We’re all caught up in how terrible and nasty today’s political climate is. But things could be—and have been—worse. Creativity consultant Nir Bashan shows how applying some historical context and a Creator Mindset makes our political present and future seem much brighter.
Have you heard about what is going on in Washington? In our nation’s capital? This is the stuff that no one reports—but it needs to be told. Let’s take a look:
A politician was walking down the street on the way to the chamber in Capitol Hill. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he was beaten within an inch of life by someone from the opposite political party—simply because he disagreed with his political stance. Someone pulled out a gun and tried to shoot his opponent point-blank—in the face, no less. But the gun jammed and didn’t fire.
Didn’t hear about that? What about this? Let’s see if you’ve heard about it:
The president was recorded on tape saying, “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this. We’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down—not enough to make a difference.”
Have you heard about these things going on in our country’s capital?
The politician who beat Ohio Congressman Will Stanbury within an inch of his life was Sam Huston. The year was 1832. And the president who uttered that horrifically racist quote? That was Lyndon B. Johnson. The year was 1963.
When we look analytically at what is going on in our political system today here in the US, we see utter chaos. And in fact, we are supported in that view by social media and the media in general. It is a pessimistic view of a system in crisis. But simple creative truths are lost. And it’s so easy to get lost today. Trump vs. Biden, left vs. right, red vs. blue—it seems that everyone is on the extreme fringe.
But if we instead choose to look at our political system creatively, we begin to see a fresh way to look at things. We begin to uncover some truths that cannot be seen with analytics alone.
Here are three incredibly powerful truths that arise from a Creator Mindset that might make you feel better about the whole darn thing. Let’s take a look:
#1: Things Are Getting Better. As humans, we all feel as if we are living through the worst of times, and our burden is the heaviest ever, no matter what. But that ignores a basic fact of life: things are in a constant state of change. And almost always, that is a constant state of change for the better. The truth is that not only has this—whatever the ‘this’ of the moment is—happened before, but indeed things have been far, far worse historically than they are today. The two incidents cited above are examples. Can you imagine if Hillary Clinton said something horrifically racist and awful like that? Or if Donald Trump was to beat Chuck Schumer in the streets within an inch of his life? Of course, these things would never happen today—no matter how bitter the rivalry is. But just a blink of an eye ago, in a historical context, Johnson said his racist tirade—and, by all accounts, this was one of his milder racist tirades. Today in Washington, that would be unthinkable, unfathomable, unmentionable. But just a short time ago, it really happened.
When we begin to look at the world of politics creatively, we start to see that the view that everything is continually getting worse all the time is not true. By and large, the experience of the US political system has improved on its shortcomings from years past. And we can take a great measure of comfort in that.
#2: The Experiment Is Working. We live in a day and age where two politicians fighting in the streets and pulling a gun on one another is unfathomable. And that’s a good thing. When everyone is focused on the problems only, creativity sees a solution. It sees the silver lining. It sees positivity. What kind of positivity can be derived from this? Well, it’s a different way of looking at things. While the pundits scream at us from both ends of the political spectrum, telling us how bad things are, we instead shut them out when we look at the world creatively.
Our Constitution was a radical experiment that we are still experimenting with today. And that is a creative view. There is no hard and fast right to freedom, just the freedom we earn each day. That is a creative view. Protests and judicial appointments, and presidential debates are examples of the framework working. That is a creative view.
The experiment is working.
It may not be working fast enough. And it may not be working well enough. But the truth is that gains are being made every day, and that, overall, is a good thing. You won’t see that with the analytical way of viewing things. But creatively, they are the fodder of opportunity to anyone who chooses to see it that way.
#3: Creativity Sees Hope and Optimism. Our political system is designed to go through highs and lows, very much like what we see today. It is designed for great accomplishments and not so great accomplishments. But that’s just the thing. If we can look creatively at what is going on today, we can cut through much of the pessimistic clutter and instead see our political system with optimism. Sadly, that optimism is in such short supply today.
We are able to vote, and each and every vote matters. We can elect officials who are supposed to have our best interests at heart. And if they don’t? We are able to vote them out. There are tons of places on earth where this is not the case. Those countries are rife with horrific violations of fundamental human rights, women’s rights, and basic sanitation, among other things. Looking creatively at what we have allows us to see solutions that can work in the United States and other parts of the world.
When we think about politics creatively, we activate a long-dormant part of the mind that is light-years away from the analytical view. While the analytical view sees only the negative of what is going on today, the creative view shows things positively and with optimism instead of negativity. And it is only with that optimism that we can move forward and solve the remaining problems in the great experiment we call the United States of America.
Nir Bashan’s new book is The Creator Mindset: 92 Tools to Unlock the Secrets to Innovation, Growth, and Sustainability.