Unavoidable Divisions

Democracy (as defined to be “majority rule”) is a horrible system when used alone. Thus in most “democracies”, there are checks and balances on democracy. Unfortunately, in electing the US president, there is only one check on democratic decision making — the electoral college. And we must wait until later to see if the electoral college counters the popular decisions of each state.  But I am neither a Hillary nor a Donald fan.  I think preferential voting (used in some local governments) would have solved the Hillary or Donald choice but we now have what we have.

Two days ago, America’s elections demonstrated one her many huge divisions. It also demonstrated the blindness we can have in estimating the strength others. Divisions are natural and healthy. The challenge is how we handle divisions. Here are some of the ways leaders handle divisions in their groups.

(1) Create Unity

Many leaders deal with difference by striving for unity. These leaders use different strategy to rid themselves of differences:

a) Demand Orthodoxy

Propaganda tied with threats of punishment can work to establish unified orthodoxy. Peer pressure is also very useful to suppress differences. Propaganda defines Orthodoxy. Belittling doubt or criticism is key tool in protecting orthodoxy. Here are quotes from Christian and Muslim scripture that shows their religious leaders (respectively, Paul and Mohammed) asking their followers to avoid division in belief:

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Cor. 1:10

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided. Surah 3:103

b) Nurture a Common Enemy

Though divisions are natural, they can be destructive. Differences should not be ignored or forbidden, but there are good and bad ways to soften them. National Leaders, threatened by division, often use war, jingoism and cries for patriotism to unite — they try to nurture the “common enemy” mentality.

c) Expel Dissidents

This is self explanatory.

(2) Nurture Diversity

This is the difficult path. We must be comfortable with compromise.  We must allow freedom of voice. We need to share power in checks and balances.

Political Conclusion:

I think Donald Trump needs to quickly announce that Latinos, African-Americans and LGBT folks will be appointed to his cabinet or high positions. We need him to prove he encourages different voices and some sharing of power and influence. Trying to create unity or the illusion of unity, is bound to failure. Democrats wanted to ignore the Trump supporters and hoped to overpower them in this election but the silent, unpolled masses in American shouted loudly. Now I can only hope that Trump and his supporters will prove they won’t ignore their opponents either.

Question to readers: What are your feelings?  Let us hear your voice — even if we disagree.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

2 responses to “Unavoidable Divisions

  1. Bill Rayner

    Regardless of the election results, I was already disappointed in the followers of Trump. I had not being fully aware of the amount of cultural anger over the advancement of minorities rights. It is as if acknowledging that others people have the same rights as white males, somehow diminishes the white males rights.

    I fear for the environment, woman’s reproductive rights, my gay friends being respected or acceptance and the overall stability of the world.

  2. With President Elect Trump backpedaling on some of his campaign promises I am feeling a bit more hopeful.

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