Monday, August 20, 2012

Political Campaigns

We are deep into the campaign season, and everyone knows what that means – attack ads and name-calling.  We will hear how A is a socialist, B is a radical, C is an extremist, D is a flip-flopper and someone else is a racist.  It will continue until we are sick of it and finally go to the polls, hold our noses to vote for the lesser of two evils; then breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over.  Why does this happen and why does it seem to be getting worse? – Because it works! – and it works because we let it!

This habit of name-calling and hurling insults is contrary to all the principles of this blog.  Everyone skilled in dealing with a child, a pet, an employee or any relationship, knows to praise or criticize the behavior, not the individual.  This minimizes defensiveness and focuses on what needs to change.  What's needed to really solve America's problems is a behavioral rather than a political approach, but politicians continue to sling mud and make promises.  We react because too few people understand that it's our job, not theirs to fix America.  And politicians are not alone in trying to co-opt our power.

We let politicians tell us the solutions to our so-called crises.  We let advertisers tell us what we need and when to buy it.  We let advocacy groups convince us that we are victims and need their help.  We let the news media tell us what we should worry about.  For this the politicians get re-elected, the advertisers make sales quotas, the advocacy groups get our donations, the media gets an audience, and we accept the situation while America heads in the wrong direction.

Only by improving our own behavior can we take control and get better results.  With a little more critical thinking and perspective we can ignore the hype, buying those items that add value to our lives while avoiding wasteful use of our time and money.  With a little more discipline and responsibility we can improve our physical and financial health without depending on government or other groups, and without blaming fast food, the banks, big business or any other convenient scapegoat.  With a little more economic understanding we can discount their magic-money-tree promises and force people to deal with us honestly.  This is just a brief summary of the many benefits of practicing the behavioral model.  In subsequent postings I will continue to provide examples and ask readers to look for examples in their own experience.

As more people understand and apply this model, we will take back power from those groups, uncovering the flaws in their arguments.  We will demand behavioral explanations and actively discredit personal attacks and the other distractive tactics of politicians and advertising.  We will make better choices, freeing ourselves from the influence and mandates of others.  It’s not easy staying focused on the key dimensions, skeptically questioning poorly-supported assertions, being responsible for our actions, holding ourselves to higher standards and continually challenging the notion that someone else can run our lives better than we can, while using more and more of our money to do it.  Sure, it's difficult, but the rewards are tremendous!

Please help spread the word.  If you agree with the ideas in these posts, send this link to everyone you know –  Help build critical mass behind this movement.

It’s our choice.  Either we continue to react to them, or we force them to respond with honesty and substance rather than insults and accusations.  We can take back the power.  Otherwise, the same behavior will reap the same consequences.

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