Identity Politics, Identity Life, Who are we, What are we?
Seems like everyone today has a need to be, or has a need to just categorize everything in their life, even those who rail against all the identity politics they hear on TV categorize fall into the definitions they assign to others. Recently I was engaged in a discussion about the two party system and how everything would be better off if we just ignored the party definition and just voted or responded to the ideas rather than the parties. The discussion actually began with the recognition that people just don’t listen to other people’s ideas and consider the possibility of new ideas contribution to the discussion. Something on the order of my column from a few columns ago. I agree with the sentiment as I stated earlier there really isn’t a “smartest person in the room” unless you consider that the combined efforts and ideas of everyone in the room represent the “smartest person in the room”. Too many times we become invested in “our” idea and the need to see it succeed over all the others just like a proud papa or mama. Probable the latent outlet of a need for competition suppressed from our childhood when “everyone’s a winner, we don’t need trophies to prove that” (TIC).
The discussion then moved on to, I was a Republican (who knew?), so I only consider those ideas (more implied than actually stated (the problem with communication!!)). At this point in the discussion I realized that a great many people actually see the world in this manner. Because they can put a label on us, or more accurately, a category to one phase of our beliefs that this is what we are throughout all of our thoughts and actions. In fact I’m an engineer, an economist, a conservative, an apparent philosopher “wanna be”, a Christian, a father and I play Lacrosse, baseball as well as other sports, (America, what a country). How can that be boiled down you’re a Republican? So’s John McCain and he and I rarely agree, Austan Goolsbee is a well known economist, but I really have a hard time squaring his comments and teachings with the what has happened in the economy unless is suspend or ignore many of the facts, so how can we really Label someone with a specific category unless we want to marginalize someone so all their ideas become worthless. As our “learned” colleagues on capitol hill and in the media pontificate on their opinions masquerading as facts, listen to the words they use and decide for yourself if they’re trying to label someone and trying to marginalize their opinion or not. The more we listen to the world around us the more we’ll hear good ideas from all sources. That is what is so special about this country – the free flow of ideas. Because of that we are arguably the best and strongest and most generous country history has ever witnessed.