Often there are two conflicting instincts we see portrayed by the media and the monied interests who stand in the way of good policy. One is the sacrosanct belief in open debate and being cordial when discussing important ideas. The other is the very real need for actual conflict and confrontation to actually move policy forward. The myth of full unity in a country is, very seductive but it is still a myth. The idea that everyone in a country can believe the same things are be united under a culture, religious, educational, and moral background is very silly. This isn’t meant to be a situation we should mourn, or throw our hands up in disgust and give up. It is simply a fact and we should treat it as such.
However, for the current powerful folks, the cordiality and appearance of unity and order is more important than actual division or actually changing lives for their constituents for the better. Because despite appearances, they have more in common with each other than the folks they claim to represent. They at some level, must recognize that difference but choose to ignore it and allow themselves to play out the delusion of perceived unity and strengths of values.
I myself, loathe conflict, but I recognize the fact that one cannot avoid it. Conflict in necessary to improve things sometimes. When I say conflict, I am not talking about violence or physical altercations solely. I am talking about any sort of disagreement that puts your ideas, values, morality, or livelihood on the line. Politics is a conflict zone because the implications have real devastating impacts on people’s lives. Those who are struggling and hurting, are not able to choose whether to engage with policies and are forced to fight for the bare minimum. For many people, it is life or death. The elite do not have the same consequences and this means, they don’t have to hurry. In fact, they don’t even have to pursue it at all. They are fine, and they convince themselves that everyone else is too.
Thus conflict and division is the the only way to mitigate any problems. Ignoring it only works for so long and of course, in the end it makes things worse. The elite and the powerful will never actually be able to resist the pull of the system because everything they say or do, helps the system and in turn, is what gives them their security and comfortable lives. I am not trying to condemn them to hell or anything, I am merely suggesting that they have chosen where they want to be and their choices and actions have become so habitual it is difficult to get rid of. The right has always been good at being antagonistic and conflict seeking. They are awful and I disagree with them on almost everything but I think the left ought to do the same thing. Embrace the conflict and the political jousting. I am not saying compromises can never be made. But there are standards we must have for ourselves and just because we fundamentally disagree and might not be able to work together with everyone, doesn’t mean that we can’t make a better world and healthier society. The right’s entire schtick is held up by money and networks of awful individuals. Many of the ideas are bad but the funding is what keeps it alive. On the battleground of ideas, we can win, but we mustn’t be too nice about it. The moment we start being even slightly aggressive we will be double teamed by the center and the right. Hell, they will do it even if we don’t be as aggressive as we want to be. They have this stereotype in their head of the left and we cannot shake that it them. It has worked for them because we were unwilling to adapt and be more aggressive. We need to recognize that our values and our ideas are worth fighting back hard for. Convincing people should only be a secondary concern. The fact of the matter is that people don’t get convinced due to only rational factual observations and there is some emotion that is involved. I believe this is important as emotions are not just icky things we try to avoid, they help us relate to others. We can do better and the elite are already unified despite appearences to the contrary. They are able to be calm because they are not hurting. Therefore, they are not reliable.