Friday, October 1, 2010

Divided We Stand

"Political campaigns are about division."

A mucky-muck politico who runs big-time campaigns told me this once.

This person is still at it, running another major campaign this fall.

The central purpose of political campaigns is to divide us.

Which means dividing us is the central purpose of the people we elect to be leaders. They're the ones who intentionally approve all those campaign commercials, afterall.

Dividing us?

That's a funny way for people who call themselves leaders to behave; people who want us to believe they're capable of solving big problems.

Here's what I wonder,

How's the purpose of our leaders working for us today, tomorrow?

How will We The People respond when we notice leaders among us whose purpose turns out not to be leaders but dividers?


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  1. Tim,
    We have a void of both 'Leaders" and "Statesmen"

  2. Yes Tim, the old wedge issue wars. It's become a biennial sport, but we make too much of negative campaigns. There were negative campaigns from day 1 in this here democracy. Now it's just institutionalize and there is more money behind it.

    I think political ads are among the least creative, cookie cutting, error-filled, half truths, that sometimes make you laugh, but mostly make you cringe.

    The fact is, dividing is the best way to keep your audience happy and passionate. Not many people watch Charlie Rose interviews, but fire up a Schultz or Beck and you've got yourself some good TV. (personally I love Charlie Rose's show)

    When did you stop beating your wife? is the tactic most used (don't answer that) because as a society we like speed and winners and losers. Let's not bother with the facts when perceptions are so much easier to create.

    And you have to love the ads based on some obscure bill that was voted in the dead of night, with some money tacked on for something nutty that ends up in an ad. Or how about a no vote on some pork-filled budget bill that also includes funding for the Department of Defense. That of course ends up in an ad that says Congressman XYZ doesn't support American troops. What a disingenuous way to communicate! that's the shame of it.

  3. negative campaigns and attack ads are old news. what today's post tries to illuminate is the fact that these people are intentionally working to divude us. why? because it pays. run an ad on a wedge the money pour in. trouble is we're in a permanent campaign cycle, as bill clinton suggested. which means our leaders are in a permanent cycle of dividing. it's wrong. it's short term. it's selfish. it's not leadership...not even close. thanks Albert! --tim

  4. let me put my Jesuit education to some use. What is leadership? finding common ground? building consensus and compromise? Or is it standing for principals, and in fact holding out for what you believe to be right, and driving out of office those who do not hold those principals?

    This question mind you does not support the negative campaign tactics, nor the reality of money politics.

  5. Leadership is synonymous with division and principles? The political mayheim we are shown as "what I stand for" does nothing more than fractionalize us even more; issue to issue that is. How can I choose a leader knowing he/she divides my principles? Can she/he really "lead" me, you, 'us'? Is there A common ground? No. Therefore, I (the political leadership I) divide to lead; therefore 'I' have principles.