Conservative or Liberal? Pro-Life or Pro-choice? Pro LGBT or Awaiting Judgment Day? Creation or Evolution? Healthcare Bill or Replace Healthcare Bill? Freedom of Religion or Freedom from religion? Equality or Make America Great again? Black Lives Matter or Tough on Crime? Somewhere in America today there is someone or a group of people arguing about one of the motions above. Someone is losing or gaining Facebook friends. Someone is joining a Facebook group or snapchat video series about their opinion on one of them as well. We have gotten so good at pontificating our political astuteness with up-to-date terms on the state of our political leanings. However, there are more predictable and factors underlying a person’s political leanings that when unchanged scarcely move person’s political inclinations. Politics, like sports uses debate, conflict and die-hard affiliation to create and sustain its theatricality. But human evolution is obtained by growth and the pursuit of improvement. How can we improve if we must commit to a system of opposition than thrives on the scene of opposition over the harmony.
Athenian democracy was a way to aggregate the intellectual prowess of its highly educated elite so as to facilitate decision making without seeming to leave the proletariat out of the discussion and facilitate infiltration by their Spartan and Persian neighbors. It worked because they were surrounded by societies where power was perceived as a thing so fragile that its merits be meted out by execution rather than by participation. Hence the proletariat enjoyed the avowed benefits of its intellectual elite. A form of distributing the wealth.
The Romans took it further with expanding the concept of arena theatrics to involve sport (death-defying or death-inducing activities depending on the survival instincts of the subjects). Julius Caesar cherished the spectacle of the Colosseum and so did the fellow citizens and all was well no matter how many trips Cleopatra made to Rome (to keep the empire from expanding) while he promised Roman expansion.
Hence the term… CONTRA-DICTION. Going against that which one says. Politics thrives on contradiction yet we nearly lose our nerves when we experience a conservative with a perverted past, a liberal with racist foibles and a minority activist with a white spouse. But what does this have to do with Athens and Rome?
ORIGINS — Let us look at the origins of the society we are trying to sustain today with political discourse. Let us look at the values we are looking to address via politics. Racial equality, Gender equality, Human rights, Labor improvement, access to adequate cost of survival. How did all these circumstances arise? Not by politics. They came from values that were instilled in human psyches by mostly RELIGION and PERSONAL INTEREST (MONEY, POWER, PURSUIT OF AFFECTION). We live in societies today across the world that are judged on political fluidity that were not created from the aim to create political transparency.
When Columbus arrived the Americas, When Alexander The Great went to Egypt, and Otto Von Bismarck divided the African continent, it was not to create political sovereignty in the world. Columbus brought priests. Alexander The Great brought a conquering army. Otto Von Bismarck spearheaded an exploitation movement that led to the finest primary production scheme still in operation today, the nation states of the African continent. There were Bibles, Qurans and conquering armies that built plantations, mines, schools, churches, hospitals and replicas of 19th century Europe in the midst of thick equatorial forest. The confusion which arose from this production design still persists to this day… in so many ways.
What was the politics about when such atrocities were happening? What powers were relegated to politics exactly? How many bills did it take in the Union or the Confederacy to determine that the people who were coming over on stuffed boats who could speak, think and sing were humans deserving of the freedom that was obtained from fighting the Royal Army. Unless politics aims to stifle or supervise the influence of religion and personal influence over civil stability, political relevance is very limited.
We just saw the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act which passed in 2010 fail and several people celebrated because of the protections it afforded them with the current costs of healthcare. However, we do not talk enough about how the running of healthcare by behemoth Insurance Corporations who play their assets among several risk ventures in the Banking sphere is taking the value of human life and pretty much asking the average American citizen to trust his healthcare like he trusts spending his lifesavings at a Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino. The political conversation completely exhausts us that we hardly get to address the ethic at hand. What is the cost of human life?
We just saw a president selected by our electoral college, choose to roll back the regulations put in place to protect the findings of the Environment Protection Agency. How I regret all the breath I spent arguing Creationism vs Evolution. Politics took advantage of the arena of contradiction and allowed the short-sightedness of personal interest to get in and design an investment model that does not take civil interest at heart because the politics may no longer require it to.
So my point is, despite the noble intentions (to quote all the proud inheritants of the Oxford scholar tradition) of the Athenians and Romans, the politics as we see today may be more limiting in the pursuit of civil harmony. I suggest we might need a whole other term to define the forum needed to improve our mediation of social reform. The political arena is proving too contentious, contradictory, and temperamental. As humans we deserve change for the better wherever we are. We are deserving of civil discourse rather political debate.
Politics will always bow to religious conditioning and the accessories of self interest rather than perform the arbitration in the service of social evolution. Politics, I fear is an accessory and not a device because it was only created or paid attention to once religion and self-interest formed the greatest merger in the history of the human conscience.
This is the first in a series of essays on the Creation of Collective Civil Conscience.
thank you for reading…