“Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little, by which Wall Street’s greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don’t. I believe in a society where all people do well, not just a handful of billionaires.”
This is why I hate politics.
While watching the Democratic Debate this past Tuesday—a justifiable form of midterm procrastination—I listened to candidates blasting and blaming Republicans on stage with enraged quotes like the Bernie Sanders one above. Likewise, I’m pretty sure 23 million people tuned in weeks earlier just to watch He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named do the exact same to Democrats…and fellow Republicans.
A Game of Good And Evil
Political parties act like a game: two players, two sides. There’s your side and theirs. It’s as black and white as the pieces on a chessboard. We elevate people on pedestals to become our “saviors.” Yes, I hope for change we can believe in. Yes, I want America to be great again! And in the process, we dehumanize others into caricatures.
Do you want to really dive into the issues? (Skip this paragraph if you don’t.) Large swaths of unemployment are coming from a structural shift in the economy due to globalization, robotics, and the Internet making markets more efficient. More people are finding themselves in need of reskilling. However, the education system is horribly inefficient. Can you blame that on the antiquated methods of teaching that do not maximize the skills needed for the 21st century? Yes. Can you blame it on entire communities being so socioeconomically desolated that any educational system improvement completely ignores the actual root cause of these problems to begin with? Yes.
Do you think those complex ideas can be correctly conveyed in a Twitter generation? No.
So yes, let’s blame Wall Street fat cats trying to steal everyone’s money, because my banker classmates are soulless, evil people devoid of all morality. As long as they keep doing my statistics group projects…
I Love Arguing, And I Win Every Time
People say to “ avoid” politics and religion. I find that a load of bullshit. Those statements imply that once you start a discussion, you ignite passions that eventually color biases. In business, I understand the long term risks associated with bringing up politics to co-workers and clients. In the conservative corporate world, it’s an unfortunate reality.
However, should people only talk about politics when they’re in a political club or with like-minded friends at a bar? Is that not the approach that breeds this adversarial mentality? Honestly, I don’t even have a right to be mad about any issue, because I can’t speak to it in the proper depth to properly understand it.
So yes, I argue with people all the time, and I win every argument. That’s because, in every argument I learn something new. To me, that’s a win.
Here’s a secret: there aren’t two sides to an argument. There are as many sides as there are people, as we each look at an issue through the lens of our own personal experiences. The more you learn, the more you understand.
The Great Gamble
In this presidential election, I hope more people engage in political discussion across the table to understand all sides. Others might provide a different approach than yours, but to completely fear and avoid conflict implicitly acknowledges and empowers it.
I hope more politicians and voters eventually understand the many (50?) shades of gray across any intricate political issue. The great gamble is that we select someone who genuinely cares about the people. And honestly, from that perspective, I think the deck is loaded (on both sides) in our favor. But what do I know? I’m just a greedy MBA.
We’re MBAs for a reason. The private sector provides immense opportunity for tangible, meritocratic advancement and impact. Regardless of whatever regulatory rules you want to stick in my face, I’m comfortable with the rules of this game. It’s black and red, not black and white. It’s profit and loss, not good and evil. It’s abstract and uncertain, but as a casino capitalist, I’m ready to make that gamble because of the classmates on my side.
Let’s roll the dice.