Have you noticed how much time and blather are lavished on inventing and enlarging problems, blaming, and shaming the “other” for causing, maintaining, expanding and taking advantage of problems? Have you paid attention to how little or no time is invested in compassionate, cooperative, thoughtful, creative ideas? Have you noticed how little time is spent pursuing sometimes simple obvious solutions, and strategies to reduce divisiveness, or resolve negative issues?
That is because “Problems = Power” in politics – especially perpetual & perpetuated problems.
What is a problem? Think about it – a problem is a perception, a belief, a concept, an idea, a puzzle, a construct that proposes that an obstacle, a burden, a threat, or a harmful condition exists for a person or group of people.
The word “problem” also implies that a “solution” or “answer” or “proof” is available.
If you want political power:
- Define a “problem” and declare a solution is available.
- Proclaim yourself the champion of a particular social, financial, cultural pain for which you have the answer.
- Stand up as the leader who will right a present, past, or future wrong.
- Convince others that you are a spearhead who will break the hold of nefarious conspiracies on the throats of the weak, disadvantaged, and marginalized.
The basic strategy appears to be:
- Maintain and emphasize the “problem” to your intended constituency.
- Complain publicly, and produce anecdotal, sometimes rare examples of the “problem,” victims, or damage.
- Blame someone else for creating, expanding; and perpetuating the “problem.”
- Berate anyone who could or could have, should or should have solved the “problem.”
- Propose a law so someone else has to stop it, fix it, or pay for it.
- Promise that, if elected, you will fight it, expose it, or make it “fair.”
- Make emotional accusations that others intentionally cause the “problem” for their benefit.
- Stir up anger and hatred for groups, classes, or nations accused of causing, imposing, or withholding solutions for the “problem.”
But do not, under any circumstances, actually do anything to solve the problem systemically because, when you solve the problem, you lose the power created by the problem. (that is, if there really is/was /were a problem.)
Some statements sound like problems, but they are really just statements. For example, I remember hearing:
- “The poor will always be with us.”
- “How much better is it to acquire wisdom than gold! and to acquire understanding is worthmore than silver!”
- “Thethings you own end up owning you.”
Other “problems” are invented and protected, such as the “problem” of requiring a photo ID.
First, has anyone, besides me, ever been in another country? Everyone, citizens, residents, & visitors must have “papers” such as passports, or else you go to jail or get deported, period. Often, proof of birth is not on record, but the governments know this and have methods of dealing with it. Guess what? – people get and keep IDs.
Second, we live in a culture of ubiquitous identity verification requirements. How does anyone live in the USA without government issued ID? We need ID’s to receive, record, do, buy, or operate anything worth receiving, recording, doing, buying, or operating. Here are some examples:
- Paychecks (job application & check cashing)
- Social security checks (benefit application & check cashing)
- Credit purchases
- Food Stamps (benefit application & purchasing)
- Unemployment (benefit application & check cashing)
- Welfare (benefit application & check cashing)
- Home & auto titles
- Buying alcohol
- Attending school
- Getting medical care
- Internet purchases
- Sports events
- Buying stupid stuff advertised on TV for $19.95, (but wait – order now &..)
- And much, much more
Oh, I forgot, with everyone taking “selfies” these days, that means they have a smartphone, and the related bills. They are also creating photo IDs on the internet. So who is left? The Disabled, the Aged, the Homeless, the Poor?
Why haven’t their family, or friends, or social workers, or political party members taken them to the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the Post Office, or wherever they need to go to get an ID? The fact that the photo will be atrocious should not daunt you. The ultimate ID is a US passport, good anywhere in the world. Next is a driver’s license or a non-driver’s ID from the state.
Obviously, the first step is a census, a list of people who do not have an ID. The opponents of having an ID seem to know who they are; so prove it; produce the list. Then solve the problem instead of complaining.
Third, where photos are required, couldn’t we just have cameras, or smartphones to take pictures of people who have none (duh)? For example, have digital cameras to take photos of any who wants to vote, but has no ID. Email the picture, name, address, and phone number to a secure central server. If there ever is a problem or doubt, you have the data to answer any questions. I’ll bet the pictures would come out better than the Department of Public Safety, or Department of Motor Vehicles, or, heaven forbid, Department of Corrections. This data could also be used to create a photo ID, once verified.
Fourth, isn’t getting a photo ID something that lasts once you get one, or only requires renewal every few years? If you average out the yearly cost of having a photo ID, it should be affordable (maybe $5-10 per year, at most).
I mean, if you knew Aunt Betty did not have a photo ID, couldn’t you help her get one as a 50th birthday present? Also, if a political party wanted supporters to vote, couldn’t they spend some small fraction of the millions of dollars they raise to get them ID’s? Naahh! Just let the problem ride, and keep the power so you can accuse, complain, and litigate again next year. Oh, and take the “problem” to the Supreme Court to make it permanent.
But, this is just one example. Let’s think about how politicians develop strategies around problems. What is missing, or mislaid?
- Avoid Problem Analysis – Strategy: generalize, exaggerate, fabricate, and avoid any details and real research.
Ask yourself, would the protestations of ANY of the current candidates for President solve ANY of the serious pains Americans are suffering? All I have heard are mission statements, results promises, and slogans. Oh, I forgot, blame, & snide ad hominem bombs hurled like fireworks into the air, never to land; entertaining, reinforcing, & useless.
- Avoid Solution Analysis – Strategy: poor math, blur the subject, blame obstacles, avoid saying who would really pay.
Has anyone heard of a workable tax/spend plan that would actually produce the stated result, in practice? It must be out of fashion to think things through; for example, “Tax the Rich” probably won’t work, when we wiggle the definition of “rich,” and forget that people do not stand still for painful government actions. They either stop the taxable behavior, or substitute non-taxable behavior, or cheat. “Do Not Tax the Poor” is a problem when the definition of “poor” is feeble, and government spending exceeds the resources of everyone.
- Avoid Distinctions – Strategy: collapse specific meanings into general terms, confuse demographic groups by using the same words to describe different groups.
The most prominent example of this is the intentional, improper use of the word “immigrant.” “Immigrant” means a person who is a citizen of another country living in the USA legally by registration (aka – Green Card), or through naturalization to become a citizen of the USA.
That is all. The term is specific and narrow in its legal definition; it absolutely excludes “unregistered aliens,” “foreign nationals,” “migrants” and so called, “illegal immigrants,” and “undocumented workers.” All of those terms refer to unregistered non-citizens living here in violation or our immigration laws. But, clever politicians, journalists, and advocates substitute the word “immigrant” for people who are not citizens.
The effect of this is to rile up immigrants, who are Americans, and make it sound like Americans hate immigrants. Use the right words and it is clear that Americans love immigrants; we ARE immigrants, or descendants of immigrants. We oppose people violating our immigration laws.
It is deceitful, and “newspeak” to use euphemisms or the word “immigrant” with obfuscating adjectives to imply that illegal aliens are really just citizens who kind of sort of haven’t taken care of a few annoying, paperwork details, so it is okay for them to come here and stay as long as they want because they really are Americans; aren’t they?
All in all, we can be tricked into supporting causes and politicians by perceiving “problems” as reality. Sure, there are real problems, like homelessness, nuclear threats, infrastructure neglect, terrorism, inadequate public education, business and government corruption, to name a few.
But “inequality,” and “poverty” will always exist because people are different and “unequal” in many ways.
Should we regard exceptional students, athletes, scientists, artists, inventors, leaders, entrepreneurs, other geniuses as affronts to those who are not exceptional? Should we slow down the hard workers and ambitious business owners to make things more “equal?”
Should we fault those who adapt to the world the way it is, instead of insisting that the past return for those who are stuck there? Should we respond to the politicians who accuse government for making terrible agreements with other countries, or for not meeting all of our personal needs? Is there something not great about America the way it is?
Make no mistake, America is the best place in the world for people who treasure liberty, personal freedom to live and work wherever we want, love who we want, go where we want, strive for our dreams, and as citizens vote how we want.
Go the Middle East, or Asia, or Africa, or Central America to see how the “other half” lives, and you will kiss the ground when you get back home to the United States of America.