Opposites are Equal
“The fact that a great many people believe something is no
guarantee of its truth.”
― W. Somerset Maugham
We stand on a razor’s edge pretending that to fall one way is better than the other. The only existential threat I see in our political choice is our belief that one version of force is better than the other. We have allowed the construction of force to take what we create for the greater good only after it has skimmed away half of it to prop up the mechanism of governance. We don’t vote for it or against it. It merely exists and grows on automatic pilot.
We choose sides.
The side we choose has the best soundbites and plays our biases back to us over and over until we are willing to stand together with our side against that evil other. Allegiance to our side has driven the development of civilization so it is no small thing. All of our histories and literature is immersed in the dogma and creeds of our sides. Allegiances were once longed lived as our attention to them spanned generations. Now they have devolved into minutes as the tides of certainty splash back and forth as water in a disturbed bucket.
Our leaders are self-proclaimed. They exist because they can count on our fidelity being fluid and shallow. We still think them consequential because that is how our minds have been trained to perceive things. We are fixated on the spokesperson of the dispersal of a resource pool, confiscated by a mechanism that doesn’t really change despite the spokesperson’s affiliation. Once the figurehead is chosen, one side will be joyous and the other angry. Nothing will change and that may be the only good that comes from the spectacle.
Real change is scary. Nobody wants it. Luckily for us, nobody is proposing it. Both of the sides we are investing all this emotion in are promising not to impose it. That is why we cheer them on. We demand our sides do something about economics, education, security, nationality and government. Each of the sides will do exactly what we expect. They will fail. They will fail slowly and methodically. It will cost us more this year than last year. When it comes time to reselect new leaders, that which is wrong with our favorite issues will be wrong again and sides will be taken to resolve them.
Out of the closets will come our banners and slogans.
The single difference in this time as last time, is that we are all embarrassed by our choices. I think this is because we have finally evolved to the point where the veil has lifted on the farce that we have created in our quest to prevent change. We aren’t even pretending anymore. Our society has grown cynical to the point of absurdity. So we defend the indefensible on both sides of an imaginary spectrum. We tell our friends and family that their side makes them stupid and moronic. We cling to a small thread of nobility that deep down inside we know doesn’t exist.
As we prepare to go vote, I hope for a rational acceptance of an inevitable outcome. Don’t let either your joy or your anger get the better of you. You will awaken the next day and all the processes of civilization will remain and you will still bear the cost. The new spokesperson will sing their own praises as the opposition will claim their fault in the latest failure…just as we foresaw.
Phillip J Hubbell is a writer, project manager and job seeker living in the American Midwest.