AmericaThinks: Why do the puzzle pieces make a difference?

This is a guest blog by C.A. Butler:

Each of us brings to the table ideology that represents our respective positions on issues; on the way elected officials perform; and on the relevance of democracy and the constitution as it applies to today’s nation. Each of our perspectives can be valuable if seeded in understanding of the systemic underpinnings of our governing bodies, to what extent they influence the outcomes, and what role we play in aiding and abetting the sub-plots.

Where I think we have failed a as Americans is being able to put the puzzle pieces together and therefore see the picture as it actually exists. We are intent on putting the pieces where they don’t belong and forcing them into place.
When we are done, then we wonder why the picture just doesn’t look right.
It’s a complicated picture but we prefer to rely on over simplistic and abashed commentary, purposely proportioned for delivery, so as to influence the outcome.

With everything from our conversations; our voices; our protests; our donations and our votes, we participate by either finding the puzzle pieces, or creating a distorted picture with a “square peg, round hole” mentality.

I realize not every American has the interest, the time, or the where-with-all to
dig beneath the surface of what goes on in government, but from time-to-time on important issues, we owe it to ourselves and our country to attempt to put the puzzle together by finding the hidden or missing pieces to the puzzle.
As a people, our failure to be vigilant; our limited understanding of government; our disinterest; and our propensity toward apathy has allowed those who serve us to manipulate various aspects of government for no other reason but the politics of it all.

The puzzle pieces are everywhere. Take for instance, this example:
Freshman Senator (R) Utah – Mile Lee has recently claimed that federal child labor laws, FEMA, food stamps, the FDA, Medicaid, income assistance for the poor, and even Medicare and Social Security violate the Constitution. Yet Senate Republicans have inexplicably chosen to put Lee on the very Senate committee that has jurisdiction over constitutional questions and the judiciary.”
Placing Mike Lee in charge of overseeing the Constitution is a bit like putting Dick Cheney in charge of hunting and gun safety, yet the Senate GOP was so eager to put this radical tether on the Judiciary Committee that it waived a rule prohibiting both of a state’s senators from serving on Judiciary in order to ensure Lee’s membership. Bizarrely, this move exposes a very real divide between Senate Republicans and the President.
While President Obama’s State of the Union Address specifically highlighted “child labor laws” as an example of the kind of “commonsense safeguards” that all Americans can embrace, the Senate GOP apparently sees no problem with Lee’s view that federal child labor laws cannot constitutionally exist.

It begs the question WHY? Where does the puzzle piece fit. What will be the outcome of this appointment?

Neither party, or those supported by an alternate political group (TEA PARTY), is exempt. However, the radical-right, inclusive of the Tea Party and others not representative of the America’s fiber, seems to be much more intent on using every tactic available to gain a foothold on the direction that America will take.
Business in Washington has long past the stage of “the people’s business”. The discourse has been invaded with self-serving power and incredible treasure chests that have blurred the visions of those who govern.

This tremendous wealth and power of individuals has stamped “cancel” on the power of your vote.
I direct you to this as an example:
Again, ask WHY? Why are Jindel, Barbour, and DeMint involved here? (yet another hidden puzzle piece, that doesn’t and shouldn’t fit).

Ideologies are acceptable, debating the values of your ideologies is also fine.
But what is not fine is creating a perception that you are working for us when in fact you are working ONLY for your politics and are doing so by manipulating reality, manipulating processes, and distorting actuality in order to further ideology that is neither accepted or rubber-stamped by the majority of Americans.

We all need to look behind our ideologies and make an effort to find the puzzle pieces that create our picture before we use that picture as the visual for determining what we do in the voting booth.
Solving the puzzle requires knowing where to find the hidden puzzle pieces.
Let’s hope we’ll continue looking for them.


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6 thoughts on “AmericaThinks: Why do the puzzle pieces make a difference?

  1. Hi Carole,
    Great article…I think you are going to do great here…:-0)We still need you at The White House Group , as well.

    1. Maria,

      I am SHOCKED! What? You no longer need me at the White House Group site for my threaded discussions? Huh! LOL 🙂

  2. Hmmm, I think I get your point that federal politicians should set aside partisanship in favor of working for the common good. Yet, this is not the way the world works. In fact, the ultraliberals actually seek to work for the collective good (not common good) and demonize those who disagree. And they are following the path that the ultraconservatives laid down before them.

    You wrote: “But what is not fine is creating a perception that you are working for us when in fact you are working ONLY for your politics and are doing so by manipulating reality, manipulating processes, and distorting actuality in order to further ideology that is neither accepted or rubber-stamped by the majority of Americans.”

    And isn’t that exactly what both political parties do when they reach out to an ideological group heretofore undiscovered and unaligned with either Democrats or Republicans? Don’t both parties reach out to the ‘extremes’ implying that they can provide what the ‘iddy’ group seeks and then later both parties move to the middle and betray the extremes?

  3. Hi Carole,

    First, welcome to the Blogging Blue community. If your experience is anything like mine, you will find a diversity of opinions expressed without the blatant racism, sexism, and extremist viewpoints we experienced on my threaded discussion at the White House. At least these people think, are intelligent, and are sincere about the future of our Country.

    Your article taps into something very important and I applaud you for this. People’s sense of complaceny when it comes to politics has been reprehensible in year’s past. Perhaps, this was due to individual’s inherent belief that “it won’t make a difference anyway,” or it could be due to precisely what you hint at regarding the “blurred picture” we see when we look closely at the politcal climate. It is important to note that voting is no longer a sufficient level of involvment and, if people truly wish to change the landscape the level of commitment must increase. However, there is a price to pay from a social psychological perspective regarding commitment. Research indicates that individuals committing to a specific course of action, either verbally or in writing, are nearly 67% more likely to follow through on that particular commitment. These studies can be found by googling Robert Cialdini, a professor of social psychology at the Univeristy of Arizona, Tempe. He was a visiting professor during my graduate education and truly has a grip on the persuasion aspect of politics and business. Why I say this, is because if people commit to a specific idealogogy, this becomes problematic, especially when, as you make clear, the leaders of any party place their self-interests above those of the people. I also believe that leaders of movements sincerely believe in what they are advocating to the American public. If this is true, then I think it safe to say that these leaders border on delusional manipulation. Often, I am asked when I teach social psychology to undergraduates what the difference is between influence or pesuasion and manipulation. This is always my answer: When the individual that one is attempting to influence will get nothing out of the deal, then it becomes manipulation. When the influence serves the purpose of the individual one is attempting to persuade it remains influence. You can see this phenomenon work on several various levels in relationships, work, politics, sales, and other various venues.

    Finally, you allude so correctly to the issue of perception and reality. Remember this however, just because one fits the pieces of the puzzle together does not mean they have the wherewithall to actually view the picture in an accurate reality. Philosophers have several schools of thought regarding this but the point I make is this: Peception always becomes reality to the individual perceiving.

    Once again Carole, you provide a great article and I look forward to working with you in the future. Be well!

  4. Dr. B,
    I had a dream last night where I was walking around all confused and thinking OMG , Did I say or forget to say something important ? I then remembered , I forgot to tell Dr. B , how much we love him and need him at The White House ! So I woke up this morning thinking I would tell you that before you noticed it and you noticed it before I was able to write it.Please forgive me…We Love you Dr. B and will always look forward to your writing at The White House…..:-)

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