal vs Conservative, Native born vs Immigrant etc etc), we are interacting less and less with “the other”. The danger of that is that it is easy to to hate & vilify any segment of society that you don’t personally know. And that is a danger politicians & the media exploit profusely.

      I think that the truth is that most of us are generally focused on the truly important things in life; taking care of our loved ones, keeping food on the table & roofs over our heads. —And, as an aside, I think this is true of ALL humanity, regardless of ethnicity, culture or religion.— But, in order to obtain, or retain power, our politicians & media spread the message that others hate us, when the truth is they are just like us & only think about us, the same as we only think about them, when our fears are provoked by those same politicians or media outlets.

      Politics is a nasty, brutish & discomforting business. That makes the majority of us, who are generally satisfied with life (because we live in the richest nation to have ever existed!), loath to participate. The irony of that decision is that our politics, and our politicians, keep getting nastier & more brutish, specifically because those of us who are disgusted by it are not participating. So, by not participating, we promote the extremists policies

      It seems that, if the fears spread by the most extreme elements of our society, ever do become real. It will be all of us “non-political” folks who are ultimately to blame.

      We often hear that what is needed are term limits. I propose that we already have them, they are called elections. And if more of us participate in them, our representatives 96% reelection rate would plummet.

Too Much Focus on Fear

Let me make clear from the start, that this article, and any and all articles that may follow, are nothing but my opinion. I am a mechanic and an engineer by trade, so my opinions on topics outside of my expertise are, likely as not, to be pure BS. So please keep that in mind if you’re leaving any comments. I’m a firm believer in discussion & lively conversation, but if the discussion devolves into idiot-troll vitriol, I’ll just drop that silliness into the trash like Shaq dunking on Spud Webb. Ok, now that I’ve wasted 10 minutes on a silly disclaimer, onto my 1st foray into WordPress.

It is more than a little disheartening to see how little gratitude, and how much fear, is created by prosperity.

I directly equate increased prosperity with a decline in gratitude. It’s obvious if you look around you. As people gain more stuff; money, property, gadgets etc, they begin to shift their focus away from the things that hold true value; spirituality, family, friends, community & gratitude.

That’s when fear starts to consume them; fear that they might lose their stuff, fear that others are after their stuff, fear that if they don’t get the latest stuff they’ll fall behind. Once that fear gains a foothold, gratitude falls to the wayside.

When we are poor we truly need our neighbors and community, so we are genuinely concerned for their well-being. We are naturally inclined to be civil and respectful to one another, due to our true need for each other.

Wealth and prosperity never enter communities evenly, so they tend to divide us into opposing groups, and if the community is not blessed to have wise leadership, that division grows destroying the trust that civility requires. Loving one another, never the easiest task, becomes increasingly less important, as we devolve into the love and worship of our individuality.

Our 240th Fourth

Well said sir.

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On this, our 240th Independence Day, I’d like my fellow Americans to consider: Our nation, which has endured so much, is not endangered because gays can marry, women can carry guns, and Mexicans don’t always queue up at the border. It’s in trouble because too many people—natural born Americans included—think they’re justified in using force where debate and argument have failed them.


Our founding fathers were no saints (sorry Texas State Board of Education) but they were smart enough to design a government that erred on the side of inaction. They knew the awesome power of the crown can only be retrained by the light of public debate, and that an ineffective government was preferable to a tyrannical one.

What’s true of government is true of you too, whoever you are and whatever you think you know better than everyone else in the world. The world we share.

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