Deeply anxious and afraid Republican primary voters express their deep outrage with their political leaders: maybe hatred best describes their generalized feelings towards the “establishment.”
They wrongly seek leaders who will take them back to a black and white world—to quote NY Times Columnist Thomas Friedman, “To the certainties and prosperity of the Cold War or post-Cold War eras—by sacking the traditional elites who got us here and by building walls against change…” (NY Times October 21, 2015).
Rigid black and white world views shatter in times of chaos and uncertainty. Stressed people and groups tend to regress in their maturity and goodness—see the Benghazi Committee. Fear and anxiety will do that. The inflexible want “parents” to take care of them, heroes to rescue them from dangers real and imagined and magicians to do the impossible. Judgement suffers and the either/or folks fall prey to false prophets: those who prey on their hopes and fears to advance themselves. Why do they listen over and over again to those who lie and use them?
The angrier they get the more demanding and inflexible they become. Poor leadership is not divorced from themselves: Republican extremists co-created the state of the Republican Party. Their leaders reflect them: the people who put the leaders in place (see the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives).
How do the majority of us who are not today’s Republican extremists avoid falling victim to regression?
Robert Greenleaf, author of Servant Leadership wrote:
Who is the enemy? Who holds back faster movement to a better world? Who is responsible for the mediocre performance of so many of our institutions?” It’s not the evil, stupid, ignorant, or apathetic people. If the world is transformed there will still be evil, stupid, ignorant, and apathetic people. The enemy is indifference.
The Republican extremists are not indifferent. Fear driven and victims of a mechanistic world view, they are just wrong about so many things.
We cannot go back to an earlier time: life is complex, changes always and moves steadily into an unknown potential-filled future. Resistance to the need for change only causes more fear, pain and danger for all. We avoid regression when we step boldly into our unknown futures and adapt as we go.
Democrats are angry too: enraged with Republicans. Their anger should be redirected to getting people who support their causes out to vote.
Will the election of 2016 move America to a positive future? A renewed future for America and her citizens depends on the poor, the young, students, immigrants, minorities and the middle class: on those who want to heal our planet, educate our citizens, reform immigration, have a robust middle class, and evolve human rights for all people.
The tired migrants, the cynical students, the disillusioned minorities, the anxious middle-class and the desperate must awaken and vote for the future they want for themselves. So simple—go vote for your self-interest.
God will not save us. False prophets will fail to be great, heroic leaders cannot endure, parents cannot take care of us and the tricks of the magicians are illusions. We are responsible.
This is not a time for indifference.