distance

There is perhaps nothing more polarizing than the one dimensional political system that exists in this country.  Every issue on which there is disagreement is disagreed upon to the ultimate degree.  In my last post, I talked about the fact that the quintessential conservative and liberal positions are by definition as far away from each other as possible.  I think the same can be said about positions on any topic on which there is disagreement.  Each issue gets divvied up – one view to the right, the other to the left.  As we seek to typify our particular stance, we move along the single dimension.

To the left or to the right.

In fact, every time we make any decision that is at all political, we can only move along this dimension.  We either move towards a conservative view and away from the liberal stance or vice versa – some say we’re marching “towards” socialism.

I would also argue that this tendency has begun to drift into our daily interactions.  We have the false notion that life is experienced as an endless progression of dichotomies; things are either black or white.

This is never ever the case.  It is not practical.  It is not reality.

Rob Bell in his video “Everything is Spiritual” talks about the problems in seeing things in one dimension.  I would highly recommend it and have a copy if any one wishes to borrow it.  But fundamentally he is saying that when we approach issues from a single dimension we lose a lot of the breadth and depth surrounding what are realistically complex issues.  It is not possible to view the much debated health-care reform as black and white, or left and right.  There are so many dimensions and perspectives and positions yet we insist, collectively and subconsciously that we need a left and a right solution.

And as we automatically assume the approach of our “party affiliation” we distance ourselves as far as possible as our “non-enemies-who-are-perceived-as-enemies.”  And we wonder why they can’t or won’t see things from our single perspective.

(This would be a killer description if I go create some 3D animation here….)

May we always try to find more perspectives in more dimensions as we attempt to understand the issues that we have to deal.  May we be OK with moving towards those who oppose us – realizing that we are not enemies and have mutual interests.  And, may we also understand that moving towards and promoting the extremes are beneficial to no one.

One comment

  1. Well put. It is not possible to hold a consistent Christian view within either American party. Sometimes I tell people that I’m a turn-of-the-20th century European Social Democrat … before the party turned socialist, when the Catholics had just founded it as an alternative to Marxism and the emerging fascist alternatives. Here, we demonize each other, instead of acknowledging that each has only part of the truth.

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