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Embracing Our Inner Idiot

It’s stunning to watch people burst a vein over things they understand very little about, but feel very strongly about. People become emotionally charged-up over sacredly held beliefs; beliefs which often are borne out of no more than the propaganda we were first exposed to early on. Politics seem to bring out the inner idiot in people and causes otherwise rational people to lose all real sense of decorum. I love to read articles about Obama and Palin and McCain and Pelosi and then read the comments people take the time to write after the articles. The criticisms are mean-spirited, not very well thought out and really miss the mark in my opinion.

Yes, you could argue that Palin is not very smart, but she’s turned that into a money making machine. That’s smart; which makes you wonder how smart we are as a nation; making allegedly dumb people rich. Yes, you could argue that Pelosi deserves to be exiled as the Speaker of Another Planet because of her clubbish arm-twisting and very left pushing politics. She’s the poster child for all things spendy. But, she’s become one of the most powerful women in the world; which makes you wonder how smart we are as a nation; making seemingly close-minded people so powerful.

So, we could go back and forth about each and every politician and there would be opinions from the lovers and the haters and the informed and the misguided. Here’s my somewhat neutral opinion: The thing about all of our politicians is that each and every one has flaws in their emotional intelligence, because they are human. Each and every one has power needs because they are politicians (why would you subject yourself to the public’s lunacy otherwise?). Each and every one, at their very core, probably isn’t as hateful, stupid, uncaring, mean – and any other negative description you come up with – as you might paint them to be. They probably want to make life better – even the politicians we don’t like probably want that at some level.

At the core, most of us turn into idiots when our sacred beliefs (Democrat vs. Republican, pro-choice vs. pro-life, gun ban vs. gun rights, gay marriage vs. straight marriage, etc.) are tested and people try to convince us that we are stupid for holding them. And then we DO turn stupid in our response – at least according to the ridiculous comments posted after articles. When your idiot comes out to play, use emotional intelligence and instead of vomiting hate, try to come from a place of curiosity. Ask questions – don’t make accusations. Strive to understand instead of respond. Know that the pendulum always swings. And, if you believe that your way of life and thinking is the only “smart” way, one day that pendulum will swing again and the “stupid” people will be in control and it will feel like you are excluded by them. Your inner idiot will probably come alive again. Tame it with kindness. Stop the madness. We are all passengers on the same flight.

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1 Comment »

  1. I totally agree with this Scott. John Stuart consistently criticizes the angry rhetoric of our public discourse, and we all agree with him. Of course then we turn around and come back at the other side with more foolish name-calling.

    My concern is that the angrier and less-rational the voice, the more it’s heard.

    Speaking for myself, I find that when a pundit, for example, says something that I find repulsive, my brain suddenly lacks the capacity to respond beyond the childish name-calling.

    Maybe this speaks to the exercise that you had us do in your NSA presenation this weekend where you had us writing down numbers rapidly. As we get stressed by a pundit’s frustrating statements, we can no longer think clearly. So rather than thinking in magentas and chartreuses, we can only communicate with red/blue/green.

    Comment by Marc Wayshak — January 18, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

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