Fighting and Arguing
A presidential press conference that had the look of a Dino De Laurentiis movie. Angry tweets. Arguments about whether the president is a narcissist or psychotic. These days the argument is the thing. Division. Confusion. Anger. Frustration with the fact that everything is political. A friend said recently, “When civil society breaks down everything becomes political”. The more we fight about politics the less we know. Argument and rhetoric have replaced substantive discourse. This idea forms the basis of Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society.
What is Civil Society
People think Civil Society these days is political action groups. Angry protests. Social media rants. Angry calls to talk radio. Everyone wants the silver bullet argument. We want to be the guy on TV that ‘takes it to them’. This is not civil society. In Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society.
Stop Yelling and Start Building A Community
Civil Society is community. It is distinct from government and business. Civil Society is individuals working together to solve problems, build community and be good citizens. People who have learned from experience to build consensus to get things done. Civil Society is the core of your town, village, city, county and state.
Fighting and Arguing Does Not A Warrior Make
Do you show up to set the chairs up and make the coffee for the community meeting? Help your neighbors? Attend boring public meetings no one else cares about? Are you one of those people who responds to calls for help in the community regardless of where they come from?. Are you willing to work with people you may not agree with politically? Show genuine concern for others through your actions? You’re the real warrior. Commentators and people who imitate them are not warriors and they are not leaders. We’ll talk about it in Podcast 602-Political Fighting Doesn’t Make Civil Society
Eroding Civil Society
There are times when political action is called for. When people who have different points of view try to gather people to their cause. These can be bitter contests. Bitter feelings linger after contests that inevitably produce winners and losers. These days people won’t convene with anyone they don’t agree with. Discussions descend into bitter screaming matches on Social Media, Talk Radio, and Cable TV News. The media cultivates and encourages anti social behavior. Friendships are ended. Familial relationships are strained.
A true warrior doesn’t yell and scream. A leader is a good citizen people trust. These are people who understand people of like mind have to work to see that their ideas gain support. Protests and rallies serve a purpose but they are just a starting point. You don’t win in the rally. You win because you can work behind the scenes to build support for a concept, idea, or a solution to a problem.
It May Not Be Working Anymore
Recent studies show the stress levels of Americans increasing since the election. Not just the left. People on political right show the same kinds of intensifying stress levels. This kind of stress can’t be sustained. We might be seeing the end of the efficacy of rhetorical argument to fuel a movement. People may have just about had it with all the shouting and arguing regardless of where it is coming from. Maybe rebuilding civil society is a good first step.