...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

American Life

The biggest issue facing America and the world is not political, it is psychological. The world has the capabilities to solve the most challenging problems, from Global Warming to the crisis in Middle East, but we are not doing so. We could blame our lack of impetus entirely on the Bush Administration, who has refused to acknowledge human involvement in global warming, and has made every effort to gut environmental policy, has invaded Iraq, cut taxes for the rich…the list goes on.

But the Bush Administration is not the root cause of our societal problems. In 2004 the majority of Americans voted for Bush. We could simply say "the root cause is the stupidity of the electorate, too ignorant to understand the nuances and sophistication of effective government." After the election, a common chain e-mail purported to show how superior the average IQ of blue staters to of red staters. But the American people are not stupid, they are you and me. John Kerry, while succeeding in rallying much of his Democratic base, failed to communicate with them. Furthermore, by framing the election as some kind of intelligence test, one downplays the critical morality of politics. John Kerry did not make clear the immorality of Bush's policy. He talked about economic issues not in terms of the poor, the suffering, the millions of Americans without health insurance, or how it is wrong to leave a gigantic debt for future generations. It is no surprise that the biggest issue in the election was moral issues. But George Will is right, every political issue is a moral issue.

People in liberal circles would rather Bush bash, and feel superior to red staters, but they never try to understand why people vote Republican. They do believe they are doing the right thing and they do care about America. The root cause is a psychological backlash against the capitalist economy's incessant message of materialism, hedonism, and cynicism. The philosophy of our culture is extreme individualism. Today in America, the well being of the community is deemed much less significant than satisfying the desires of the individual. John F Kennedy’s lofty ideals are deemed quaint and historic. The result of this individualism is a loss of connection, a deep loneliness where no one is willing to sacrifice his or her interest for the sake of others. This philosophy is particularly evident in generation Y, our generation. ADD and depression are considered the norm, because every child is led to expect instant gratification and constant stimulation. Individual success is the ultimate goal, and people are judged not by their character, but where they go to school and their earning potential. Success, as defined by our society, devoid of any ethical standards, and disconnected from any cause bigger than the self, is unfulfilling and lacks meaning. This is in turn is why many kids my age turn to drugs and alcohol to escape the feeling of emptiness and to numb the present experience.

In order to overcome our deep psychological malaise reflected in our individualistic culture, we must as a whole embrace the unity of humanity, weather red state or blue state, American or Middle Eastern, pacifist or terrorist, with equanimity. Global problems will not be solved through more intelligence but by the cultivation of collective compassion. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The great problems facing modern man is that the means by which we live have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live…The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make it a brotherhood.”

People vote Republican because they are more concerned with the lack of meaning in our culture, than with their economic interests. Thus, the evangelical movement swallows more voters, while the Democratic party sits on its hands.


Blogger progressyouth said...

I am commenting here to get the hyperlink to this post.

I am continuing a discussion of this important issue in my next post.

Nice post.

4:30 PM


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