We Fix Politics By Building Community
Start writing a post
Politics

We Fix Politics By Building Community

Ben Sasse's book "Them" reveals that our breakdown in community is fueling our partisan politics.

84
We Fix Politics By Building Community
Personal Photo

Most books or documentaries about politics get you fired up and angry at the other side. Maybe it is dirt on a president or a dark past with a particular party. But I believe one book actually analyzes what the cause is of our political divide. That book is "Them" by Nebraskan senator Ben Sasse. He is a Republican, but he actually has a lot of criticism for Republicans and conservatives in his book just as much for Democrats and liberals. But the point of his book is not who is right, it is about what is causing this friction and hatred among Americans over politics. Without spoiling too much of the book, I would like to share his main theme for the book: community.

This is not meant to sound old-fashioned, but we used to have more thriving communities in America. Families were more intact, people were close to each other, and politics didn't dominate the landscape so much. This is not ignoring the issues of that day or saying that they were perfect, but they had strengths that our communities are lacking today. Loneliness is on the rise, which is actually something I talked about in one of my earlier articles about investing in friendships. As everyone knows, loneliness leads to depression and anger. We want to belong and have social connections with people. Sasse uses the term "tribes" to describe how we belong. This makes sense when we consider ancient hunter-gatherer societies and even early farming communities.

There are many causes of the loneliness epidemic which are described in the book, one of which is technology. I won't go into too much detail, but technology has become so advanced that we can create replicas of human-beings that do not have the flaws like normal human beings do. As a result, people are increasingly choosing technology to replace their actual friends and family members. The problem is that a robot will never give you the same closeness of a relationship with an actual human being. An example is the accessibility of pornography and how men can get fake girlfriends that seem real. If you want a good example, look at the otaku of Japan. We are bombarded by new technology that distracts us from the real people in front of us and the potentially fulfilling relationships that can actually make us happy.

Notice that I have not mentioned Republicans and Democrats the entire time except for the beginning. This issue cuts across partisan lines. The way politics ties in is that due to a lack of communities, we seek other ways to belong. Politics has become that new way. How has that worked out for us? Politics unites people against something and creates hatred. How often do you see politics cause love, unity, and true strength? It rarely, if ever, does. What adds to the anger is the way our news media is designed. The majority of news sources are not interested in giving food for thought or truth, they are interested in marketing and retaining their audience. The way to do that is to run stories that confirm what your audience believes and cause the opposing side to hate you more. Sad to say, conservative and liberal media sources do this (not saying every single media source). Ironically, technology does have one benefit in this area, which is that more independent media sources are more accessible.

The damage has been done by this trend. We see violence between Americans on the Internet frequently. We have forgotten about our national identity as a people. When our founding fathers created the Constitution, they did not agree on everything. There were very different visions for the future. But they agreed on certain fundamental principles and established the country so that we could be united on important points. One of those points is that regardless of your background and personal identity if you are a citizen of the United States, you are an American. It didn't matter if you were German or French. It didn't matter if you were Catholic or Presbyterian. They also agreed that our country should be a place where you have freedom of speech and religious liberty to choose what you believe and debate ideas for the advancement of society.

Again, I do not want to spoil the entire book. I highly recommend that every American read it to keep the bigger picture in mind when it comes to politics. Reading the book provides all of the detailed analysis and research Sasse cites. It also gives suggestions on what the future will be and what we should do. I have a few ideas myself as to what we should do now. One, limit our news consumption and research a news source that actually enriches your knowledge, rather than turn your face red with anger. This isn't necessarily news, but I suggest watching the Rubin Report on Youtube. They are insightful interviews with people on the left and right. Second, balance our use of technology and spend time with the people in front of us. Everyone that has taken a break from technology has not once said that it made their life worse. Third, start seeing your fellow citizens as part of your community, ignoring their political party. And if you do talk about different ideas, be open-minded and ask questions. Don't assume you know everything.

Perhaps you already do these things and I commend you for it. I just think we need to stress more of these actions, rather than finger pointing, in order to start fixing our problems. What I think is neat is that these are actions we can take in our everyday lives. Let's stop making excuses and start taking the right steps.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

New England Summers Are The BEST Summers

Why you should spend your next summer in New England.

531
Marconi Beach

Three years ago, I chose to attend college in Philadelphia, approximately 360 miles away from my small town in New Hampshire. I have learned many valuable lessons away from home, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in Pennsylvania. One thing that my experience has taught me, however, is that it is absolutely impossible to beat a New England summer.

Keep Reading...Show less
Entertainment

Fibonacci Sequence Examples: 7 Beautiful Instances In Nature

Nature is beautiful (and so is math). The last one will blow your mind.

235148
illustration of the fibonacci sequence
StableDiffusion

Yes, the math major is doing a math-related post. What are the odds? I'll have to calculate it later. Many people have probably learned about the Fibonacci sequence in their high school math classes. However, I thought I would just refresh everyone's memories and show how math can be beautiful and apply to physical things everywhere around us with stunning examples.

Keep Reading...Show less
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

90172
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments