Can we not at least agree on something in 2017? Is the political divide so vast that no common ground can be found?
Can we at least agree that it’s OK ‘to be’?
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) was a Frenchman, a thinker. He is the subject of study in departments of Philosophy in Universities throughout the western world, or at least he was when I frequented one. His work is a subject of consideration due to his significant impact on the science of thinking – the root of all human endeavour of note. He is famous mostly for the noteworthy conclusion of many years of thought and doubt: “I think, therefore I am.”
Taking Descartes’ conclusion to be valid (comment below if you dispute the validity of his claim), I too think, and therefore, I too ‘am’. I exist, I am, and as far as me and my family are concerned, not only is that OK – that’s a good thing. It’s good to be me, but I have my detractors so I’ll settle for – “It’s OK to be me”.
If you are a good person, if that is how you see yourself, I’m guessing you think it’s OK to be you. That all seems fair and reasonable.
It’s OK to be me. It really is. It’s Ok to be you too. Is this something we can agree upon? A patch of common ground?
“To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.” Proverbs 19:8
Finding common ground in the political world in 2017 sometimes appears to be beyond reach. Perhaps there are those that want no common ground to be found and who want people divided? There are cries for disabled rights, gay rights, black rights, Muslim rights, women’s rights: Human Rights. Never is there talk of the individual. Just groups of individuals defined by a characteristic: individuals whose individualism is stolen from them as they are rendered by their grouping as invisible, obsolete and unreal. If ‘rights’ are to mean anything to us they must mean something to each and every individual – no need for sub-groups whatsoever. For simplicity in society, politics and Law and Order, the only ‘Human Rights’ that matter are these:
“Those who go about their lives in a law-abiding manner deserve to get protection from those who don’t.” There’s no need to complicate it. It’s not rocket science, as they say.
Identity group politics means it’s not OK to be you any longer. You have to be part of a group and you have to be ‘fighting’ for that group’s ‘rights’. Ability; sex; skin hue; religion; sexuality – these are the characteristics generally used to facilitate this dehumanisation of you and of me. It’s often called Political Correctness and has led to many destructive phenomena within our society, divisive and aggressive phenomena that detract from overall wellbeing. It doesn’t matter what religion I have, does it? It doesn’t matter what sex I am, does it? It doesn’t matter what skin colour I have, does it? If not, then judge me not by these things.
I think therefore I am and it’s OK to be me. It’s OK to be you. I have a dream that my two children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. It is the year 2017 – How have the Expertariat of academia brought us to a time where we do not all agree on this: It’s OK to be white?
© Ang Ryman 2017