Black and white thinking is a shortcut to grabbing power that leads to corruption. The inability to govern is due to a lack of subtlety.
I have been thinking a lot recently about the current state of politics. North Korea, agendas of obstruction, propaganda and isolationist world views all permeate TV and social media. So I have always wanted to get to the root of these issues but haven't gotten much further than one logic branch down and no closer to a connection between them. Articles have been written about evidence of the differences between thought processes of conservatives and progressives and have made connections but I think there is still one salient thread missing.
But then I started finding bread crumbs where the significance of the rigidity of the positions and messages bubbled to the surface. It is almost literally a light switch on/off with no in between. Black and white such that if you are black when you should be white, you are weak and if you are white when you should be white then you are strong.
But that isn't the whole picture yet either. Because the level of black and white also involves inclusion and exclusion in as trivial as social circles and as extreme as recognition as a human being. Now propaganda and collusion of message change this from a world view to a predatory power grab. In history, you used to have to actually be oppressed with your back against the wall in order to play the defiant revolutionary that inspires people to your cause. But that has changed such that your ability to regurgitate a simple slogan consistently is the path to revolution. And there are other predatory tactics at play here: justification based on whether you will get away with it or whether you can afford the consequences and manipulating an environment where the consequences effect somewhere else or are delayed beyond the attention span of the audience.
A Deeper Look
The common talking point is the party of “No” has failed at governing and is even incapable of governing. The thought is this is a slight against one party or their leadership. But that is a mistake and it goes deeper than that. The reason they cannot govern and must “cheat” to win is because of the black and white world view. After all of this inundation of Trump's tweets, it has dawned on me that in positions of governing, everything positive you do and say will have negative consequences and contradict either itself or recent decisions, actions or speeches. If you talk strongly about your military prowess to one country, you jeopardize the assurances to your recent peace pledge to another in a completely unrelated area of the world. If you back out of a deal because “it was a bad deal”, you are not only losing the potential benefits of that deal to your supporters but you are devaluing their prosperity for personal reasons.
5, 50 or 5,000 Shades of Gray
Governing is even difficult for those that have the most sensitivity to the gray in between. You might have leader back out of that deal for more detailed and sensible reasons but that does not change the fact that you are losing the benefits for your constituents. And any good leader would value those benefits whether they were for supporters or not. I think the key is that the gray viewing leader would be able to adapt their positioning because where you are coming from communicates as loudly and where you are going. Their focus and scope of the message will also be more consistent. Further it will be crucial to mitigate the negative by leaving opportunities open to change. For example, if you are going to be positive, then imply that the duration is ongoing. If you are addressing the negative, then give an assured end date and keep updating the progress towards that end date.