This last weekend, we got to listen to a talk by a professor… Well, close enough, without going into details. He made a really good point, about our current American presidential election, which I think applies to American politics as a whole right now – and perhaps to world politics as a whole right now as well.
It’s that the politicians are focusing on the problems of the world now, without offering solutions. And he likened it to 1930’s Germany: they had problems too, like the Treaty of Versailles, the Stock Market Crash and ensuing economic collapse, and the state of the world… social and international. And they, like many other countries at the time, had ideologues and demagogues telling them all about their problems, sympathizing with them and empathizing with them and enhancing their anger. But then, not offering the solutions… and once we saw what the solutions were, well, it was too late and time for war.
Which all pretty well sounds like peoples’ opinions on what’s happening in the presidential race today. Anger. Lots of the problems being brought up – and not a lot of solutions being offered. And some of the ones we are hearing almost sound worse than nothing at all…
I was about to write all of this Monday, and we watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and that totally replaced my plans… but still, it needs said. We have a world full of problems – wars and civil wars, expansionism and posturing. We have places like the UK – with Scotland considering leaving the country, and then the UK considering leaving the EU. It’s like a nesting doll of a problem… The economy. Immigration and refugees. Water and climate and just everything else.
We’ve talked before about the idea of Wicked Problems – where we don’t have the answer of what the solution is, and you basically just have to try it. These sort of problems end up in the ideological, religious, and especially political realm. Where we collectively work on deciding – work on a solution.
But for that, we need options, and if no one is offering them in the political realm, then it’s time to look somewhere else. And for so many of today’s problems, I still say, Science Fiction is a good place to look. Taking an issue, and thinking of it in terms of the future. And then it’s a question of coming up with the vision of what the time between that future and the present looks like.
If there are political problems you’re wrestling with, drop them in the comments below. We’ll brainstorm solutions in the comments, or if big enough, they’ll get their own blog posts. Let’s work on solutions. Not on problems.