Time to Get Real

June 5, 2011

Political dialogue has become an endless repetition of Bill Clinton’s famous quote “that depends on what your definition of “is” is.” Politicians at either end of the spectrum, the ones who tend to dominate media coverage, seem to believe that only their ideology contains the “truth.”

I don’t believe that real Americans are foolish enough to fall for this false dichotomy.

Wikipedia says that “reality is often contrasted with what is imaginary, delusional, in the mind, …what is abstract.” In other words, reality is that which is tangible, as opposed to the intangible.

We describe reality in terms of a multitude of polar opposites such as big or small, pretty or ugly, black or white. But just as no one on our planet actually lives at the North or South Poles, reality is very rarely found in the extremes, but exists somewhere in the middle of the opposites we use to describe existence. In the middle, where we find reality, is where we should be looking for solutions to our problems.

The obsession with polling tends to obscure rather than illuminate what real Americans think. This is because survey questions, often absurdly dumbed down, give respondents a choice of a polar position that they can only choose to agree or disagree with in varying degrees. Polls tell us nothing about people’s preferences when faced with a set of facts in a real situation.

Ideology doesn’t solve problems. Only real, tangible, on-the-ground, practical, pragmatic, nitty-gritty hard work solves problems. Let’s stop arguing about theories and face the facts. It’s time to get real.

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3 Responses to “Time to Get Real”

  1. Jim Weaver Says:

    Carol,
    I believe we are facing facts: we are spending ourselves into the gutter. It needs to stop. That is a fact. Our country is an “experiment” that is only a little over 2 hundred years old. Can it survive? Honestly, I’m not certain. If we continue to spend. Spending is how congress gets elected, and there is little restraint. Changing something (spending) 10 years down the road is cowardly.
    Sorry, that’s what I think. I realize it’s complex.

  2. carol Says:

    Spending more than the government takes in is certainly a problem. But all spending is not equal. Some spending such as on scientific research or space exploration (surprisingly enough!) results in great benefits to our economy through new technologies and greater productivity. Ideologies obscure the difference and the nuance that makes compromise possible. Compromise is the foundation of our system of government and the genius behind what makes it work.

  3. Gena Haywood Says:

    I love this line: “But just as no one on our planet actually lives at the North or South Poles, reality is very rarely found in the extremes…” I think I will quote it and promise to tell I read it on your blog.


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