Thursday, December 21, 2006

Alternate Realities 

This is a long (too long) article on denial and scapegoating in world politics. You may -- or may not -- agree with the author's view of the Islamic threat. You will recognize her point about alternate views of reality. Either there is a threat, or there isn't.

It strikes me that much of PR work is like this. There is no clear picture of the future. One stakes a position and defends it, recognizing that the opposite may be true. What is harmful is passionate advocacy descending to emotional argument. There are too many "haters" in politics and the corporate world. Why deal with issues when it is easier to slash another's character? Verbal assassination has gone beyond civility too many times to count. Anyone prominent risks attack from all sides.

If we look at American history, we see intense emotional debate at times when the future is clouded for the country. This was true, especially, at the beginning with the standoff between Federalists and Jeffersonians. Neither could gain the upper hand, so they set about to destroy one another. The Civil War had similar language. So too, just prior to World War II, the isolationist movement was vile in its words.

When things go bad, calm discussion works better, for the most part. At least, it doesn't obscure issues as much as alternate realities do. Calmness should start at the top where it is too often lacking. When leaders keep their balance, those around them find it easier to do so as well. Resist the temptation to get even. Stick to facts you know and reasonable positions.


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