Human relations, communities, societies, and nations are far too complex for a foolproof solution. Yet, the way people go about their politics, you would think that the perfect solution is out there that would solve everything for everyone, if only we would put it into action.
This leads to so many of the discourse problems we have. People are looking for answers, but their expectations on just how effective those answers will be needs some serious adjusting.
There is not a problem on earth with a corresponding solution that doesn’t cause more or different problems somewhere else.
You don’t really have to look much further than the way so many countries have handled COVID.
Most countries have implemented some form of lockdowns, with varying levels of mask mandates, staying indoors, closing various businesses, and enforcing social distancing. Those more prone to police states have pursued these solutions more aggressively than others. Let’s just say these work (because there are many who insist they do).
What does working mean? Does it mean COVID death and case rates fall? It should. So what if it did? What else would it mean?
It would mean that isolated people are prone to increasing alcohol and drug usage, our children are less socialized, loneliness and anxiety go up, undiagnosed or untreated illnesses take more lives, and the list goes on. There’s no way to enact drastic measures designed to solve COVID without causing so many more problems. Then it’s a matter of which are worse.
If you deregulate, you unleash economic activity, but also cut corners on the precautions many insist are there to protect our communities.
If you lower taxes, people are more likely to invest or spend their money, but it also can hurt our ability to pay our national debt.
If you raise CAFE standards for auto emission, you make cars more fuel efficient, but also much less safer.
The list goes on. Everything is a trade off, but it seems like expectation management has gotten worse. People here these simplistic solutions and assume it’ll just fix the problem they’ve identified. Unfortunately, we’re getting worse at thinking beyond the one problem.
Once we get our expectations in order and realize that there’s more commonality in the problems we’re all trying to solve, we may be able to start a move geared more toward what we have in common than our differences.