Whether it’s politics, storytelling, technology or just our day to day lives, we love to find balance in things. There’s something so tempting about making things equal. It is an especially powerful temptation in our tribal politics. The more polarized we become, the more important it is to avoid being wrong, lest our opponents seize on the opportunity to undermine us. We begin to create equality and balance where none exist, for the sake of our agendas and egos.
Continue reading “How To: Avoid False Equivalence”
This might be my craziest supposition yet: money absolutely rules. Many live their whole lives in pursuit of the acquisition of money; we feel desperate and destitute without it, and no matter what the income level, it seems like we can all agree that there’s never enough of it. As eager as we are for money in our own lives, it seems to have an even greater sway over our political system. Each new election seems to meet some unprecedented spending limit, whether that’s to take a seat on a school board or in the Oval Office.
But I’m not trying to smack down the myth that our system is flush with cash. I’m going to smack down the myth that it matters more than anything else. Here’s the real secret to politics: your vote is the most powerful tool you have. And as long as you won’t let it be for purchase, you keep the money monsters at bay.
Continue reading “Myth Smack: Money Rules Everything”
Separating fact from fiction is one of the most important tasks we have as citizens. Sure, there’s the high-minded political philosophy that we must seek truth to be whole, but I’m just talking about practical terms. Frankly, if we don’t know what is actually happening day to day in our lives and in the world around us, we’re going to make some really bad decisions. Maybe it’s deciding that we can perform field operations because we’ve watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe it’s deciding that we should try driving stunts because it looked super cool in the most recent Fast and Furious. Or maybe it’s sending thousands of servicemembers to distant lands to die.
Fake news isn’t dangerous because we disagree with it; it’s dangerous because it changes our reactions. It keeps us from seeing problems we need to fix, and turns things that are harmless into urgent issues. Indulge in fake news, and suddenly we’re tilting at windmills and ignoring bandits and thieves.
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Politics is a gross, messy thing, like cleaning cat litter or moving dripping garbage or doing your freshman bio fetal pig lab barehanded because you don’t have latex gloves that fit. And just like those gross, messy things, politics is necessary. You could ignore the cat litter or the garbage or the fetal pig lab, but consequences will pile up in ways that will only make the final and inevitable reckoning worse.
Continue reading “How To: Remember Why We Bother”
Who doesn’t love a political scandal? In our Age of Outrage, there’s almost nothing that we want more. Scandal comes from feet on the Resolute Desk or the Oval Office couches, from vouching for friends or appointing them to your Cabinet, from firing Deputy Attorneys General because they wouldn’t affirm your political goals, and from sexual harassment with a cigar. In fact, it almost seems like we can turn anything into a scandal, which has the disconcerting effect of making almost anything normal.
Continue reading “How To: Define A Scandal”