Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Cure for Biased Partisanship

The cure for biased partisanship, is not, as the newspapers like to promote, more biased partisanship, or bipartisanship, but nonpartisanship -- to which they will scoff, that is not possible. “Everyone is partisan,” they will claim, “and only looking after their own interests.” I don’t know who they are talking to -- other than their own colleagues, but most people I talk to in Hawaii, have a decided preference to be nonpartisan and fair-minded. In fact, they regard unabashed partisanship, as embarrassing, and not something that should dominate the commentaries in public forums.

Yet many people think, that the object of public forums is to persuade, coerce, manipulate and deceive, rather than simply hear out. In the schools, communication skills are usually taught for the purpose of argument -- rather than more valuably, as information sharing, which in fact, is discouraged and punished. And so most grow up to think that debating, arguing, persuading is a mark of an intelligent person -- when in fact, it is among humans, one of the most unintelligent and counterproductive behaviors.

Up to the recent gubernatorial election, leadership in Hawaii has been mostly about this dominance over others and striving for power -- and one once got there, such leaders had no idea what to do but grab all the spoils. To them, that was the purpose of reaching the top -- to consolidate their own power. The shift in the paradigm is leadership that empowers rather than undermines the power of every individual to run their own lives. That’s a very hard habit to break since it is at the core of the media, schools and universities -- that what is best for their special interest group is necessarily what is best for all.

And that is what nonpartisanship is -- regardless of what people call themselves. It is the larger group every member of society belongs to. That is what the community dialogue should be -- and can be productively, but has been hijacked by powerful special interest groups, including and especially the institutions we assume are promoting unbiased information. We do not suspect, that they would primarily be serving their own interests -- over the interests of all, as much as their primary function seems to convince us that they alone, deserve all the spoils of society above everybody else -- or at least two, three, four times what everybody else is making as their own entitlement.

If they are in positions of power, privilege, or advantage, they will assuredly be defenders of the status quo, and want those injustices to continue forever. One of the most effective ploys in maintaining a privileged position, is to encourage everybody else to attack each other and divert their energies in those struggles. Those without this taste for unrelenting conflict will drop out of this “political” process.

In this manner, the energies of society are wastefully consumed in nullifying each other, so nothing positive can ever get done. Thus the status quo can be maintained and perpetuated. Understanding and seeing through this, is intelligent life in the universe.

So rather than ask, “Which is the Democrat and which is the Republican candidate?”, the better question is, “Which is the more unbiased, least partisan person?”, as those who would be the best representatives for all the people -- rather than who serves privileged special interests best. More biased partisanship, or bi-partisanship, is not the answer, but will produce more letters to the editors than hearing from unbiased, nonpartisan persons who threaten the old world view that society must be an unrelenting struggle of every narrow self-interest group attempting to dominate every other narrow self-interest group -- as the best of all possible worlds, if not the only possibility we are ever allowed to see and learn about.


At October 05, 2005 10:16 AM, Blogger Rosa Benito said...

May The Blog Be With You
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At October 06, 2005 8:47 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The mistake most people make in public forums is thinking that success is changing everybody else -- rather than achieving your own highest understanding, in clarifying and articulating it. If, through your participation and interaction with others, you become a better person, that is what society and culture is all about. And I do think we've all become better through the freerepublic. Fully 95% of those things said here, would otherwise not be seen anywhere else.

It seems over the last several years that most people who follow the news and political developments, think the object is to tell the president what to do, how to run the country -- instead of being president themselves, and having the right and responsibility of making those decisions. But more importantly, everybody has their own part to play, and in doing that, makes their greatest contribution because even the president can't be doing everything -- yet that seems to be the expectation and perception -- that only the president can do anything, and the rest can only try to sway his decisions. That vision of society and government is a very inefficient and ineffective one -- fostered by the seniority-heavy newspapers, at which everyone has reached the top-tier and so nobody goes out and does any investigation and interviews, and lacking that information, the easiest thing to do is bash-Bush because that's what all the other columnists are doing.

So because they've lost their ability to find out, they spend all day, as ignorant people are wont to do, expressing their unsolicited advice and opinions on what the president (and everybody else for that matter), ought to be doing for them, to please them. In another age, these were regarded as simply imperious, senile people, but because of increased life spans and no-layoff contracts no matter how demented they become, they are allowed to crowd out all the talented young voices of merit. That is why we need forums like these and your participation.


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