It seems we’re constantly fighting over political issues, and something feels way off. We talk about moral issues in politics, but often we’re focused on the wrong thing.
Maybe it’s time to take a second look.
Bitter Political Discourse
Too often it seems political divides are wide and deep. We are on the opposite sides of various issues and everyone digs their heels in, sure that they are in the right position.
Quite often people look at moral issues in politics and think of securing their position and their view. They want the political process to honor their way of thinking. They get so wrapped up in toeing the line of those who agree with them (akin to the proximity principle in psychology), they are focused only on political victory.
Unfortunately, we may have drifted from the point of politics and morality. Too often, the fight isn’t about right or wrong, but about the position we hold. Maybe we need to rethink the way we approach moral issues in politics. The first step is to take politics out all together.
Politics vs. Ethics
We are at a point where people are fighting over ethics and calling it politics. Too often we look for solutions to political victory instead of ethical problems. We miss the point of politics entirely.
It’s ethical to want everyone to have a place to live. It’s political to figure out how that happens. It’s ethical to want everyone to have food on the table. It’s political to come up with the methods by which that occurs.
Whether it’s safety for refugees, help for people in trouble, affordable health care for everyone, safety and a world of possibilities for children and more these are all ethical issues. We should all want this. This is not political. Opposing these things is not a political difference, but a moral failing.
Figuring out how we make it happen – that’s political. Deciding the steps to get us to where we need to be and enacting them – that’s political. Focusing your time and effort into figuring out a solution – that’s ethical.
Moral Issues in Politics
Last week I wrote a piece called a decline in empathy. One reason we’re here is because we’re too focused on fighting than on helping. We need to be focused on how we improve the lives of others in our communities and not just ourselves.
When people are at risk, we need to do more than just be thankful we’re not in the at risk group. We need to step up to decrease their risk. Individualism is killing us; instead of focusing only on ourselves, we must focus on all of us. The more we make our community stronger, the stronger we all are.
We can discuss how we help the unemployed – whether we find ways to fund job retraining, UBI, or discuss how to increase motivation, but just doing nothing – that’s immoral.
The moral issues in politics are simple: do we focus on political differences or do we focus on moral imperatives? Do we work to help others or do we focus on helping ourselves? If our goal is to simply abandon those that aren’t like us, all the political might in the world won’t matter: we’re morally bankrupt and everything else will eventually crumble away.
Focus on ethics. Focus on kindness. Focus on people. Change the world for the better. Wrap your politics around maximizing the best for everyone. No other political approach is worthwhile.