Integrity Disgrace Award – Political Bigotry

by Dr. David Gruder

Integrity Disgrace Award

One of the effects of living in an age when Political Correctness is over-emphasized is that hatred is forced to find new ways to express itself.

Being PC doesn’t eliminate hate; it only drives hate into new and more sophisticated avenues of expression. Hate needs somewhere to go.

Trying to eliminate hatred based on race, religion, age, gender, and so forth, doesn’t mean you have eliminated the fear-based rightness addiction that fuels bigotry. As long as people cling to fear-based righness addiction, they will search for the most socially accepted form to express their bigotry.

Now that is no longer acceptable in most circles to utter anything that even remotely resembles hatred toward ethnic/cultural groups, races, religions, genders, various ages, and those with various impairments, a new socially accepted form hate has taken their place: political bigotry.

Todays voices of political hatred have a venomous fervor, the extremity of which we have not seen since the McCarthyism of the 1950s. It’s even worse today in that political bigotry now extends in multiple directions: toward socialists and capitalists, toward environmentalists and business expansionists, toward conservatives and liberals, toward globalists and nationalists, etc.

Those members of the media whose talk shows thrive on fueling political bigotry are responsible for making socially acceptable one of today’s last bastions of socially accepted hatred. Because of this, political bigotry is a form of hatred that continues to be indulged and celebrated in our culture by far too many citizens, media pontificators, and leaders. (Political bigotry is closely tied to fanaticism, which I have already written extensively about in my Declaration of Global Responsibility document. I will therefore not address Fanaticism Disorder in this post beyond briefly mentioning it here.)

These ideologically addicted columnists, talk show, and "news" show pundits, on the political right and the political left, and their equally venomous adherents, share The New IQ IntegrityWatch Blog’s Integrity Disgrace Award for today, May 1, 2008.

Hatred is a kind of holier-than-thou arrogance. If someone told you that the drug they are trying to sell you is the cure-all of everyone and everything would you believe them? I sure hope not. Yet, how often do you even recognize when you receive a flyer or e-mail that uses felony spin to attempt to manipulate you into the opposite: that a candidate is so evil that s/he is going to single-handedly destroy your way of life?

Hatred stifles dialogue. Hatred sabotages the collaborative, synergistic decision-making we so desperately need today in our communities, in our governments, in international relations and in trade relations. Unfortunately, political hatred continues to excite and entertain the public. In today’s upside down world, our allegedly free press generally tends to cater to what they believe scintillates the public, rather than to fulfill their social responsibility to truly educate rather than spin the public.

The time has come to come to grips with two particularly hard-to-face truths about political hatred:

  1. The core perspectives that political groups who hate one another hold is indeed an important PIECE of the larger picture. No amount of name-calling, bad-mouthing or spin doctoring can change that fact.
  2. We can only discover the COMPLETE picture that is necessaty for co-creating truly durable, responsive, root-cause solutions to our problems when we combine the wisdom of conservativism and the wisdom of liberalism, the wisdom of expansionism with the wisdom of environmentalism, the wisdom of nationalism with the wisdom of globalism, and the wisdom of capitalism with the wisdom of socialism. What we are really combining is the two core values that live at the heart of the mission statement of every truly democratic republic on the face of this planet: individual freedom and the common good.

We need this kind of collaboration now more than ever. Political bigotry directly interferes with our ability to do this. The arrogance that says one political party, or one set of economic guidelines, or one ideology, can solve all problems, is a dangerous form of propaganda that far too many citizens continue to swallow.

For instance, environmental extremists are just as dangeous as business expansionist extremists who try to pretend that humans can do whatever they please because are incapable of damaging our planet. At the same time, the saner business expansionists hold deeply important PIECES of the larger picture just as equally sane environmentalists do.

If you’re looking for a simplified picture in which solutions can be found by embracing only one ideological perspective, you might want to find another planet to live on because this attitude simply does not and will not work here. It’s time that people who understand this, which is actually the majority of us, start sanding up and saying this out loud.

Do you truly want to see an end to the insanity, destruction and solution-interference that political bigotry creates? Then stop feeding it by tuning in to it, tolerating it, and being manipulated by it! Stop silently accepting it! Stop buying the one-size-fits-all delusion that any single political perspective is wise enough to see the whole picture and to generate sustainable solutions.

Returning to the environmentalism-business expansionism example, there is a right place for environmental concern and an equally right place for the expansion of human interests. Free market principles have huge strengths, yet the weaknesses of capitalism (and yes there are a few!) are the strengths of socialism — and vice versa.

When you read this, it is important for you to bear in mind that true high-minded capitalism most excels at expanding entrepreneurial and corporate freedom, and true high-minded socialism most excels at preserving the common good. Citizens need to understand that a country that chooses to maintain a strong military in order to preserve the common good is a country that understands the strengths of healthy socialism!

Most people don’t realize that the United States Constitution mandates a government that combines the virtues of capitalism with the virtues of socialism, because without elements of both it is not possible for a country to live at the intersection of individual freedom and the common good. Ideologically arrogant capitalists conveniently forget this little truth, and they want you to forget this too. Ideologically arrogant socialists want you to forget this little truth, and they want you to forget this too.

Countries that are not ideologically arrogant, such as Canada, England, Sweden are demonstrating every day that the strengths of both capitalism and socialism can be wedded in ways that serve the highest good of individuals, businesses and society. But how often do Americans hear about these successes? Not very often, because the public knowing about this doesn’t help the cause of ideological zealots and fanatics on EITHER side of our politically and ideologically polarized society.

It is time for all of us to embrace what we already know: that political and ideological polarization is a form of hatred. It is a form of bigotry. It is a form of unbridled arrogance. It creates a kind of gridlock that guarantees truly effective solutions will never be found. It is thus a form of insanity.

So, start calling political bigotry what it is: hatred that is no more acceptable than — and just as destructive as — racism, ageism, religious hatred, sexism, and so forth.

Here’s a simple exercise you can do to heighten your awareness about this crucial issue. Next time you listen to, watch or read something where across-the-board venom is being spewed about a political perspective or candidate, think about what your reaction would be if they were saying this same thing about everyone in the ethnic or religious or or political group with which you identify yourself. I think you wouldn’t like that at all. If you keep this in mind, you will find yourself becoming less susceptible to believing the stereotypes that hate mongers try to spin people into believing. For instance, if some pundit claims that all liberals or all conservative are "stupid, incompetent idiots who are destroying our society," substitute "liberals" or "conservatives" with the political (or ethinic or religious) group with which you identify yourself, and see how you feel then.

  • Start speaking out AGAINST political bigotry whenever you hear it, just as you hopefully would do if you heard hatred being voiced about a particular ethnic or cultural group, race, religion, gender, age or impairment.
  • Start speaking out FOR the necessity of seeking out and embracing the heart of each seemingly opposing perspective, because it contains a PIECE of the larger picture that we so desperately need in order to co-create the solutions we need today.
  • Start spreading the wisdom that says no single group can accurately see the whole picture by themselves but that this bigger picture can and will emerge if we join together as though creating a jigsaw puzzle. Each group has important puzzle pieces that the other groups don’t have. Only by combining our respective pieces can we co-create the larger picture we need in order to truly solve our problems.

In summary, Political bigotry is no more justifiable — or helpful — than any other form of hatred. May we start treating it that way — and soon! The jigsaw puzzle metaphor I described above is our road map for helping this happen. It is the antidote to the destructive polarization that has us in its jaws and is slowly biting down on us to kill the life out of democracy.

I’ll say that one last time, this time the way someone just said to me: political hatred, bigotry and polarization is THE most problematic and dangerous threat to democracy itself.

Enough is enough. It’s time for all of us to stop tolerating this insanity. If we don’t the ALL of us will deserve one of my Integrity Disgrace Awards!

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