Want to make someone crazy? Leave them only two crayons in the box, then ask them to draw a rainbow.
Politics, politics, politics. It would make my head hurt if I cared much about politics.
My wife and I lived in the Netherlands (Holland) for a year. At the time, they had 13 major political parties. Consider that 6 million people live in all of Holland, whereas 12 million people live in DFW alone. The U.S. is a vast melting pot of ideas, cultures and beliefs. Yet here we are with only two major political parties.
In my experience as a therapist, “conservatives” don’t necessarily have all that much in common with other conservatives, other than their dislike of liberals. “Liberals” don’t necessarily have much in common with other liberals, other than their dislike of conservatives. This isn’t about politics. It’s about self-identity. You don’t easily fit into ready made categories, and neither does anyone else. And really, how important are these political labels of Red and Blue? You feel disconnected from your spouse, or you experience road rage. Does this have much to do with your political affiliation? You drink too much, your kid is failing geometry. Is this because of who occupies the White House?
You’re real life issues have little to do with politics–which is why a lot of people fixate on politics. You don’t know how to find a job you love, or a romantic relationship that excites you–but you do know those damn conservatives/liberals are idiots! Putting yourself and others into vastly oversimplified categories makes people into cardboard cutouts. Even the most extreme conservative/liberal is more complex than a James Bond villain. Whatever challenges you face in life, it’s never a simple US versus THEM. This kind of black and white (or red and blue)thinking makes your spouse “always late” and you “always on time.” It makes your boss a “complete idiot,” whereas you are the “perfect employee.” We simplify people we disagree with so we can more easily dismiss their ideas. But look closer, dig deeper, because there are always, always more Crayons in the box.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.