Thursday, December 16, 2010

Partisanship Is In Our DNA

The state of political affairs in our country, the animosity, the partisanship is not a root cause of anything, but instead itself is a symptom, one cause in a series of causes ultimately derived from our underlying human nature to exaggerate differences.

From sexuality to racism to political discourse, our tendency, our want to exaggerate differences appears to permeate throughout daily life. When you look at the praising of the exaggerated features of the stereotypical female and male figures, the attributing of character traits based on race, and the hyper partisan discourse found in our political system, it appears our most basest biological function is to find differences and exaggerate them.

This tendency to exaggerate differences is not specific to one sphere of human interaction or thought but inherent in our very nature. Humans find differences and magnify them in everything we do. To only limit our abilities to the political arena when partisanship plagues democratic productivity is to only treat the symptom while ignoring the more fundamental cause ingrained in each one of us to varying extents.

To lessen partisanship we must learn to lessen our instinct to exaggerate differences. We must of course still see our differences, but we cannot distort them to make characterizations easier or to convince others faster. This applies not just to politics, but in regular conversation, in how we act and how we treat others.

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