I had a discussion with my closest friend years ago, and in that conversation I failed to convince him about the danger of our own emotions. With the passing of years, and some more insights into this issue, I'd like to try to convince you of this - and what it means to this election process we're in the midst of.
I once told my friend that I think we are all of two types of minds. On one hand we each have this conscious mind with which we think and consider things like logic and make dispassionate choices - we see this part of our minds at work the most often when we are at our work and our emotions are relatively uninvolved in whatever tasks may be before us.
The other part of our minds is our emotional selves. This part of our minds is often at war with our conscious selves, and our emotions try to wash us away in the strong surges, tides and currents of their flow. When we are in the full grip of our inflamed emotions, logic and clarity of thinking flee from us and our actions can be far more rash and ill-conceived - and far more damaging - than we may intend in more normal and sanguine frames of mind.
As people with these two opposing tensions within our minds and brains, we live out our lives and interact with our fellow citizens on this world. Some of us have better ways of dealing with or controlling our emotions - or at least some of them - or at least more often - than others of us. Some of us tend to be more easily carried away in the moment of our emotions than others. There is a wide variation within the human experience in this, and within each of us, both of these extremes will guide our thoughts and actions more than the other at various times.
However, one truth of this observation is this: our inflamed emotions tend to overpower the more logical side of our minds - to temporarily swamp the canoe of logic and reason in the tidal surge of whatever emotion(s) is/are most inflamed at the moment, if you will.
With the Batman movie theater shootings of last night as the immediate news event back drop of this missive, if the news of this event resonates with your personal history, memories, or affects those you know or love directly - or even triggers your own memories of other simiar events which have affected your emotions previously, then you are probably more likely to judge this news and any comments about it from a more emotional perspective than if you do not have any such personal history to give more emotional "flavor" (for lack of a better word) to your thinking about these news events of last night's shootings.
The same sort of mental mechanics apply to our views of political subjects. Whenever your emotions are engaged by political subjects or not, you are more likely to judge and participate in discussions with others from those emotionally-activated perspectives. Allow me to cite the widely accepted maxim to never discuss religion or politics socially in large groups - because people's emotions are likely to beocme too easily inflamed when either or both subjects are brought up.
The political operatives of both US political parties know the essential truth of this all too well, and one party - far more than the other - seeks to use this to their advantage repeatedly, though both will use this to their advantage at times.
What we need to be aware of - and to make our friends and neighbors and family members aware of - is the truth that cynical political leaders are using our own emotions - by way of emotionally-laden words and arguments designed to trigger emotional responses over more well reasoned ones - to manipulate us into feeling and thinking and reacting to the news and political arguments of the day IN WAYS THAT THEY WANT US TO REACT. They understand the effecttiveness of these emotional tides surging in our heads in overwhelming our reason, and THEY CYNICALLY MANIPULATE US EMOTIONALLY IN AN EFFORT TO CONTROL US.
I don't know about you, but the thought that cynical, lying bastards of ANY stripe are trying to use my own emotions to make ME feel and think and do what THEY want me feeling and thinking and doing, well that make me just mad enough to fight back against their games of emotional manipulation.
Only once you are aware of the emotionally-reactionary game that the political leaders of ALL sides are playing within our own minds do we become equipped to override their manipulatory games and understand & evaluate their words in a more dispassionate context. Only then can we disarm their word-picture weapons and neutralize their effects and see these cynical poolitical hacks, their games, and their lies for what they are.
We cannot hope to make real progress as individuals, as a people, and a society if we continue to allow the emotions of the moment to overwhelm our reason unchecked. We cannot continue to bllithely follow one emotional used-car-huckster political sales pitch after another - to allow tham undermine and override our careful and well considered review of our political leaders' performances by their emotionally laden appeals to our more reactionary emotional selves. That way lies ruinous futures like communism and socialism - and their seemingly appealing emotional simplicity - and all the humanity-losing attrocities that attend within both systems of governance.
So, having said all that, let me ask you this quesiton. Does being emotionally manipulated by cynical bastards of any stripe for THEIR OWN benefit make YOU mad too?
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!
BECOME *AWARE* OF IT!
PAY ATTENTION TO IT, and FIGHT AGIANST IT!!
FORCE the bastards to stop lying to you and manipulating you - or toss their asses all out in the next election cycle.
It's up to each of us to fight this fight called freedom, and further, it also our RESPONSIBILITY to fight the fight - and we'd better start fighting the freedom fight way better than we've been doing it tha last few decades, or things will start getting a lot worse for all of us.