Political Synergy: What's Best for the Individual and the Community
In Government and the Business
The central mission of the Drs. Quirk Philosophy is to facilitate a symbiotic relationship between the individual and the community where the community supports the individual in becoming their best and the individual shapes the community to become its best. Achieving this goal is a complex balancing of complementary forces. The ultimate manifestation of this mission is Political Synergy.
America is in the midst of a very damaging political polarization, which neither serves the optimal needs of the individual nor the community. The result of this polarization is the a destruction of the greatest country in the history of mankind.
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Political Synergy…Creating Functional Government and Businesses
1. Synergy of Democratic and Republican Principles...The Yin and Yang of American Government
2. Conflict and Compromise vs. Collaboration and Synergy
3. Healing the Dysfunctional Family of American Government...
All Organizations Need Collaborative Moms and Dads
4. Political Dogma vs. Political Science…My Dogma was Run over by my Karma
5. The “Inconvenient” and “Politically Incorrect” Truth...Each Party's Sacred Cows Makes them Blind to Functional Truth
6. Why Safety and Affluence Since WWII have Created Political Polarization
7. Functional Diversity…Carefully Balanced Influences for Optimal Solutions
8. Governing to get the Best for Everyone and from Everyone
9. Sensitivity and Resiliency…Communication Skills for Political Synergy
10. The Functional Purpose of Two Genders for the Survival and Development of Communities
11. Marital Political Synergy…The Value of “Opposites Attract”
12. “Moral Goodness” is Defined by What Makes the Individual and Community Most Functional, Now and in the Future
13. The More Extreme Your Beliefs, the More Certain You Become of Your Solutions,
and the More Likely You are to be Part of the Problem
14. Communities' Tendency to Solve Imbalance with Imbalance
15. Equal Opportunity is Critical to Saving America…The Only Criteria to Win a Job or Opportunity must be Clear Evidence that the Individual Hired Will Perform Better than any other Candidates
16. The Progressive and Ongoing Solution to Old White Police and Young Males of Color…Irish American History Repeats Itself 150 Years Later
17. The Danger and Valid Necessity of “Profiling”
18. Believe You Can, Believe You Can’t, Either Way You’re Right (Henry Ford)
19. For the Committed, Adversity Doesn’t Threaten Success, It Ensures it...
Lack of Adversity Threatens Achievement and Maintenance of Success
20. Our Greatest Strengths and Our Greatest Weaknesses are Often Born of Our Greatest Wounds
21. Challenges Create Wounds and Strengths…Individual and Community Evolution Requires Healing Wounds and Refining Strengths
22. Baby Boomers’ and Millenials’, Same Sociopolitical Agenda...All Honorable, and Some Naïve’
23. The Death of Honorable, Successful and Flawed Community Non-Profits in the Name of Honorable Unsuccessful Community Nonprofits
24. The Importance of STEM and Necessity of STEAM Education…Science is to Thought and Systematic Productivity and Progress, What Art is to Emotion, Creativity, and Innovation
25. It’s Hard to Remember You Came in to Drain the Swamp when You’re up to Your Ass in Alligators…Solutions Must Triage the Immediate Crisis, but also Resolve the Underlying Cause
26. Youth Sports: Everyone Gets a Trophy vs. Club Sports Semi-Professional Time and Achievement…
What’s the Effect on Human Development
27. Legalizing Marijuana?...Cut Law Enforcement Cost and Increase Tax Revenue or Sabotage America's Functionality
(The following article is an introduction to the concept of Political Synergy)
Synergy of Democratic and Republican Principles…
The Yin and Yang of American Government
The Evolution of National Dysfunction:
Driven by our fundamental needs of mind, body and spirit, human beings strive to create functional communities that simultaneously serve the needs of the individual and the community. What drives communities to work closely together to be most functional is situational or external threat to their safety and quality of life. Over the course of American history, we have developed two systems designed to serve the needs of the individual and the community. When practiced respectfully and collaboratively, these systems are wonderfully complementary. This complementarity allows a problem to be fully understood and a solution generated that is much better than either perspective would have generated alone. This is Political Synergy. However, when each group perceives that the problems are caused by the other, then the differences are seen as irreconcilable. At this point, the complementary systems polarize into antagonistic sides and America can be seriously harmed.
In the simplest terms, each side can be broken down into two sets of foundational principles, one set of economic principles and one set of social principles. These sets of principals may be referred to as conceptual frameworks, models or philosophies intended to reflect how a community should function for the wellbeing of the individual and the community. These are both legitimate models for how humans work best in communities. However, when practiced with a strong bias toward one philosophy or the other, government does not respect the complexities of how human group psychology actually works in real life. These models are best seen as two halves of a whole, the Yin and Yang of human group functioning. Regarding any political issue that presents itself, there is an optimum integration of these two philosophies, which is Political Synergy.
The two sets of foundational principles of the first system are:
(Economic) Government promotes inclusion and mutual support of all, sharing resources and supporting lower socioeconomic members of the community to better themselves and their circumstances.
(Social) Accept differences among members, respecting individuals’ rights to be themselves and believing that differences are a source of resiliency and creativity in the community.
In America, we call this being a “Democrat.”
The two sets of foundational principles for the second system are:
(Economic) Limit reliance on government and create a system which rewards and protects personal initiative, productivity, and self-protection, which will then provide opportunities for others in the community, as well as inspire other community members to excel.
(Social) Provide and enforce higher levels of community belonging and protection for those who practice established principles of conduct, which are believed to create the highest functionality of individuals and the community. Needs of lower socioeconomic members addressed through private sector and nonprofits, with an emphasis on developing skills for self-support and compliance with rules of the community.
In America, we call this being a “Republican.”
The Fundamental Problem:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”- Jesus Christ/Abraham Lincoln
Since WWII, America as a society has enjoyed affluence and a quality of life much greater and safer than has ever existed in the history of mankind. The result of this quality of life is that these two systems have become caricatures of themselves. So, instead of having a population which politically lies on a bell curve, our society creates a bi-modal distribution (Standard and bi-modal bell curve graphs here).
In a functional system, as existed in an earlier time in America, the distribution of citizens along the continuum from liberal to conservative produced a classic bell curve. This means that the majority of citizens were in the middle ground and therefore synergy solutions were much more likely. However, American citizens have become progressively more extreme in their positions and therefore almost all issues become a challenge for mutual aggression, rather than invitations for collaborative problem solving.
Perception Creates Our Reality:
Born of our own personal life philosophy, our worldly environment and our inherent need to belong, most human beings choose a “political philosophy” to which to declare their loyalty. Then they progressively bond their personal identity and philosophy with their political party’s philosophy and practices and identify with that party. Social psychology teaches us that a fundamental principle of group identity and cohesion is that groups define themselves in terms of how their members are like each other and how they are different from and better than other groups. The resulting perception is that whatever is wrong in America is caused by the other group and we become defensive of our party’s actions and leaders, even when they are unbalanced and damaging. Additionally, the bi-partisan party positions are first seen in terms of “right vs. wrong” and eventually escalate to the point of being seen as “good vs. bad.”
Along with minimizing and justifying mistakes that are made by our party, party devotees tend to focus on the most extreme positions and actions of the opposing party as representing the entire position of the opposing party. Once an individual has identified with a particular party and become a devotee of that philosophy, they are unable to perceive situations in a way which allows them to see another perspective or find balance on issues.
As the intensification of identification with one party and opposition to the other party progresses, emotion becomes the primary driver of thought and action and “fight or flight” processes come into play. The perception builds that the opposing party is causing damage and is the enemy of America’s future and that one’s own party needs to escalate their position to offset the harm done by the opposing party. This process becomes an escalation of damage, each party reacting with ever more extreme and more damaging counter reactions to the other.
Recognizing and Admitting the Problem:
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Plato 428-348 B.C.
Translation: “We only change and grow to be our best when it’s too painful to remain the way we are.” Dr. Patrick Quirk & Dr. Margaret Bibb Quirk
Everyone has heard that an alcoholic has to “hit bottom” before he or she gets sober. Sadly, this principle seems to apply to almost all individual and group psychological behavior. The question always is “how far down does the bottom have to be, before we say no more and begin to challenge our existing philosophies?”
Due to America’s generations of affluence, power and safety, it is hard to fully appreciate that we are not immune to the progressive dark decline and decay that every other culture in the history of mankind has experienced. This may be part of why we stay stuck in the familiar paradigm that the solution to our national problems is to take an ever more extreme position in opposition to the enemy party. Therefore, we aren’t pushed to the kind of dramatic awakening and paradigm shift that we know is necessary, namely realizing that the two parties are the yin and yang of functional government and the highest level of truth.
Nothing Changes Until Something Changes:
First America has to recognize that it is not Republicans or Democrats who are destroying America. Rather, it is the escalating bi-partisan and unethical politics that are destroying a country that has been the greatest country in the history of the world, but is progressively losing that extraordinary status.
Second, we need to recognize that these two political parties are two halves of a system, the integrated balance of which is the answer to America’s frightening social and economic deterioration. To find the answers to the complex questions of how to make our country its best, we must find the synergy of two seemingly opposing forces in each issue we consider. We must recognize that our political party bias is perspective and not truth. Even if we can’t now personally see the validity that it is the balancing these two philosophies that will save us, we need to know that it is so and strive to understand. We need to then “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” (Stephen Covey)
Third, we need to never give up on this aspiration to create an ethical, respectful and collaborative effort to save America. This will be the toughest battle America has ever fought. America’s situation brings to mind two similar sounding famous quotes, which reflect what was once the greatest threat to America’s future and what is now the greatest threat to America’s future: The first quote captures how America conceptualized the very real external threats to its future during the War of 1812. After defeating the British Fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry, Commander of the American Fleet, dispatched one of the most famous messages in military history: “We have met the enemy and he is ours.” In much more recent times, the satirical cartoonist Walt Kelly (author of Pogo) captured what is now the most serious threat to America’s future: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”