The world is flat.
Thomas L. Friedman wrote the book, over a decade ago.
The Internet explosion and outsourcing have brought us into instantaneous connection with everything that can carry a signal. Provided we sustain electronic linkage, we can now communicate with virtually everyone – about anything – and provide goods and services for anyone from anywhere.
I can remember when one had to drive to a local library, navigate the research department catalogue, and sit for hours copying columns of material just to prove an historical point. Now, one smart phone and about twelve minutes can accomplish the same task – and, save all relevant documents into a virtual folder.
In the United States alone, I’m sure there are scholars who can provide enough data to support Friedman’s thesis. But, let’s consider the political realm, in this context.
Based in the last couple political campaigns, the Internet has proved itself responsible for the rise of Bernie Sanders and the election of Donald J. Trump. Social media has become the first avenue for publicity. We don’t even need graphic designers, anymore (and, I was one); banners and yard signs can be self produced, using available software, and picked up at the nearest print outlet.
Instant access; equally swift information transmission. Do we even need to be present, to win?
Now, consider how we might review the political platform of a potential political candidate. Said hopeful creates a website, and lists his/her political views, point by point. Televised ads would be retained, albeit many of them viewed via smart phones. Door to door campaigns would still carry significant local weight, but these would no longer require anything but prior familiarity with a candidate’s position on all the issues.
So, how do we place value on political party? Primarily, citizens align on platform – a set of commitments to action which follow a certain ideology. Fiscal conservation. Equal rights, for women and minorities. Federal programs. Single payer health. Retirement options. Self-employed business ownership. Industry. Agriculture. The environment, and its protection. Fuel and power sourcing. Medical services. Insurance coverage, for home, auto, and equipment. Military defense. Employment opportunities.
But, why do any of these issues require party delineation? Can’t each be addressed, per its degree of relevance to the citizen? Is this populism? Well, why not?
The branches of government as vehicles would not have to be party dependent, either. Is there really a philosophy governing what has historically been defined as Democratic or Republican, anymore? I can’t even list how many op eds have been written about the evolution of party ideologies, and almost all address a direction which moves away from their original intent. It’s as if each is enduring the pull to divide, like a human cell.
Why not just consider all issues across a scale – left; center; right?
By working merely from such a scale, we would have a clearer perception of needs vs wants, and might more easily dispense with entrenched, outmoded thinking.
I am certain that sociologists would concur, on one point: the class system is the principal offender, here. Those who are defiantly party aligned are usually class conscious. And, this mentality is inherently divisive.
I fully expect to be bombarded by the resistant and the outraged. I’ll be called a simpleton. Have at me! Yet, I firmly believe that this is an idea whose time is coming. Please, be open. We cannot continue as we have been, with partisan gridlock tripping every step we attempt to take and, worse, resorting to suppression of the truth.
Institutionalized thinking is the bane of progress. Most importantly, morality has become subject to the interests of partisan politics – and, that is the foreboding harbinger.
“Government by, and for, the people.”
It’s our national call, in our world.
© 10/11/18 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.