Swerving Toward American Exceptionalism

Gosh, what a summer! If you’ve returned late and sat down to read all the news, you’ll need another vacation. Left, right, turn around, repack, and head straight back into the bush. Well, shower first.

Rain, flooding, tornado, hurricanes, earthquakes, heatwaves, drought, what a cinematic summer. I could just sit and look at the sky all day. Who needs plug-in versions of amusement? Real life immersion has all the vitality and more. Whoo hoo, the world is brisk.

Returning to write, because my instincts are forcing my brain back to work, a self preservation technique, I guess. Just looking things over… and what’s this? Such division and strife among groups of people these days. The political debate is inspiring, the fickle sport. I respect the ideologies that you’ve all presented through media and blogs, and I empathize with the fears shared by many. I also fear that I lack adequate political schooling to offer beneficial debate. My interest is human.

There’s something from a random sampling of American political bloggers that I’m picking up: They all want me to come over to their side. Left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, collectivist, libertarian, lines in sand, sticks and stones, just like the playground. So many pitch me to come over to the “correct” way of thinking. This is confusing—don’t we all sport a dynamic of influences and opinions? Attitudes are like fluid paintings, ever changing, shaping. The gist of all the chatter: Conservatives fear the yoke of oppression and liberals fear exploitation. This morning I felt a little conservative, but by afternoon I was fully liberaled up. Both admirable outlooks, imo.

Nutshell: Conservatives rightfully demand accountability from their government, and liberals want their government to guarantee a social safety net in a modern, affluent society. Conservatives, in your pragmatic fashion, please consider the virtue of the liberal desire. Like the Marines, a good society leaves “no man behind.” If American society is that good, then it must be equally compassionate. People touting liberal ideology are considerate people, and through the quality of their character they readily adopt the forlorn and the downtrodden. Liberal people need the counsel of conservative people to perform this challenge effectively. Conservative people are great planners. They don’t rush in, they weigh the alternatives. The job will take skills of each. No one group should try to do it all.

Liberal or conservative, people have championed rules and regulations to protect citizens, the environment, and protect against profiteering, exploitation and unsafe business practices. Liberals seek fair play and fair trade. Conservatives are big contributors to charities and important causes, and they want issues dealt with effectively. But not all is rosy for liberals and the conservatives. The exchange of money between corporations, politicians, lobbyists, and lawyers has antagonized those with liberal values, just as it has antagonized those with conservative values. Conservatives and liberals both distrust the shadowy power broker. Both groups think that the other is the shadowy power broker. Sorry kids, the shadowy power broker really doesn’t care about ideologies. That’s too subjective and emotional. They care about power.

Value systems, like liberal and conservative, are really personal expressions and people should organize around ideologies as a pastime, not as a political orientation. This probably sounds extreme, but you’ll do much better to keep ideology out of government. Ideologies are good political fodder, but each individual is like a diamond with multiple dispositions. Semantics aside, political parties use ideologies because of the affect they can muster; liberal values and conservative values are fundamental and tug the heartstrings. For the career politician, if there is no conflict, there’s no political purpose. Watch people who try to get power; they always have a problem with something or somebody. People can try to be political anywhere, in a union, and in a boardroom. However, logically, there is no room for ideology in organization. Organization, government, gags on ideologies. It doesn’t run efficiently. Someone with lots of strong ideologies does not make a good government person. Government is about functionality and service. Ideologies are too subjective and emotional to be of use in a functional government. Humans are working this out right now. It’s a good time to watch.

Who made ideology a basis for conflict?

Who advises the business to cut costs and lends the worker a mortgage? Who proposes division? Who identified our brothers and sisters as adversaries? Really, it’s such a nice, tight circle. The government can monitor and maintain social decorum while consumption grows unimpeded. Profits hum and the people debate ideology. Every so often they vote based on their ideology. Ha. You know the guys that dreamed this up.

Meanwhile, corporate marketers have seduced a population into a lifestyle that cannot be maintained. Get up, go to school, get a job, buy nice stuff. The American dream for willing exceptionalism was replaced by a dream for stuff. The private sector materialized ambitions and the government endorsed it. The American dream became American envy, and now American baggage. The population is in debt, and the traders, retailers, merchants, manufacturers whisk away to remote luxury. Excuse me, but who’s going to clean up the mess?

Development, consumerism, materialism was fashioned by the people, for the people, to employ the people, to sell to the people. It’s a capitalist paradigm that’s provided a great lifestyle with a lot perks and a lot of trash. Now that all the color tv’s and fancy cars are bought, the want for more has accumulated in debt. Some people aren’t prepared to go it alone. Some people thought everybody gets some. Some people thought wrong.

Aah, progress. My, my, those bankers and venture capitalists, in their amazing and awesome zeal for growth, have left a large swath on society. I can barely recognize my seed chewing, tree climbing naked human friends anymore. They are all so fancy. They are all so in debt! You know, when you should have built transit, you build roads. When you should have lived within the environment, you lived on top of it. And when you should have shepherded, you shot. The money was squandered to pay for the very best.

Here’s a novel thought, imagine… government elected/appointed on a mandate of the people for efficiency, delivery of service, and functionality. If there are destitute citizens, fire the administrator. If there is criminality, fire the judiciary. If there is war, fire the diplomat. If there is financial mismanagement, fire the treasury. I like the analogy where government is an invisible mesh, like General Motors’ OnStar. Click the button when you’re lost and they direct you.

“Hi, you’ve reached the Government, how can we be of service.”

“I’m drunk and lost my way.”

“No problem, we’ll send someone asap.”

This would take a blend of conservative and liberal values.

Thus, I promote public volunteerism. When a government organizes more avenues for personal contribution and exceptionalism, a variety of values enrich the whole, without an edict from above. Individuals could demonstrate their conservative and liberal virtues in the provision of many fundamental services. There’s far too much picking ideological sides in the discussion of government. Too many people can only see through a window of antagonism. That’s not American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism combines the best of all ideologies.

Liberal viewpoints are important in society because they prompt us to empathy, innovation, inclusion, and generosity. Conservative viewpoints are important because they promote responsible stewardship, thrift, and conservation.

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