Muse

Yes, this is Political.

I avoided Facebook like the plague for over a decade. The novelty of being connected like a daily high school reunion wore off. The daily pet obituaries seemed to get in the way of my productivity. I became weary of it. Even more so, I was finding myself sharing personal belief in a time when the world was polarizing politically. It was not a desirable way to win friends and influence people. The court of public opinion was a mob ruled community. It was not networking with friends. I was out.

During the Corona pandemic I made the decision to monitor Facebook, especially to educate myself in my profession and to gauge the public perception of current events. Yesterday I read through an exchange that made me sad. It was a feed of comments between two professional men in my community making an umbrella defense of their own political beliefs. It was ugly and got personal. It looked like drunk Clemson and  Gamecock fans getting in a fight at a tailgate and forgetting that they are both blessed to be from the same fine state. I disagree with one of the men’s political stance, but honor his right to his opinion. I agree with the other man’s positions. I personally don’t believe one would have any chance at changing the other’s worldview. I’m not sure either man is correct, for there may be no absolute truth- not one way. Each of them believes in a better way for himself, the people he loves, and the community he wishes to share with. 

It went sour . . . one man could not resist objectifying the moral integrity of one of our leaders and projecting it onto political principle. And worse- project this disgust onto the ALL followers of the political principle that is not his. In great Facebook fashion, people chimed in and threw a few punches through the ropes on the ring. It was embarrassing and painful to read.

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do is a test used by Rotarians world-wide as a moral code for personal and business relationships. The test can be applied to almost any aspect of life. I am pretty sure both of these men are Rotarians. There was a failure of The Four Way Test.

Our nation is also failing this test. Our government is rife with corruption and power struggles that don’t serve the people governed. Our nation is too big and diverse for a government that micromanages minutia and picks sides on binary issues. Bureaucracy is a plague. Political polarization is viral. It has a perfect path of transmission in our news and social media. It is our real pandemic. We  try to mitigate it with the hope that an election will fix the divide in beliefs. Some cling to the notion that some moderation can prevail, a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too in the middle. For others, compromise is the place where principles and ideas go to die.

In any other time in history, the Facebook skirmish I witnessed could have likely been resolved with an honor preserving blood duel. This might have displayed more integrity.

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

I believe that any one has the right to their own opinion. Everyone has the right to pursue happiness, life, and liberty. I’m only regurgitating Jefferson here because those words worked in the first place. Furthermore, we just celebrated our nation’s Declaration of Independence. Surely we read it. All those things about having the right to government that serves them. We really suck at it.  So what would be fair and beneficial to all concerned?

How can both men be right in their own minds and be able to live freely? We have to stop using the democratic ballot box as the answer to everything and remember that we are a nation of unique states united. The very definition of a nation is: a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular territory. We have lots of nations, we call them States. When our country was founded we knew this. The United Sates of America has had the horrible fate of forgetting. The very sacred nature of unique states is the answer to how my battling Facebook men can both be satisfied and live free in a place that is most in alignment with their beliefs, values and mores. Maybe it was Abraham Lincoln preserving the union. Maybe our national identity was forged in the patriotism of world war. Maybe it is just the cancer of bureaucracy and the opportunity for power and wealth at a larger scale.

Our republic has magical and nearly miraculous founding principles. Our Constitution is a document that ensures things to citizens never before in the history of mankind. It was written for a union of states. It works for diversity. 

California is three thousand miles away from me. Generally, much of what they believe there and how they want to live their lives is different than how I would chose. Half of my year’s toil and labor shouldn’t be put in a coffer for someone there to spend. Likewise, no-one three thousand miles away should make any decision on my community’s behalf that we are capable of making here for ourselves. On issues of morality, the Facebook mob should stop trying to influence one another (core values don’t change). Move somewhere and live your life in accordance with that place’s laws and customs. I hear California, Oregon, and Washington State are beautiful- its waiting for someone, just not me.

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