WISHFUL THINKING !

August 25, 2020

(Image credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/c2bfJH1KqMB7kEWw9)

More than ever, (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/06/14/what-does-a-government-do-for-us-%f0%9f%a4%94/ & https://dinshawavari.com/2020/03/26/where-are-we-heading/), I despair as to where the world is heading …

… Self destruction – whether economic, nuclear, physical !

… Conflict & strife being at one of the highest points that I can remember in my conscious life.

It basically comes down to “governments” and national policies-

Why are nations encouraging conflict with other nations?

               Shouldn’t they be looking at the welfare of their own citizens FIRST!?

Why are nations increasing arms spend?

               Shouldn’t they be spending on education & health of their own citizens instead?

What is a “government’s” purpose to come to power?

               Is it not to enhance the poor and downtrodden out of poverty instead?

How does a country’s attempt for currency & world domination/hegemony help the citizens of that nation?

               Doesn’t it instead dilute the energies & efficiencies of the government from internal enhancement?

In today’s era, how does land acquisition through war & conquest help a nation prosper?

               Doesn’t it instead divert resources from otherwise more critical LIFE purposes?

(Image credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/6RvBqpCHpaM6NmcU9)

The words in the United Nations’ charter is the ONLY KPI on which governments should be judged & held responsible for by its citizens –

“…committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights

– and not on how strong a country’s currency is or how many wars it is fighting or how influential it is in world affairs. 

Let’s end this diatribe with a quote from Ronald Reagan’s Acceptance Speech at the Republican National Convention on July 17, 1980 [please replace “Americans” with “citizens”] …

…millions of [Americans] find themselves out of work. Millions more have never even had a fair chance to learn new skills, hold a decent job, or secure for themselves and their families a share in the prosperity of this nation.  It is time to put [Americans] back to work, to make our cities and towns resound with the confident voices of men and women of all races, nationalities and faiths bringing home to their families a decent paycheck they can cash for honest money. For those without skills, we’ll find a way to help them get skills. For those without job opportunities, we’ll stimulate new opportunities, particularly in the inner cities where they live…

               …This is what worlds’ governments should SOLELY strive towards…FULL STOP!

“Reason should frame a good politician’s goal to persuade”

July 9, 2020

(photo credit- shutterstock.com)

On a recent online course, I was made to read one of the most POWERFUL essays (by Amy Gutmann) “The Lure & Dangers of Extremist Rhetoric”, a topic so so prevalent worldwide.

The speech is so profound that it actually made me sit up and take notice of my very own actions and reactions in arguments; and while these principals apply in politics, they are prevalent in family, work and society in general!

Excerpts-

Going as far back as Aristotle, he maintained that –

The proper task of rhetoric is to drive home the logic, the truth and the evidence of an argument.

Reason should frame a good politician’s goal to persuade.

The opposite of a sound democratic argument is demagogy: manipulation and deception in order to divide, demean, deceive and conquer [citizens].

Extremist rhetoric blatantly disregards and devalues truth-seeking understandings upon which citizens [] may make informed judgments.

It also undermines a basic value of representative politics- When politicians use extreme rhetoric to mobilize their base [] they strip the moderate middle of a voice in governance (excludes all those who might join a more moderate [] political coalition)

(photo credit- magoosh.com)

By its very nature, extremist rhetoric excludes from consideration important public values-

  • Liberty
  • Consideration of equally competing values
  • Constructive conversations that improve decision making
  • Denigrates & degrades those who differ
  • Blocks constructive examination of rhetor’s own values and beliefs

When we argue about controversial issues, we should defend our views vigorously while expressing mutual respect for our adversaries [] and competing viewpoints.

We can do this by not preemptively rejecting everything for which our political adversaries stand.

It makes room for moral compromise over reasonable differences.

So, what’s the SOLUTION…               EDUCATION!

(Which reminds me back of an earlier opinion “https://dinshawavari.com/2019/03/15/common-sense-has-left-the-building/”)

Schools, colleges and universities are the natural ARMIES at the forefront to teach our citizens the art of rhetoric, in the words of Amy Guttman –

In searching for antidotes to extremism, there is therefore no substitute for a better democratic education in robust, reasoned, and respectful political controversy and debate. We need to teach students how to engage with one another over controversial issues. Students must first learn how to recognize demagogic rhetoric and then how to counter it, both individually and institutionally.

Well-designed democratic institutions can dramatically reduce the toxic effects of extremist rhetoric. We need to support institutional structures whose incentives encourage respectful controversy. Well-structured debates and factcheck blogs can expose extremist and extreme rhetoric that is deceptive and subversive of the democratic pursuit of the public interest.

This is the start of ‘War Against Extremist Rhetoric’!

Gotta be … Grateful!

July 23, 2019

Gotta Be Grateful.png

This Instagram post from @house.of.leaders got me thinking…

There is a growing disparity I see in our daily lives between the those of us who “have” and the rest of our society.  There is a gulf which grows as the years progress.

Information technology, medical technology, smart phones, mortality rates and so much more are, without doubt, getting better – yet I believe the standards of life, in general, are getting worse for the vast majority of the world!  As I type this on my laptop in the comfort of my chilled room, @house.of.leaders’ quote glares at me in my face, as I realize 70% of the rest of our Country is withering away in the heat, families trying to get their children a minimal education, so that they can at least read & write, let alone own or use a laptop.

We have a roof over our heads; we wear clean clothes and shoes; have access to daily food, electricity, water, education, transport, medicines, justice … all of which we take for granted.  I just have to look out of our car’s window daily to actually see what the rest of our society CANNOT take for granted!

We all have our problems- whether health, mental, physical, work, family.  We shouldn’t complain when things don’t always work out for us; because the majority of the world’s population don’t even get a choice of how they can live … they just do!

(Ending Note- coincidentally, a complimentary Tweet by @sudheenkulkarni identifies this deficiency of “compassion” – had both our countries’ governments practiced compassion, I think 50% of these social problems would not exist!)

Gotta Be Grateful - Sudheendra Kulkarni Tweet.png

 

WHO wants to be a … POLITICIAN !?

February 8, 2019

I think you, not only, need to have some “balls” (pardon my French please!) but you can’t get emotional.

Let’s see-

Definitely, you should be able to take & accept criticism.  You would need to accept changes to your “grandiose” ideas and possibly “idealistic” thinking, which may have brought you into this field in the first place.

You need to have a Rhino’s “hide”!  We mortals can’t be public representatives.

Your family life is absolutely exposed!  Your every action, words (and thoughts!) are at the mercy of the public – you can’t hide behind “having a private life”!  Oh no, sireee bob!

You should be able to manage people & meetings (boy, will you have plenty of those!) and be willing to accept conflicting viewpoints & opinions (naturally, the buck stops with you so you have to make the final call).

You will be in 24/7 crisis mode !

You should be able to hold your own in the face of the media, the public, your own colleagues – let alone the opposition.

What other qualities does one need to be a public representative?

I could never be a politician or a public representative… I’m too emotional.  Could you???

Blog Image who wants to be a politician