Black and White thinking: The recipe for Ineffective and Mediocre Presidential Leadership

There are certain people whose names rise to our lips when we think of great presidential leadership.  Presidents these days fail in comparison because the nature of elections continues to be dependent on money, therefore creating regurgitated rhetoric and stagnation. Because it takes money to be heard, the field of candidates is limited. We have two parties made up of people who either are wealthy or who are willing to sideline their own unique ideas to win the endorsements and funding of one of the two major parties. This silences the participation of alternative points of view that could come from alternative party representation and perspective.

It is more than apparent that in order to secure longevity within the political process, elected officials learn to “play the game” and in doing so become part of the dysfunction.

Our two party system exists to balance the polar reality of one another. Together their opposing viewpoints create a kind of dysfunctional homeostasis. Adapted to the political social construct in America, and viewed as a system of balanced interaction, needed so that as a culture we do not descend into chaos, it creates a balance so that once one “position” is taken, the other “position” is created as an equal and opposite response. . Stated through Sir Isaac Newton’s third Law of Motion “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” it describes the stalemate that occurs between the two competing and polar opposite stances taken by our political parties.  The American public is exposed to just the two extremes and are therefore set up to be dissatisfied by their representation and the political process in general.

Think of the concept like a pendulum. When a pendulum swings it starts in one position but needs to swing to the polar opposite side to equalize the force of the swing. That action creates homeostasis by allowing the pendulum to continue to move between the two extreme positions.   Focusing on the two polar extremes within the pendulums track of movement represents splitting, a term used in psychology to express the acceptance of polar realities without an appreciation of the nuances that exist between.

Within the Republican party we can see this black and white thinking in the “flip flopping” undertaken by candidates and elected officials. The rapid vacillation between opposing ideas come from a limited perspective and is born of a system with few choices and little exercise in the open sharing of ideas. Reactions are commonplace because emotions run high and no thinking is required.

Our elected officials have been affected by life events that can make them more reactive than interactive to the situations around them . Without the need to think and keep the mind active in debates and open discussions, alternate points of view can trigger the need to “bully” the other side into submission. Those who choose to stand up to these tactics must do so carefully or they  can find themselves without a party affiliation.

In contrast, backed by an intact party, elected officials get to speak their minds and gain the leverage so needed to move legislation. The good news is that the tactics being taken by the Republican party exposes their inability to effectively govern. The problem is that we as a country continue rehashing the same issues over and over, losing momentum and the true ingenuity needed to remedy our current problems. Democrats are stuck in the position of responding to the obstacles created by their polar reality, the Republican party. Nothing gets done and stagnation remains intact.