Discussion 4: Taking Blame out of the Red-Blue Divide--and other Similar Conflicts

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Discussion 4: Taking Blame out of the Red-Blue Divide--and other Similar Conflicts

Business-as-Usual Part 3 discusses what we (and many others) call "the blame game" in which each side defines a conflict in terms of the errors or evil of "the other."  Peacebuilders often urge their clients to reframe their "enemy images" into a more complex understanding of the nature of the conflict.  But do we do this ourselves, when the conflict involves us?  

If you are from the United States, please consider the following two questions: 

  1. How can we reframe our red-blue political conflict in terms of EACH SIDES' contribution (as opposed to playing the blame game)?
  2. What effects would that reframing have on the the relationship between the disputants?  On the conflict system overall?  (For example, on the relationship between liberals and conservatives, on our political discourse, or on the US political system overall?)   

If you are from elsewhere, please consider those two questions in terms of a different identity conflict.  The same issues apply in most of them, we think.

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Like I said in the last

Like I said in the last question, the real issue is addressing how there are good, bad, subversive, and reforming angles when dealing with politics.  A lot of people assume that their side of the political spectrum is right while the other is wrong, but in reality, red versus blue politics is not the same as right versus wrong. Both sides represent a coalition of right and wrong people coming together in order to find a practical solution.  That way, some wrong people aren't targeting some right people.  Instead, they're targeting right people on the other side of the spectrum.  It's basically an exercise in sacrifice.  

The real issue is the wrong people on both sides don't target each other.  They know what's going on, and hide behind the notion of "balance of power" to get away with it. In reality, balance of power just results in wrong people on both sides maintaining their power while leaving people vulnerable on their own side for the other side to target.  The problem is this will never be reframed because America is a practical country. 

What's practical is a matter of opinion in that different people experience different facts, have different experiences about the same facts, feel differently after experiencing facts, and relate differently with having their feelings satisfied after experiencing facts.  In a nutshell, what's practical to some people isn't practical to everyone.  The nature of practicality is prejudice.  Even when using democracy, practicality just results in the most common experiences, etc. getting priority over less common experiences despite how all experiences actually happen.  On top of that, practicality is prejudiced against the future since future experiences haven't been experienced yet, so they get dismissed by default. 

Practicality is the nature of what's wrong as well since what's right involves tolerating each and every experience, etc. people have, but wrong people push their experiences onto others, expecting them to conform or else being labeled as nonsensical despite how they actually make sense.  

Until practicality is removed from politics, reframing will be impossible.  People will continue to identify with what they experience, etc., and won't be openminded to the potential of other experiences.  This isn't to say we should become utopian, but just that we must become idealistic.  Utopians believe anything can be possibly experienced.  Idealists imagine how many things can be experienced even if anything isn't possible.  

Hmm, Mike, I'm not sure I understood you here...

Hmm, Mike, I think I got kind of tied up in some of your language.  Are you saying we will always blame the other because it is "practical?"  I would argue the opposite--when we blame the other, we create backlash that just encourages the other to continue to blame us.  And as we say in many places, that just results in "digging the hole deeper."  That's not "practical" for anyone.

Maybe I didn't understand you properly though....