Are Our Political Differences Related to Love?

09/14/2016 12:06 pm ET | Updated Sep 14, 2016

I just read an article titled “When It Comes To Our Politics, Family Matters” which concluded as follows: “Perhaps what fuels our inflexible certainty isn’t stupidity or callousness: It’s love.”

The funny thing about this article is they refer to liberals as being more empathic and conservatives being more paternalistic. It then goes on to state that “Democrats and Republicans often have trouble seeing one another’s perspectives.”

According to Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., “empathy is a skill set. The core of empathy is perspective taking.

Perspective taking is normally taught or modeled by parents. The more your perspective is in line with the dominant culture, the less you were probably taught about perspective taking. In the United States, the majority culture is white, Judeo-Christian, middle class, educated, and straight.”

Empathy (for those who fall outside of your worldview) is the key to conflict resolution or management and the lack of empathy leads to a great deal of conflict.

The entire article is nonsensical because of that inconsistency, in my opinion.

Irrespective, the United States of America is not run like a household and not all households are run the same way. As such, whose household should be the model of how the United States of America is run?

Furthermore, who gets to determine “how a family should operate”?

Oh, and, “stricter parents” does not mean “better parents.” That depends upon how one defines “strict,” among a great many other things. It seems to me that this is operating from the premise that parents deserve their children’s respect merely because of their title as the parents. I’m afraid that respect is earned and cannot be demanded.

Moreover, how do parents discipline their children? In ways that have been found to be harmful to children or in positive ways?

Is the parents’ love conditional or unconditional? Do the parents only love their children if their sexual orientation is heterosexual? Do they only love their children if they do as their parents want, including career choice, extra-curricular activities, etc? Is it dependent upon their children being the parent’s “mini me”?

According to Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., “When it comes to our sense of love, belonging, and worthiness, we are most radically shaped by our families of origin – what we hear, what we are told, and perhaps most importantly, how we observe our parents engaging with the world….

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are….

Throughout the country and regardless of type of school, middle and high school students talk openly about the heartache of not feeling a sense of belonging at home.

The important thing to know about worthiness is that it doesn’t have prerequisites. Most of us, on the other hand, have a long list of worthiness prerequisites - qualifiers we’ve inherited, learned and unknowingly picked up along the way. Most of these prerequisites fall in the categories of accomplishments, acquisitions, and external acceptance.... Shame loves prerequisites”

Who’s to say that people are “reasonable” just because they have “deeply held convictions”?

Interestingly enough, the “distrust and misunderstanding” is the result of a lack of empathy.

Our political preferences are “driven by hidden moral frameworks we’re not even aware of.” However, that also involves empathy or a lack thereof. “Moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.... [Therefore], we should refrain from passing moral judgments on beliefs and practices characteristic of cultures other than our own.”

“Perhaps what fuels our inflexible certainty isn’t stupidity or callousness: It’s love.” Hardly! That depends whether the “love” is conditional or unconditional. When it’s conditional, what are the conditions?

That being said, I do agree with those researchers who “think this might be driven in part by their earliest experience of power — the family.”

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