One piece of society’s modern mosaic that is causing major issues in the nation is the desire to have simple solutions to problems. Whenever something takes place that upsets somebody we often hear the plaintive cry, ‘we have to do something’. There is an urgency in their voice and if enough people agree with them, then politicians will jump into action. Needless to say, the action the politicians will take is usually not well thought out because they just, ‘want to do something’. As a result of their quick response, there are almost always what we call unintended consequences. These consequences can often have devastating effects on society as a whole.
It’s important that we also recognize that every decision made by a politician today is made for the purpose of keeping themselves in office. In order to stay in office they need to maintain their appeal to their base. Their base is what gets them through the primary, since in many cases today, districts are set up so that one side is almost always guaranteed a win. That is one reason why there is little compromise and why there is little of what was once called, ‘reaching across the aisle’. There is no motivation to listen to those who have the opposite viewpoint, because the base wants the politician to ‘do something’.
President John F. Kennedy wrote a book called, Profiles in Courage which told of politicians who voted their conscience rather than what was convenient. They did what they thought was best for the country, today there are very few politicians who have any courage. They are afraid of being raked over the coals on social media or by the pundits on the networks. There are politicians who have become experts at manipulating the emotions of the public and who thrive on the emotional rush they get from the crowd. Remember, they are driven by making the ’we must do something’ mantra of the emotional argument.
In order to please their base, their supporters, they promise simple solutions that sound good and make headlines. They understand that a large percentage of their followers will never look beyond the soundbite, deeper than the headline. They know their audience and they know how to keep feeding their audience a steady diet of simple answers to complex questions. Until the people demand real solutions and not simple answers, this part of the modern mosaic will always be a part that just doesn’t seem to fit.