I want people to think about our politics here in America, because I’m telling you guys that I don’t know of a single nation in this history of the world that’s been able to solve its problems when half the people in the country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country.
This is the most important country in the world, and people in this body cannot function if people are offending one another.
Polarization can create some pretty foul conduct.
Polarization can bring out the worst in people.
Polarization can create stillness within turmoil when movement within teamwork is needed <and desired>.
Polarization within leadership is a virus that infects everyone in the organization … not just in leadership.
I was reminded of this as I watched a completely underreported and under the radar speech Marco Rubio gave on the senate floor after <I believe> Elizabeth Warren had been asked to stop speaking.
Warren gained all the headlines where Rubio actually had the words we should have all been listening to. It is maybe 8 minutes long and worth every second.
Please note that I believe this message is more important than just one directed toward the Senate … it is a message which all Americans should take note of.
We are fortunate to have the privilege of freedom of speech & thought and we should embrace that freedom as one to permit healthy discussion, debate and disagreements … all of which should enable healthy, positive decisions.
Freedom is a tricky thing. In the United States of America we have the unique opportunity to “criticize a president without retribution.” <as past President Obama said to a group of military people at MacDill Air Force base>.
But our freedoms are being challenge by Trump and his attitudes & behaviors in ways we haven’t really seen in a very very long time.
The Trump Affect ripples way beyond simple executive orders and specific actions that will have an impact on the people of the country. The more dangerous ripple effect is one of attitudes & behaviors.
Within this dangerous Trump affect ripple, the freedom to freely criticize is a little less secure … and the way we criticize, debate & discuss in the Trump era appears to be one of not listening, not respecting and not believing that there could possibly be a way to do something differently than the way “I believe.”
Trump and his merry little band of morally corrupt liars suggest that there is no middle ground for “ladies & gentlemen to disagree with ladies & gentlemen” <note: this is a rip off of the Ritz Carlton motto>.
The Trump Affect has trickled down into his direct organization … the congress.
And within that ripple Republicans either embrace the bully opportunity or simply privately watch in horror as leadership decorum and leadership example <which, by the way, IS important as impressionable children and adult seeking cues on how to be leaders watch closely>.
And within that ripple Democrats screech & gnash their teeth in impotent frustration over not only having no power to shift the tides of change but also because, in their heart of hearts, they know this is not the way business should be conducted.
Balance has disappeared.
Just as I am more accepting of my high school football coach if we have a losing season but the players play with respect & dignity and go to class and show signs of growing up with a healthy personal responsibility … I am less accepting of the coach who permits poor behavior & lack of respectful competition even if they win more.
You can have all the good in this case. But balance has been lost.
We should face the fact that balance deserted us the day Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy.
And that is why Rubio’s speech is so important. Without actually saying it he suggests that we shouldn’t let Trump drag us down into some dysfunctional squabbling amorphous blob of indignant jerks.
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.
Both are nonsense.
You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
I like conflict and I think conflict is healthy.
It is a basic Life truth that conflict is the positive friction that often creates innovations and new thinking and new ideas.
But, as with most things in life, there are degrees of conflict.
The kind of conflict we need now, more than ever, is the productive type.
We need to better embrace the valuable contradictions in life.
Smart and funny.
Silent but says a lot.
And enlightened and conflict of course.
We need to better embrace the fact that contradictions are powerful.
They create a chemistry ending in positive friction <when done right> and the fire for innovative thinking and thoughts.
In general I believe contradiction not only make life & people interesting but they also forge the kind of decisions that become the iron construct for a solid culture, civilization and country.
We need to embrace that conflict is part of life and not treat it as only a negative thing.
Combine that fact with individuals are unique <although they may group together> and inevitably there is some conflict. It can simply be healthy competition or it can be staggeringly evil intended activity <i.e. there will be conflict because your point of view and thoughts shouldn’t exist and I am going to extinguish them>.
We need to embrace the fact that conflict can be “managed”.
Maybe call it competitive camaraderie. I call it enlightened conflict. I believe if people know more about stuff <I don’t really believe it needs a technical term> then conflict will be conducted with knowledge.
I would suggest that ignorance, and being close minded, guides conflict toward evil interactions … while knowledge guides conflict to responsible interactions.
We need to embrace that enlightened conflict is really some version of pluralism.
A pluralism in that it encourages, and embraces, freedom to learn and freedom to think different thoughts.
In the end I imagine what I really care about are people’s actions. They can remain mute as far as I am concerned as long as their actions respect others opinions and others lives and meets global responsibilities.
It is silly to think that friction between beliefs and causes is not the spark for something better.
It is silly to think conflict and friction is not good.
Good conflict leads to positive friction and ideation and evolution of ideas.
But it needs to be conducted with respect. Respectful disagreements & debate lead to two things:
- Positive friction.
- Enlightened conflict.
The first is based on curiosity plus friction equals better ideas and thinking.
The second is lack of ignorance plus conflict equals respectful competition.
We here in the United States have an incredible privilege … a freedom to say what we want and disagree and criticize whomever we want. We shouldn’t abuse that privilege by not understanding that it creates good conflict which enables ‘gooder’ ideas.
Marco Rubio did something in his speech which I endorse wholeheartedly … he tried to make an impact on his own little corner of the world … encouraging positive friction for enlightened conflict.
Marco Rubio had a stellar enlightened conflict moment … and more people should see it and listen.
“Enlighten the people, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”