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  • Writer's pictureDr. Robert Goldman

"When Times Are Tough..."

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

"When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better". Former President Bill Clinton

As someone who believes that conflict creates opportunity, I feel compelled to comment on former President Clinton’s nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention. There is nothing wrong with conflict, it the dysfunctional way that our culture manages.

Nothing is more evident that how it applies in politics. What keeps us mired in conflict is the concrete thinking that tugs at our vestigal roots. In prehistoric times, there was no time to think reflectively, just act. The knee jerk reaction is to think concretely (e.g. republican- bad and democrat good). However as our brain has developed, so has our ability to think deeply about the issues.

Whether you agree or disagree with the “politics” of President Clinton, when speaking of hate he said, “I never learned to hate them [Republicans] the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.” This hate is what further entrenches us in conflict and interferes with our ability to think clearly. I have never heard of a good decision made on the bases of one’s contempt for another. Contempt leads to moralistic labeling and dehumanization of the enemy, which perpetuates the conflict that is present in politics.

To govern our lives effectively, we must resist the animalistic urge of constant conflict that we see in the political arena. We all share the same needs but it is the strategies used to get those needs met that are in disagreement. The acknowledgement of universal needs separates man from beast. For example both Governor Romney and President Obama want the United States to prosper, it is the strategies that they employ to get those needs met that are in conflict. The challenge in all conflict is the search for humanity and the acknowledgement of needs in finding agreeable strategies (Cooperation and Compromise) between the parties.

When deciding who we chose to be our President, we should resist the prehistoric urge to think concretely and disavow hating and dehumanizing the candidate. Rather, we should examine the strategies (plan) that is proposed to making sure that America prospers, a need we all share.



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