It’s almost unbearable how political everything has become. It seems every issue as small as making a cake or wearing a mask has political overtones. The problem is that we’ve become so wrapped up in our positions that we’ve lost our way. If you want to make the word better, there’s a better approach than politics.
Politics on Fire
It seems our political views have really heated up recently. There have always been disparities on things like abortion, the death penalty, and public healthcare, but things have grown much hotter.
First there was a clash about public restrooms with transgender people and who could use what. Then there was a clash about who could refuse cakes to whom. But things just kept getting more intense. We now live in a world where people will literally yell, scream, and threaten violence and even death over whether or not they can wear a mask.
One of the reasons this is true is because we’ve derailed. We’re way off track. The thing is we’re stuck in our politics when there is a much better approach than politics. We’re looking in the wrong direction, just like a couple chefs at the end of their produce.
Two Chefs, One Orange
There were two chefs each preparing for an amazing meal. One was preparing the delicious main course and the other a decadent dessert. Unfortunately, the daily deliveries were short that day and they had to make do.
They found ways to alter and adjust and still had all the makings of a tasty dining experience with one exception. Both needed an orange and there was only one to be had.
After realizing that the orange would be a crucial flavor in both of their dishes, they conceded that the it should be split in two. With each chef using half, both of their creations were diminished by the sacrifice.
After splitting the orange the two parties retreated to their stations. The first chef squeezed the juice out of half the orange and threw away the rind. The second chef used the peel for an orange zest and threw away the fruit.
A Better Approach than Politics
Both chefs were focused on the wrong thing. They knew they needed an orange for the juice and the peel respectively, but they got lost on the object – the orange – and didn’t realize they could both get what they need if they focused on their goal.
Politics often takes us down the same path. For instance, we often argue about universal healthcare as a yes or no scenario. That’s political. Let’s back off of the politics and think about the goal. Let’s think about it differently.
Shouldn’t everyone have access to healthcare? That’s the fundamental question. Our goal should be that everyone has access to healthcare. Instead of arguing for or against universal healthcare for a moment let’s just focus on what it would take to get everyone on healthcare.
For instance if someone is down on their luck should they simply die because they can’t pay for healthcare? Should healthcare be tied to a job so that if someone loses their job, they lose their healthcare? Should healthcare be affordable for everyone? These are questions that are not political. How we answer them – the mechanisms that we use to implement solutions – those are political.
But we should take a better approach than politics: we should look beyond the politics to the goal of what we want to achieve.
Making Progress vs. Making Enemies
If however, we take a better approach than politics and look at solving a problem, we come up with solutions instead of just argue positions.
We want common goals. We want people to have healthcare. We want people to be treated fairly even if they are different. We want people to be safe. We want our government to work on our behalf. So what exactly does that look like? If we focus on our goal of everyone getting healthcare and not on a specific solution we can start to discuss ways to make the world better.
Do we want to make progress or do we want to make enemies? There is a better approach than politics, and, just like the two chefs with the orange, it’s about discussing our needs and working out solutions together.