Political differences as explained to a 7-yr old
In this latest blog entry I’m keeping it simple. “Explain it to me like a six year old,” they say. So I did. Actually, I aimed a little higher, and tried explaining our political differences like a seven year old.
I love spending time with my 7-year old granddaughter, but sometimes she asks some of the most adult questions. The other day, out of nowhere, she drops me an earful. “Aunt Zoe and Daddy don’t like each other, do they?”
“Well,” I stumbled to explain, “They just can’t see eye to eye on political stuff.”
“Political stuff?” she continued. “You mean like Aunt Zoe going to gay rallies and Daddy going to gun shows?”
Like a deer froze in the headlights, I stood there bewildered on how to reply.
My granddaughter went right on with her pointed investigation. “Why can’t Aunt Zoe be more like us?”
IN OTHER WORDS, her aunt seems stuck in her individual expression. To her daddy, it seemed being different from traditional norms was a simple matter of individual choice.
“Is that why Aunt Zoe feel she don’t fit in around here?” Exactly.
IN OTHER WORDS, as a woman only capable of loving another woman, she experiences some painful social exclusion around here. By contrast, her dad never gets excluded from any of his groups, where he loyally contributes to their social cohesion.
“Daddy wants to keep things the way they’ve been. Aunt Zoe wants to change things up.” Yep.
IN OTHER WORDS, her Aunt Zoe can’t change her individual expression to fit traditional expectations. So she seeks to change the rules for social inclusion so she and others like her can enjoy the benefits of society.
Her aunt’s unshakeable individual expression is her psychosocial base. Her pursuit of political change for social inclusion is her psychosocial away.
Her base anchors her in beneficially lived fact. Her away stretches into untested ideologies of collectivism, crashing down on what her Daddy needs.
“But Daddy can’t change his ways overnight. So they fight ‘cause neither can change.” Wow, what a whiz kid.
IN OTHER WORDS, her daddy feels pressured to change his longstanding norms of locally centered social cohesion. So he champions individual rights to preserve his individual choice to remain in his tight-knit groups.
Her daddy’s unassailable social cohesion is his psychosocial base. His pursuit of political change for individual choice is his psychosocial away.
His base grounds him in beneficially lived fact. His away stretches into contested ideologies of individualism, which undercuts his sister-in-law’s needs.
“Sounds like they need different stuff. And wouldn’t have to fight if they could both get it without hurting each other.” Ah, the wisdom of a child.
IN OTHER WORDS, we argue politics over false expectations. We cannot change what others need by persuading them of our opinions. It’s not about what we need of them until we respect what they need of us.
Sometimes it takes a wise grandparent to see these things more clearly. Sometimes it takes the nimble views of a child to spur us all to relate better to each other.
Now did I really explain all this to my 7-year old granddaughter? Of course not, I told her to go ask her mother.
But I did thank my granddaughter for giving me some real good questions to ponder. Then we went out to share something really important: ice cream.
BIONOTE: Steph created an eCourse to take the "bite" out of political polarization. Hope this post helps to clear away some of the fog. Deeper clarity waits just around the corner, for when you complete that eCourse.
Disclosure: The above is a totally fictional account. And this stock image is not my actual granddaughter. But I am a grandparent to a lovely array of granddaughters and grandsons, whose privacy I cherish.