Most of us can probably cite at least a couple of reasons for the conditions we find ourselves in today. Some blame the Internet, some religious exclusivity, or maybe religious politicization. Others say it is just plain self-centeredness. I don’t suspect that many put loneliness as part of the mix but maybe it is deeper than we realize.
When politics is used as a cure for spiritual and social loneliness, it’s harder to win people over with policy or philosophical arguments. Everything is shaped on a deeper level, through the parables, fables and myths that our most fundamental groups use to define themselves…
Trump’s supporters follow him because he gets his facts wrong, but he gets his myths right. He tells the morality tale that works for them.
It should be said that people on the left and on the right who try to use politics to find their moral meaning are turning politics into an idol. Idolatry is what happens when people give ultimate allegiance to something that should be serving only an intermediate purpose, whether it is money, technology, alcohol, success or politics.
I can certainly see some truth in the words above. It is now a well-known fact that the rural areas of the nation are where most of the Trump voters came from. Many in that area are more isolated than their urban neighbors. Most likely, they are also less educated but maybe that is another story. Does that make them lonely, it could, especially among us senior citizens.
I have never understood why senior citizens would vote Republican when one of their fundamental goals is to make drastic reductions to Social Security and Medicare? They see services for the elderly as dreaded “entitlements” that need to be eliminated. For seniors to be Republicans is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. It is widely known that one of Mr. Trump’s primary support groups are people over 65. I think I have some experience with that group.
There are many seniors, including me to some extent, who are isolated from the mainstream. We spend the majority of our time by ourselves. Some choose, like the current Oval Office occupant, to spend many hours a day in front of the TV. For the most part, they only know the world through cable news networks or probably just one of those networks. Since politics is the major source in their lives they take the topic on as a friend that they no longer have.
I can remember my grandma in the 1950s being obsessed with TV wrestling. She never missed her wrestling show and would shout and scream at the bad guys on the flickering black and white tube. No matter how much we tried to convince here that TV wrestling was fake she simply would not believe it. I think the same thing kinda holds for many who are supporting Mr. Trump today. There are many seniors who have pledged allegiance to him no matter what he may do. That totally misguided faith puts a stain on all of us over 65.
Politics has a place in everyone’s life but it should only be for intermediate purposes and not as an idol onto itself.
4 thoughts on “Politics As A Cure for Spiritual and Social Loneliness?”
Whether it’s politics or religion, I think there is a strong desire to be “right” and to think by surrounding ourselves with people who think the same, makes it so. And much of this is formed by our early childhood life, our friends, spouse’s views and our own life experiences. There is a comfort zone and it’s also easy to not have to be bothered with too much thinking.
It’s much harder to do some research and get different views and to open our minds up and do some really critical thinking using logic and common sense. We’re all guilty of this. I even wonder if genetics are involved in some way…like predisposition to certain beliefs or susceptibilities like conspiracy theories, alien abductions and the like. How else to explain why people vote against their own best interests or against what’s good for humanity and the environment at large.
Well said, Mary.
Loved the analogy of Trump (and his supporters) and TV wrestling. Both “fake” yet with surprising appeal. Once again, you are spot on!
Thanks for the thoughts Daryl and welcome to RJsCorner. Come back often with your input.