The politics of public opinion, and censorship.

Don't worry these labels help us make sense of you
Don’t worry these labels help us make sense of you

You have the right to be classified. And if you don’t choose a classification, one will be provided.

Politics according to Wikipedia, which I love without excuse (wikipedia, not politics), “… is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (a usually hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities.”

The landscape of ‘traditional’ politics is often defined by where people stand on different issues. These positions define the groups/communities/parties etc – hence liberals, conservatives, leftists etc. Once these groups are defined, they begin to solidify and refine their identity, often resulting in an ‘us’ and ‘them’ situation. In its most evolved state, persons within these groups find it unthinkable for persons to exist across the borders of group identities. Meaning you should never find yourself on the ‘them’ side opinion on any issue and then the ‘us’ side opinion on any other issue. And so, you are either down with the revolution or you are not.

I’ve noticed that when broad reaching issues pop up in the general public, there is a certain political evolution process that follows. Issues that are not necessarily political to begin with – such as basic human rights issues for instance. The following is my mind trying to put order to the process.

1. The issue interests a lot of people, there is a buzz in the public and the issue is on everyone’s radar.

2. There is some blatant thing about the issue that everyone can agree on, and so there is a solidarity in response.

3. We start to realize that the landscape is not so simple and homogeneous and there are differences within the response. However, movements prefer simplicity and the general public is too massive to process complexity on a large scale.

4. So the narratives are developed; the for arguments and the against arguments. The characters are sketched; the authority, the victims, the revolutionaries, the pacifists, the submissive etc. And for the sake of simplicity and a clear sense of purpose groups are formed and groups understand the outside world by grouping those who don’t fit in their group into other groups.

Actors perform a scene from William Shakespeare's Hamlet for members of the media during a photo call to present Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, London, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Four centuries after his death, William Shakespeare is probably Britain's best-known export, his words and characters famous around the world. Shakespeare's Globe theater is setting out to test the Bard's maxim that "all the world's a stage" by taking "Hamlet" to every country on Earth world, more than 200 in all. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
On-Guard!! …  and make it dramatic please

5. Whatever you say can be used against you… and you will not exist across the boundaries of group identity. Not in the eyes of the general public in any case; and beauty is as they say in the eyes of the beholder. Or as Emenem put it. I am whatever you say I am.

6. Censorship is the result – People don’t discuss religion, race, sexuality, politics etc. Now we add to that list riots and police shootings. And this is not just for wanting not to be misunderstood, but for wanting to remain employed, or friends, or safe. To have an individual opinion is a dangerous thing.

Oh how nice it would be for it to be ok to be an individual with varying opinions on varying issues.

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One comment

  1. I could not agree with you more Inilek! This is brilliantly eloquent and precise – in my opinion. Here in the UK, the recent general election seems only to have reinforced people’s boundaries, prejudices and their motivation to simply ‘oppose’.

    Like

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