“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” — Mark Twain
Labels have ruined our politics. I could parcel out which side does it better or more often, but what would be the point exactly? The general problem is that I can throw a label at you and immediately brand you as something positive or negative just based on the connotation that the label has. In many instances the definition in people’s minds aren’t even accurate. So, following are a group of statements that fit as definitions for terms thrown around in public.
- Different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.
- Men should hold the power and women should largely be excluded from it.
- Most of the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
- A political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor where opposition is not permitted.
- The enforced separation of different racial groups in a country or community
- People should be able to marry whoever they want regardless of race, gender identity, religion, or age.
I’d imagine you could play an old-fashioned word matchup game and match each of those with their correct term. For many of you, you wouldn’t need a word bank. I could add many more such statements that would have a direct link with what is going on right now.
If I spent enough time focusing on it, I could likely craft a series of statements that those on the left would subscribe to and those on the right would subscribe to and simply remove the label. It would be interesting to see how many statements we could get people to agree to. Would people that consider themselves as progressive or conservative actually continue to support progressive or conservative ideals?
I’m sure many of you recognized fascism and socialism above. Obviously, the first issue is that many in the political sphere know that the common person has no earthly clue what those things actually are. So, they can throw that label at anyone and have it stick because the label can fit anything. Since the label is harmful then using the label becomes a weapon.
This is also unfortunately where we descend into questions of good and evil and what those terms really mean. Does the mere belief in something make someone good or evil? Or, do we have to wait and see how those beliefs manifest themselves to determine if the individual is good or evil? Certainly, I think we can acknowledge that numerous people believe numbers one, two, and five.
We could throw number six in there too, but I added a little something extra to six to make it a much more difficult statement to support without qualification. I suspect a lot of these statements have “yeah,,,but” thoughts attached to them. That’s what makes politics so difficult. The world is rife with “yeah…buts”. No matter what personal moral code one follows, they all would agree that what we do is far more important than what we say. I have a sinking suspicion that if we allowed people to openly accept or reject such simple statements we’d see much more agreement overall and many of our politicians would be left in the cold looking for a place to land. Then again, I could be wrong.