In my previous article concerning how to define an enemy, I stated that the reality of an enemy is where we find ourselves today. In underground bunkers and hidden hollows an enemy plans and waits. And our propensity to disregard that truth is an outgrowth of our fear of our enemies.
Here I would like to say that equally as important as identifying an enemy is the question of why it is crucial to identify an enemy.
Once we know what an enemy is we must ask ourselves if the person or people whom we currently identify as an enemy, truly are. Said another way, such “soul searching” is another way of finding any seeds of discrimination or prejudice we may have in our hearts.
It is my contention (and purpose for broaching the subject in the first place) that most of us have defined people as enemies who are not actually enemies; we do this because it serves a purpose which I will address here.
Leonardo da Vinci is credited with saying, “Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.” While this may seem contradictory to the idea of defining an enemy without needing to get to know them, it is actually the first step to correctly doing so. In other words, it is too easy to label someone an enemy merely to avoid confrontation. But that is the easy way out.
For example, depending on who you ask, the rift between Democrats and Republicans goes back to approximately the mid 1800’s, when the Republican Party emerged as a “third” political faction to the Democratic Party and the Whig Party.
The Democratic Party was established on the notion that the general population has a civic obligation to help the country and repel the treachery of imperialism and its complicit aristocracy.
Ironically, the early Democratic Party felt that state rights should not be violated by a centralized federal government.
The Republican Party was formed largely to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act that would have allowed the proliferation of slavery into Kansas.
Also ironically, the Republican Party encouraged progressive thought emphasizing the development of higher education, banking, business and industry through the participation of the people.
However, even during periods of intense hatred on both sides of the aisle, some on the hill found a way to view others of the opposite party as an ally.
Without waxing overly philosophical, it is useful to point out that everyone has formulated a worldview based on external stimulus which can come from a variety of sources. Bad experiences with a person or group tend to cause us to formulate a negative view point towards them, it really is that simple.
You see, little thought or people skills are required to label someone an enemy just because that person has been identified with others we disdain. Republicans hate Democrats and vice versa because that is the way it has always been? Really people, how underwhelming is that? For all of our sophistication and “progressive thinking” I find it hard to believe that we cannot find a more mature way of conducting our national affairs.
Crucial to the successful (grown-up) identification of friends and enemies is understanding where those opposite opinions and persuasions came from. All this is to say that anyone can form biases based on traditions and false information, it takes a truly courageous person to accurately identify both friend and foe.
However let me be clear, I am not advocating “naïve diplomacy” which promotes passivity over action. When an enemy makes themselves known, it is time to act decisively.
Still, one can only guess how much time, energy and money is wasted every year on the petty one-upmanship in Congress which only serves to perpetuate the outmoded division down the aisle. No disrespect intended toward members of Congress who haven’t quite outgrown this behavior yet, but knock it off! Maybe take a lesson from the eagle.
The Bald Eagle – Symbol of America
Eagles would not be able to fly if the right wing said to the left wing, “I don’t need you.” Both wings working in harmony is what allows the eagle to fly with amazing dignity and power. Another crucial fact about eagles is that they are the largest raptors second only to the vulture. Vultures of course, are infamous for being birds which prey on the dead.
As relates to the political arena, both the Senate and the House were established to compliment and help each other, not feed off each other.
Where are the truly courageous public servants that can cross the aisle and lead our country out of this difficult time? The childish finger-pointing currently entrenched in our public halls of government is both embarrassing and incapacitating. The trivial infighting and name calling has reached epic proportions and the ones paying the price will be our children and their children.
When professional conduct takes a back seat to destructive politics, it is time to hit the reset button and start over. This new start needs to encompass our political history and the dated and debilitating division amongst the “professionals” on the Hill which continues to grow ever wider with each passing election.
The long and the short of it is that America needs champions of unity; leaders who put the people first and outdated rivalry last. Are you one?