It’s Time to Stop Winning

America is a nation divided.  It’s not a division of black and white, it’s a division of red and blue that is stretching the fabric of our society towards it breaking point. 

The two-party political system has devolved to an us and them slugfest with each party working non-stop to land a blow against their opponent.   Verbal jabs and political uppercuts are broadcast 24/7 across the nation.   The play by play is in every room of our homes, our restaurants, watering holes and even in our pockets.   It’s the greatest single sporting event that we have created as Americans and nobody will ever win.  

Even after an electoral victory, the opponents continue their attacks.   Rather than governing our leaders are constantly campaigning.   Rather than compromising and creating a system that works for Americans, our leaders are spending their time on impeachments, birther claims and accusations of wrongdoing that is rampant in the camps of both fighters.  

The result is a people without governance or leadership.   The result is angry protests in the streets, armed militia guarding businesses and further conflict among our divided people.   The result is an America where we will not engage in dialog that will lead to change. 

Our two-party red and blue system has created an atmosphere where the radical elements of society are gaining influence.   The gridlock and leadership void in our political system is allowing white supremacists and violent anarchists fill a void in confused and uninformed citizens minds the same way that extreme jihadists do in the Muslim world.  The path we are on is leading to a more divided, more violent and more extreme environment for us all to live in.  

All the while, the national news media is stoking the flames.   CNN and Fox News are among the entities that discovered long ago that conflict pushes ratings and profits.   Rather than unbiased news coverage we are now bombarded by impassioned critics and scathing commentary.   Facts are no longer the foundation our media is built on; it is the fire of competition.   The national news media no longer fills the role of fact checker, truth finder and voice of the unheard and vulnerable.   Now the news media fills the role of fight promoter and they know that the bloodier the fight, the more people will watch and the bigger the profits. 

Americans have always had differences, but never before have they had the ability to broadcast them on a whim to a wide audience.   Never before have they had ability to quickly and thoughtlessly spread untrue or harmful information.   Never before have Americans had the ability to see the whims of thought from their neighbors and judge them for it.  

Social media was viewed as a great step forward in connecting the people of our country and the World.   Through that connection we have furthered the seeds of division.   We have become participants in the glory of the us and them struggle that our political system embodies.   We are now all fighters in the campaign, and we will win at all costs.   Doing so is destroying friendships, families and people. 

If we want to change, we have to stop winning.   The focus has to shift from destroying our adversaries to building our communities.   Instead of fighting our political battles while are neighborhoods are crumbling and large corporations are making away with the bounties of our labor, we must instead build up our neighbors, our local businesses and our leaders.  

If we are going to stop this cycle, we need to understand the basic principals of democracy and take the responsibility of developing and supporting leaders who will work in our best interest, rather than simply win.    We have to understand the basic principals of capitalism and vote with our dollars every day for companies that work to build and unite rather than divide and profit.  

We have the tools we need to make this great nation work better than it ever has before.   If we are going to do that, we must stop winning and start building.  

Published by Mati Bishop

406 Paddles founder, artist and ambassador.

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