Brown County Matters – Challenges

The Admins of Brown County Matters were recently thanked for the time and effort required for managing the site.   I replied that it is has been interesting and fun — most of the time.

But, “fun” is not the right word – Challenging may be the better descriptor.  The “intent” for the group is to share information on county “matters that matter” in the public and non-profit sector that in some cases, support an action. An action could include a response to a road or school issue or closure, an upcoming vote by elected or appointed officials, fundraisers for a non-profit, help in looking for a lost pet, notification of criminal activity … etc.

Rules of the group continue to be refined, deleted, or added. These have helped provide some guidelines on the do’s and the please-don’ts.  Deleted posts are the “exception” where more than 80% of the deletes are attributed to less than 20% of the posters.

Administration

The New Posts typically deleted have been the ones that reflect a national (political) or cultural issue. Many if not most of these are allowed in response to a post that has a specific county context.  For example, Covid related mandates in the county or the lack of mask wear at a local store opens up some floodgates.  Another category of the most commonly deleted posts have involved implied threats and bullying (rare) and attacks on the messenger vs. the message.  The term “attack” has different interpretations for many people and most of the posts that are reported to the Admins are deleted.

Perspectives regarding topics vary based on many variables:  Age (generation – x,y.z, m), gender, education, knowledge of civics – national, state, county, experience, political beliefs, maturity, culture, and respective personal “hot buttons and biases.”

On culture – the seniority thing (who has lived in the country the longest) has come up a few times, e.g., the born-heres vs. the came-heres.  And even within these two groups, distinctions are made as to the length of time and connections. For anyone that can trace back their ancestry to the native Indian settlers in this area, they might prefer that we (the live-heres) all leave.

The county is not immune from the divisiveness and polarity on issues that are evident at the national level.  The recent example of the Senate hearings on the 2020 elections reinforced a clear divide between the two political factions. On one side, there is a belief that this has been the most secure election in history” and the other side is working to make the case that the election is The Greatest Electoral Heist in History.   

Political orientation does influence respective positions.  The Brown County League of Women Voters has endorsed the belief that this has been “the most secure election ever” and has also endorsed a position that America is a nation founded on racism. In the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, President Trump received over 63% of the vote in the county.

Critical Thinking

On respective arguments and positions, there are suggested criteria to consider in making a good argument in defense of a position.  Information on this topic can be found under the concept of “critical thinking.”  The following link provides some examples of fallacies and rhetorical devices:

Another option in support of analysis and decision-making is the development and improvement of a “decision-making” process.

What may be “New” for many is an awareness of “context and process” for incorporating all points of view with the intent of producing an outcome where everyone can benefit, or at least, not be any worse off in the long-term.

On any controversial issue, some will be adamantly for and against a position, most are somewhere in between and probably the majority of individuals are on the sidelines, e.g., not aware, don’t know, may not care, may have an interest but will not post or reply to a post. This situation is often reflected in the more controversial posts on Matters.

Canceling and Blocking

What has recently emerged in our culture is the prevalence of identity politics and a “cancel culture” – where individuals and groups that don’t accept a respective position are personally and professionally attacked.  This has happened a few times to the Admins on Matters when we refused to allow a post or posts.

The “Blocking” feature on Facebook is an effective tool.  I have been blocked and I have blocked others.  The criteria for me is when individuals project their biases or insecurities onto me and/or I assess further discussions are not likely to be productive.

Local and National

We may have little influence over what is happening nationally, but we do have a little more control over what happens locally.  The Brown County Leader Network has developed and identified methods and tools that may help in supporting decisions that may lead to more needs being met and less harm on people of needs not met. The commitment required for this approach requires a little more time than the drive-by posts made on Facebook.

Power (Control) – Who makes the decisions for all?

Ultimately,  the core issue politically is often a matter of power.  In developing the design of the U.S. system of government, the founders understood human nature and history.  They appreciated that individuals seek power and power always corrupts.  They designed a system of government (a Republic) with checks and balances on power that  enables We the People to work together to achieve “a more perfect Union.” Their expectation was that most of the power would be wielded at the local level.

An opposite perspective to self-government is more centralization of power.  The supporting belief is that decisions by the few will result in the best outcomes. Under this perspective, the Constitution should be interpreted to fit the times as opposed to aligning with the original intent of the Founders.

Centralization of power through socialism, marxism, communism, fascism, et.al., never works out in the long run and leads to conflict and war.

The X Option.   There are generally four strategies that can be taken by various groups with respect to change and expected outcomes:

(1) A strategy where everyone benefits (win/win). This is the strategy supported by the Brown County Leader Network.

(2) A zero-sum approach — ” I win you lose” or (3) ” I lose you win.”  The zero-sum approach can result in a never-ending cycle where the losers are motivated to take the action needed to win and when they do win, the cycle is repeated when the losers mobilize in taking the action needed for them to “win.”

And some (adversaries), encourage and support a zero-sum approach that will result in a situation where we all lose – the 4th and worst approach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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