“This is polarization based on choice and self-selection,” Bishop said. “Being an adult is accepting lots of different ways of being. We are so unsure of our own identities that we are not as accepting as we could be of people of different identities. In a sense we are getting what we demand from government. We demand our tribe wins. So that’s the fight. It becomes a fight of tribal differences.”
A recent article on CNN.com bemoans the gridlock and partisan bickering that characterizes our recent US politics. Rightly, it places the blame where it should be: on us. We elect people who are partisan, who are bickerers, who make money from not working together.
And I think the article has some insight about this regarding our identities. We are unsure of our identities in the US. Why? Because we’re bereft of the communities that give life its meaning. Yes, the article notes that we live more and more in enclaves of thought that are so red or so blue that no other color exists there. But living in these enclaves isn’t a sign of having an identity. It’s actually a sign of a loss of identity. We are afraid that if we mix with other groups, we’ll lose who we are. We’ll be brain washed. Fear marks US politics.
Mill defended liberty on the basis of the free market of ideas. If we allow everyone to speak their peace, then truth will emerge in this market of ideas. Tocqueville warned that America might become a tyranny of the majority because people take tolerance too far. What we see is that this free market of ideas has led us closer to Tocqueville’s America than to Mill’s free democracy.
Because ideas are just another commodity. When news organizations are owned for profit, only those who profit benefit. The advertisers and media handlers have learned how to sensationalize even the most trivial thing, and through sensationalism sell, sell, sell.
That has no place in a free market of ideas because truth is just another commodity.
I am, of course, not arguing that we should end free speech. I am arguing that speech should be free. Citizens United has destroyed that possibility for present. I thought that OWS would make it viable again. Now my hopes rest with Idle no More.
My hopes rest in each one of you writing daily to your representative and senator demanding change, and voting them out of office until we have people who vote for us, by us, and with us.
It’s up to you.