I see a lot of negativism on political blogs, along with anger, abuse, despair, unrealistic ambitions based on narrow ideologies. Many people with an interest in politics seem to see a glass seven eights empty, and the one eight of water they can see is dirty.
Last century polarity politics, where one side must defeat the other, is self defeating.
Progress is made with a positive approach. I’ll do more to promote positive politics.
Colin James has written his final ODT colum for 2012 – Looking on the bright side into 2013 (not yet online). He also looks at the dark tunnel of the political world.
The can’t-be-done crowd treats issues as problems. Public service policy people and politicians think this way because they then feel needed to fix them. Treating issues as options and opportunities — the can-be-done line — invites aspiration and energy.
Here’s a parallel: pitying victims risks locking them in victimhood; backing them as survivors makes more of their futures.
The victim mentality has wormed into our thinking about our country and prospects. We see what’s wrong or missing more than what’s on offer.
In the political blogosphere the right and the left seem to think not enough is done of what they want and too much of what they don’t want is done.
Both hard right and hard left think government will ruin the country (or is currently ruining it) unless their far more extreme ideas are implemented.
I don’t agree with that, I think our country is doing ok – but it could do better. And the way to do better is to have a more positive view, and to look at more positive ways of adrerssing things and doing things.
This means overcoming the political tunnel vision that seems to confine and blind too many in politics.
Sure, there are negatives that need addressing, there is crap that needs confronting, there are problems with no easy or quick solutions.
But we need a more positive political approach.
And that can happen from both the top – with strong positive leadership – and it can be pushed and promoted from the grass roots. Positive people need to promote themselves and their ideas more. If enough people see the benefits this can overwhelm much of the negativity.
And Colin James looks to the bright side, the light beyond the politicfal tunnel vision.
Here’s a New Year resolution for 2013: look on the bright side every now and then (though as a realist, not Pollyanna). There is a bit to see there.
The New Zealand habit is to look on the gloomy side and to see something small, smug and stifling. Half a million ex-New Zealanders have shaken that habit for life in Australia.
Yet realistic bright-side lookers can do things here faster and more freely than in most other places. That’s why there are many entrepreneurs here, a few of them world leaders.
…we have some big pluses.
We have abundant water, food-catching and growing capacity and energy in a world short of water and food and unevenly endowed with energy. We have lots of space. We are distant from mayhem. (Boat people don’t bother us.)
We have very low corruption, one the most stable democracies, generally good institutions and the rule of law. We have a voice in world affairs much louder than our size warrants. We have by world standards a good education system.
We are, many of us, entrepreneurs in the broad sense: inventive (think Weta Digital, the top firm in the world for digital film imaging) and creative (Gareth Farr’s “Mad Little Machine” was my 2012 standout).
We are generally peaceable: we made the extraordinary journey from a monoculture to a bicultural society without mayhem.
We have a great brand, best said as fresh/safe/natural.
Of course, there are negatives, not least that we don’t have a “spike” city in which highly creative people congregate in numbers and drive innovation and economic and artistic success. Our elites scarper abroad. Our supply lines are long and tenuous. Our brand is fraying. We are often stiflingly small-minded.
But the positives far outweigh the negatives. To many foreigners New Zealand is highly desirable, stacked with opportunity and good living.
To me New Zealand is highly desirable, stacked with opportunity and good living.
To live better, to make the most of opportunities, we need to desire better.
One way to do this is to shake off the last century petty politics and promote a more inclusive, tolerant, dynamic positivism.
Polarity politics, where one side must defeat the other, is self defeating. Out with the ‘woe is me’ wowsers.
In 2013 I will address negatives that I see. But I’ll do as much as I can to promote positive politics. Our cup is seven eights full of possibilities.