The bearers of gifts and good tidings

Without spiritual practice, and even with considerable amounts of it, we all prefer feeling pleasant sensations and not unpleasant sensations and correspondingly, pleasant news over unpleasant news. However, there is also a preference for being the bearer of pleasant news and not that of the unpleasant.  

This is less about pleasing one’s own five senses, but more about the sixth one (the mind), related to views about oneself, related to the constant quest to manipulate other minds to view oneself in a certain way.

Consider this example – We might know of someone in our family or organization who loves to jump ahead and be the first to hand out the goodies, the resources – be the one that delivers the good news etc, announce a promotion.  The same person often hates to have the difficult conversation, ask the children to behave, bring news about layoffs in the company, send a fundraising email.

But also consider the broad example in the political field.  The Left is known for its agenda – give out more benefits, even if it means raising taxes. The Right is known for its own agenda – lower taxes, even it means having to cut benefits. Now, everyone likes more benefits for themselves and everyone likes lower taxes on themselves.  The difference in the two parties is just in which one they prioritize (and are willing to sacrifice the other). What is interesting is that it seems that when each party is in power, they are far more willing to give out goodies than do the unpleasant part. The Left is quick to announce (and implement) various spending measures – that tends to be their headline legislative achievement, but really drags its feet on raising taxes. The Right, on the other hand, bangs the drums about various tax cuts they quickly deliver and those are their flagship achievements. Cutting programs, if any, is done quietly*.

The thing is – this stuff doesn’t add up.  Giving out the goodies (whichever one is preferred by either party) without the corresponding sacrifice leads to deficits.  Both parties decry deficits, but they do so only when they are in the opposition (minority). When they have control of the government, they are too busy with goodie handouts and you would never hear a word about deficits.

They have two political solutions to that: One is to insist that the other side should be carrying out my agenda (the unpleasant part of it) when they are in power.  Listen carefully and you’ll hear the Left cry while in minority about the yawning deficit and the cliff that is coming unless the ruling Right raises taxes.  Likewise, the Right wants the ruling Left to cut benefits to make up for the benefits. This is most commonly seen with the Federal government asking the states of the opposite party to carry out the stinky part of the agenda.

The second political solution is more easily observed: It is to sell these ideas to the people by dividing them – most frequently on lines of racial identity, but here I will talk about economic identity.  The Left’s sales pitch is “We will give you the benefits, but will not raise taxes on you.  Instead, we’ll raise taxes on that section over there, the (evil) Rich. Vote for us”.  The Right’s sales pitch, on the other hand, is, “We will lower your taxes, but don’t worry, the benefits cuts will not affect you. Instead, we will cut benefits on that group over there, the (lazy) Poor. Vote for us.

‘* – Only talking about the more moderate elements here. The extremes are more than happy to ignore the deficit entirely, have their goodies and gladly sacrifice the other leg (because the sacrifice will fall entirely on people who are outside of their own extreme base – people who they never had a chance with – landing a punch on them is no problem. If anything, a source of pride).