How did Governance Become so Binary?
by Jonette Crowley, copyright 2011
The Greek ideal of democracy was leadership by reasonable men (well, it was only men back then), reasonably discussing common issues with the goal of consensual problem-solving
I close the newspaper with disgust: one political party stonewalling another–both parties equally guilty–better to have a colossal failure to blame on the other guys, than a workable solution. Good guys and bad guys. Complex issues boiled down to rhetoric in black and white sound bites. In the world of polarity, the center is never the goal. The dance becomes one of counter balancing extremes. Where are the reasonable men and women when we need them? If I stake out the position of saint, you must be the sinner in this binary game. In fact, being the saint requires the position of sinner be filled. From the extremities our brethren lob rocks at the other–saints and sinners both with equally deadly throws. From where I sit in the middle (maybe you’re there too?), I can only duck.
I don’t know how to fix government, except to be a reasonable voice for leadership. Guess we have to look at ourselves, our relationships, our viewpoints. Have we slid into binary beliefs ourselves? Do we insist on the simplification of issues into right and wrong? Us versus them? Black and white? Or are we prepared to wade into the middle where things may not be as neatly defined, but there are infinitely more possibilities?