Perspectives: Take away the politics, here’s what’s really at stake on Tuesday

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — I saw a question pop up in an online discussion the other day. It asked, “What are you doing to prepare for Tuesday’s election?”

The asker of the question was specifically concerned about the potential for riots and other forms of violent unrest if the election were to go one way or the other. It was a sincere question but it illustrated the deteriorating state of mind that is afflicting the American populace.

Given the kind of Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate that attended the most recent Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearings, this concern isn’t entirely misplaced. A growing national detachment from reality has been on public display for the past two years.

It doesn’t help that many of our preferred media sources for information are among the most divisive enablers of conflict. It’s hard to know who or what to trust any more.

Rather than considering whether to wear body armor or how many reloads we should be carrying as we go to vote, the question that we ought to be asking is why we have become so divided in the first place.

Are we to believe that the real reason we hold elections is to be able to impose our will upon others through the violence of the state? A person could be forgiven if that’s the impression he or she came away with after watching the hyperpartisan buildup to our elections.

What’s not so clear to a lot of these voters is the fact that manufactured polarization and division are of no benefit to the average citizen. Instead, they serve as highly effective tools for political leaders and their favored special interests.

It’s hard to pretend that we’re motivated by responsible citizenship when a clear majority of us have no idea about our national history or the principles of proper limited government. But we sure know who or what we’re against, don’t we?

Fear and hatred are proven tools for hacking our brains. As Paul Rosenberg points out, when voters become fear or enemy-driven, they become, “suggestible masses to be directed at a target like so many guided missiles.“

This is why politics has become a toxic influence that poisons almost everything it touches.

The only exception to this is when individual voters choose to avail themselves of the opportunity to limit the power of the state in our lives. This can often be done by withdrawing consent rather than casting a vote.

Under properly limited government, no one should fear the outcome of a particular election. Under an out of control government, no one is safe from official mischief.

Voters, in this election, are being urged to approach the voting booth motivated solely by the consideration of who will have power over whom. This approach fails to recognize that the same domination that we are willing to inflict upon others will eventually be visited upon our own heads, at a compounded rate.

When we’re burning up with election fever, it can be hard to remember that life is about far more than simply wielding political power. The proof of this can be seen every time voters consciously abandon certain moral and ethical principles for the sake of a perceived short-term gain.

Somewhere, there must be room for us to be decent people regardless of what is taking place politically, whether here in Southern Utah or in Washington D.C.

We sometimes forget that most political imperatives are short-lived and are quickly discarded once they’re no longer considered useful for advancing a particular agenda. Once an outrage has run its course, we tend to quickly move on to the next one in hopes of finding some new advantage.

Would we do this if our ultimate goal was a quest for truth rather than the pursuit of power?

How many people are willing to question whether certain issues should be politicized in the first place? Is there no area of our lives that should remain strictly off limits to politicians and their enablers?

These are just a few of the considerations that should guide our actions, in and out of the voting booth.

In between each election cycle are many days, weeks and months in which we have endless opportunities to impact the world around us in small, yet positive ways.

These opportunities depend less upon our political affiliation and more upon our ability to acknowledge the humanity of others.

Under this mindset, we’d be less likely to encourage or condone violence against “others” at the behest of those in power. We’d be less easily manipulated by fearful rhetoric.

It’s no coincidence that the happiest people I know are less focused on political power and more focused on lifting others instead of trying to put them in their place.

The upcoming election, stripped of its political goals, leaves us with a kind of referendum on what kind of individuals we’d rather be.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events and liberty viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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13 Comments

  • Not_So_Much November 5, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks Bryan a good reminder to focus on what positive things I can focus on going forward. If I ‘demand’ change, it will be specific with a let’s do this, so that this will happen.

  • Kristle November 5, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    The impact this has on a family is horrific.

  • tcrider November 5, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Excellent article Bryan,
    There are so many lies
    and fear based bs, that it is getting
    sickening.

  • chris keele November 5, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    This synopsis of the political environment that we find ourselves living is true and sadly of our own making in most instances, I think we should all try and let those among us that have given us by example a most honorable way to live, most recently Major Brent Taylor, who we all should be aware that lost his life in Afghanistan a few days ago, and now today as his body was flown home, his wife Jennie said she had ” heartache but no regrets “. This is but one instance of those in the Military community i have seen and talked with and heard about that have refused to live their lives embroiled in bitter hyper partisan rhetoric, they have all just simply supported their Commander in Chief, their Country, their families, their way of life, their self respect and dignity, and have refused to lower themselves to that standard. We should be grateful to have them among us, and look to their examples in how to live our lives. Remember that next time someone you know gives you an opportunity to say or do something hateful, especially someone in your family or community, it is just not necessary. Remember that on the eve of our elections, and within a few days of Veterans day, for our Brothers and Sisters who we have lost along the way.

  • bikeandfish November 5, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Even in this article, which is why I find Hyde hypocritical:

    “Under an out of control government, no one is safe from official mischief.”

    “This approach fails to recognize that the same domination that we are willing to inflict upon others will eventually be visited upon our own heads, at a compounded rate.”

    “Are we to believe that the real reason we hold elections is to be able to impose our will upon others through the violence of the state?”

    • Redbud November 6, 2018 at 12:05 am

      You’re just bitter because you know his article is spot on. Truth hurts doesn’t it?

      • Rice November 6, 2018 at 8:26 am

        You’re just bitter because that’s the way you were raised.

      • bikeandfish November 6, 2018 at 9:55 am

        Hyde often has valid points but his hypocrisy is always evident. When he starts providing evidence without the need for fear mongering than I’ll take him more seriously. But the foundation of his arguments are based on fear of a violent government so I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

        When you can make a valid argument without succumbing to ad hominem attacks than I’ll take your comments seriously.

    • bikeandfish November 6, 2018 at 9:56 am

      *my original comment was supposed to be a reply to Chris Keele, oops.

      • tcrider November 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm

        and you thought I was harsh.

        • bikeandfish November 6, 2018 at 2:19 pm

          Confused. Care to clarify?

          • tcrider November 7, 2018 at 8:01 am

            my response was suppose was suppose
            to be directed to your other response:
            bikeandfish November 5, 2018 at 8:37 pm Reply
            Even in this article, which is why I find Hyde hypocritical:

            “Under an out of control government, no one is safe from official mischief.”

            “This approach fails to recognize that the same domination that we are willing to inflict upon others will eventually be visited upon our own heads, at a compounded rate.”

            “Are we to believe that the real reason we hold elections is to be able to impose our will upon others through the violence of the state?”

  • Happy Commenter November 5, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Hyde, good article. B&f, not so much

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