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Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Dangerously Polarized Nation

We have become a Dangerously Polarized Nation.

Until the day after the election, I did not realize how dangerously polarized our country has become.  The polarization has gone well beyond rhetoric.  

People are making death threats and threatening other acts of violence against others simply because of their party affiliation.  

Even people who were once thought to have some semblance of a mind and intellectual prowess have shocked the civilized world.  For example, among his many delusional statements during this election cycle, Donald Trump called for a seemingly violent revolution immediately after the news networks called the election for President Obama.  Mr. Trump called for a revolution because the very democratic process that is the foundation of our democracy did not elect his chosen candidate.  We’ve even heard fast-food chicken peddlers inject their extremism ideology into the election, albeit at their own peril.

I personally have acquaintances of 15 or 20 years who have decidedly become hostile toward me because of party affiliation and ideology.  We have not had this level and volume of violent discussion during any time that I can cite in my four decades of following the political process.

My observations suggest the following explanation for the current and explosive division we are seeing in our nation.

You are your mind and your mind is you.  Your mind is what has been programmed into your brain.  You are what you think, and what you think is your core essence. 

Your brain is an organic computer that is not dissimilar to a PC computer.  Like a PC computer, your brain is the hardware.   Your mind is the operating system and software programs that are installed and running on that computer. 

At birth, our mind is pre-programmed or hardwired to perform basic life sustaining functions.  It regulates body temperature, controls heart rate, breathing, digestion, vision, hearing, touch, etc.  Beyond these basic functions, a new mind it is simply a blank hard drive or sponge eager to be programmed with software.

If a newborn were completely isolated from any societal structure or people, their computer would not evolve much beyond its reptilian level essential functions.  Some would argue that it would develop some of the higher advanced functions such as making and using tools, or an individual might become an idiot savant, which really is what a PC computer is without software.  I would not disagree.

Our software is installed on our brain from birth by parents, siblings, teachers, counselors, ministers, television, radio, friends, acquaintances, groups we interact with, peer groups and to a large extent, by the culture in which we are raised and live.  Much of the software installed on brain, which software collectively forms our mind is done so without us making a conscious and deliberate decision as to its benefit or detriment.

It is interesting that many people are more cognizant of what software and programs they install, and allow to be installed, on their PC computers than those programs they allow to be installed on the computer between their ears.  To quote Cher Sarkisian [Cher Bono], “People are more concerned with what they put in their car than what they put in their body.”  My point is similar.

Most people unconsciously permit unregulated programming of their mind via an open and unrestricted port, but they are very conscious and deliberate about what software they install on their PC computer. 

Most people who utilize their PC computer as a necessary tool have antivirus, firewall, spyware detection, directory washing, and various other software programs installed to insure that the computer operates at its optimum performance.  They do not allow the installation of any software that could cause the system to produce undesirable results, or that diminish its functionality or operating capacity.

Who we are, and what differentiates us from other people is the software that has been installed on our minds.  There are no other physical differences from one normal brain to another.  It is all about software.

When a dysfunctional program is installed on our PC computer, it produces dysfunctional results.  Garbage in -- Garbage out.  The mind is not dissimilar.  Thoughtful people filter and regulate what they allow into their mind (firewall and virus protection) by scrutinizing what they read and watch on television, with whom they interact, the cultures to which they belong, and how they spend their leisure time.  It is critical for a healthy mind to scrutinize what we allow to enter into our minds, or an individual could face the dilemma of garbage in - garbage out.

It is only over the past few decades that we have witnessed a sharp increase in juvenile crime.  What has changed in the programming of kids’ minds that correlates to this phenomenal change?  Could violence based video games have some influence?  Some experts argue that these violence-based games desensitize the mind to what would otherwise be a horrifying experience of committing a violent act against another person or animal.

Extreme examples include the Columbine Massacre, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shootings, the Gabrielle Giffords shootings and many, many more.  Not only were such incidents almost unheard of a few decades ago, these kind of incidents are becoming more frequent. 

Our civilized culture has existed in the United States for 236 years. Yet, it is only since the advent of violent video games that we are seeing such a dramatic and nefarious aberration in juvenile behavior.  This is not a discussion that I care to have hijacked with opinion regarding the Tony Perkins’ claims that there has been a decline in Bible reading or Christian fundamentalism.  We are a nation of diversity, including religious diversity.  That is not the central focus of this discussion, or the polarization in our nation.

Our nation has become polarized because of software and programming people are allowing to be installed on their mind.  This is occurring on the right and on the left.

The spokesperson(s) for the far right include such individuals as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter.  Those employed in the broadcast industry are fundamentally earning their living by supporting the agendas of Rupert Murdoch, and other wealthy media moguls.  On the left we have Keith Olbermann, Ed Shultz, Rachel Maddow, etc.  Both of these right and left media organizations are in business to make money via attracting an audience who will watch their toothpaste and soap commercials.  It’s a business, and we are simply the commodity that they sell to their advertisers.

The programming that comes from these “news” agencies is well coordinated and intended to shape the thinking if its audience.  Indeed, it is not at all uncommon to witness someone simply parrot the unverified statements of a Rush Limbaugh.  Even more dangerous, the coordinated programming of its constituency includes the creation of a variety of “buttons” that these media pundits can push to get a predictable reaction.  The anger button was pushed by all of the right leaning pundits, and it clearly worked because they have successfully installed the desired software on the minds of their audience.

Irrespective of which of these media anthologies you are inclined to rely upon for your information, if you are emphatic about your ideology, you are arguably spending too much time getting bias and spun information from one of these media influences.  A deliberate examination of your software and the source of your programming might be prudent.

An example of someone who is obviously emphatic about her ideology can be listened to at this link.

Changing dysfunctional software on a PC computer is simple -- you delete it.  We however were not born with the delete key.  Changing software in the mind is more problematic and requires a good deal more effort than a few keystrokes. Experiences cannot be deleted.  They can however be diluted through a conscious diet of monitored mental stimulus in moderation.

There is no reason that We the People of this nation should not be able to have open and constructive discussions without one side pounding its fist and screaming real loud.  We all need to take a hard look at our bias, and who is benefiting from programming that bias into our minds.  We need to carefully measure and moderate input from obviously bias sources and get our information from news organizations and journalists that simply report the news.  There still are some Walter Cronkite’s among us, and with some digging, there is unbiased information available.

We all need to be the adults.  The people who need adult supervision from us are some our elected leaders.  They are the people who are creating the tension in our country, and it really is time that they put away their crayons and get to work.

The party that is currently in deep trouble of extinction is the Republican Party.  The Republican Party is in trouble because of its leadership. 

Immediately after President Obama was elected in the 2008 election, Mitch McConnell stated that the top priority of the Republican Party was to deny the President a second term.  The top priority of the United States Senate should have been the peoples business, but Senator McConnell only wanted to serve his own interests in hopes of capturing his dream - the Senate Majority Leader’s seat.

The Senator’s statement:

Senator McConnell pursued an agenda of obstruction, misinformation and patent lies in an attempt to discredit the President, but a substantial majority of the American People were aware of the facts and voted accordingly.  The United States of America was held hostage in hopes that one man could achieve his dream position as the Senate Majority Leader.  We were simply his pawns.

If the Republican’s ever want to have a party that can win elections, its first priority is necessarily to elect a new minority leader in the Senate and let Mr. McConnell finish out his term.  Wake up Republicans, Mitch McConnell is doing you no favors. 

The Party’s second priority is to revisit your platform and focus on the genuine constitutional obligations that the politicians have toward governmental operations.  Eradicate the entire wedge driving social issues that are promoted by all of the Tony Perkins of the country, which belong in the home and the church - but not in our government.  Get the Republican Party our of our bedrooms and out of women’s vaginas.

Please read the article at the link below, and if you are inclined, sign the petition that is linked from the bottom of that article.

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