Monday, October 18, 2021

Is obstructionism the new ideology?

 For decades, I have championed the concept and the ethical significance of a "majority of one". Individuals, especially those who have taken serious and troublesome decisions, deserve our utmost respect, honour and support.

In fact, individual decisions to act alone even by remaining silent, have resulted in their own defamation, isolation and public shame...only to have their courage and independent thought and decision revisited weeks, months or years later in the light of "new" additional information. Such revisiting often results in a reclamation of some of the lost dignity and honour of their decision and consequently of their person.

Public knowledge and awareness is often limited and even curtailed by a "rush to judgement" when an unconventional decision brings down public scorn and contempt.
A spouse's persistent silence when facing what s/he regards as  unacceptable behaviour/attitude of the other partner, while disappointing to some, can eventually be seen as both wise and consistent with family stability.

However, the context matters greatly as to when and how to interpret the power of one.
The current example of Senator Manchin's rejection of the clean energy piece of the Biden Social infrastructure bill radiates radioactively and globally as both intolerable and short-sighted. There is no justification for his using his single vote to subvert this specific proposal except perhaps his own political survival in West Virginia. Allowing Manchin "time" to bring his voters on board with the climate crisis we and they already face is inexcusable and brings out questions of the political muscle of Democrats generally and the White House specifically.

Superficially, and technically, Manchin can kill the package of some $2 trillion dollars, given the number of Democrats and Republican Senators is tied at 50-50. However, to permit him this "power of one" is both irresponsible and politically suicidal for Democrats in 2022 and for the Biden presidency.
The nation's highest and best interests  require bold political action to ameliorate and perhaps even preclude further destruction of the planet's atmosphere.

It is prevalent in many small and medium sized projects where the silence of a majority, deferring to a dominant opinion and attitude and preferring to avoid conflict with others they consider"friends", results in the loudest voice being permitted to be the "bully" they are determined to be.
Even if the best and highest interests of the project are to be sacrificed to the will of an obstructionist tyrant, silence and false political correctness/peace-keeping make that sacrifice inevitable.

Some would argue that the compromise answer would resolve the obstruction, each "giving" a little for the larger interest and purpose of the allegedly "shared" interest in and commitment to the project. However, people like Joe Manchin and right-wing religious fanatics and deeply insecure and consequently dominating persons do not and never will qualify as potential equal and equally respected participants in negotiations aimed at compromise.

"My way or the highway" is a slogan championed by the former disgraced president of the U.S. who, by wearing that slogan ("I alone can fix it!"), has given millions of weak and angry individuals license and encouragement to thwart the public good and the will of the majority.
Indeed, the voices of those who consider themselves "empowered" and "entitled" regardless of their unique justification for their empowerment and/or entitlement, effectively replicate the role and power of the colonialists, both official and their angry victims.

The approach of the  "established" (entitled) and those who consider the approach of the entitled to be worthy of emulation (ironically as self-sabotaging of both groups), is guaranteed to fail whether that failure is obvious immediately or in the longer run.
Subverting the will of the majority, especially when the benefits of that will are obvious and uncontested, for the purpose of bending to an individual's neurotic and narcissistic need is a step too far.
However, we live in a time when the highest aspirations and.most basic needs of the majority are blocked by obstructionist bullies, with the silent compliance and complicity of too many "nice" people avoiding the risk of losing a friend.

Hundreds of police officers are resigning today in major U.S. cities because they dispute mandated vaccinations, the only currently available protection against a lethal and mutating have thousands of health care workers, for the same reason.

Obstructing both public health and the  protection of the planet, it seems, is part of the new normal.
And the new normal renders us all less safe and less hopeful.

Obstruction, it seems, has become a new political movement and ideology.

And the force needed to beat it back seem to be suffering entropy just when muscular push-back is required. 


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home