This is my first article for Mano—though I wrote plenty for its earlier iteration—and as the political editor for this publication, let me make this perfectly clear:
I don’t write about politics.
No, we will not be discussing the arcane mechanizations of the U.S. Senate, or how aides line up votes for obscure bills, or the frontrunners for Wyoming’s third congressional district (in fact, Wyoming doesn’t even have a third congressional district—that’s how irrelevant this info is to Mano).
So I don’t write about politics, at least not in the conventional sense.
I write about psychology.
You see, politics is interesting to me only to the extent that it reveals something about the human condition.
For example, why do 60% of Republicans believe the blatant lie that Biden stole the presidential election through widespread voter fraud? For that matter, why do half of Republicans think the siege of the U.S. Capitol was “largely a non-violent protest or the handiwork of left-wing activists”?
I mean, what goes through a person’s mind to justify obvious gaslighting and homicidal violence, and twist both into patriotic virtues? Clearly, this is not a political question.
Perhaps we could also discuss why so many struggling Americans—working ungodly hours for little pay—continue to insist that the U.S.A. is the greatest country in the world, despite the fact that we rank last “among industrialized countries relative to employee benefits like healthcare, paid leave, vacation days, unemployment, and retirement.” To put it bluntly, “Americans have it worse than all other developed nations when it comes to benefits for workers,” and yet many of our most destitute citizens enthusiastically support oligarchs. The cognitive dissonance is stunning.
While we’re at it, what Freudian, Jungian, or Skinnerian catalyst has convinced so many Americans that universal healthcare is a totalitarian plot to oppress them? After all, the United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t provide universal healthcare to its citizens, with the result that it “spends more on healthcare than other high-income countries relative to the size of its economy.” Yet our expensive, burdensome, inefficient healthcare system has led us to “the highest number of hospitalizations from preventable causes and the highest rate of avoidable deaths relative to other wealthy nations.”
To accept this calamity is disturbing enough, but millions of us actively celebrate it. Multiple therapy sessions would be required to figure out why.
Now, perhaps you are one of those fabled centrists who doesn’t like to discuss such thorny issues, or you may even believe that you are above the controversies and conflicts that these complex subjects provoke.
Well, as many commentators have pointed out, the phrase “I’m not political” is just a faux-principled way of saying, “My life is so privileged that I don’t care about anyone else.” Indeed, every aspect of modern American life is political to some point, and most of the time, you don’t have to look very deeply to spot it. So if you’re actively avoiding politics, well, it most likely means that you know, on some level, that you’re avoiding facts, squashing ideas, and repressing thoughts that would prove upsetting to your psyche.
My hope is that if you’re one of those “nonpolitical” people, you will soon realize that scrambling up a wall of denial doesn’t serve you well. In fact, it can lead to some extraordinarily bad life decisions.
So join us in discussing politics, and arguing about solutions, and offering opinions, and taking a stand.
And realize that when we talk about politics—at least at Mano—we are also talking about psychology and sociology and culture and basic decency. We are talking about humanity.
Thanks for joining the conversation.
Featured image: “Democratic Donkey & Republican Elephant – Caricatures”by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY 2.0