On Fear & Common Sense

"Partisanship in America is at a 25-year high, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, with the majority of that movement to the two ideological extremes coming in just the last decade.” - Washington Post, 6/4/12

A quote we really like at skimmerhat is: “If we’re going to win our never ending war against the idea of being afraid, there are going to be casualties, including common sense.”

It can be applied to various aspects of one’s life — from talking to the pretty girl across the room to taking a new direction that breaks up the status quo.

The quote speaks to us on a couple levels. First, on beginning a business venture, something none of the current founders have ever done from scratch. It’s an adventure. And second, on beginning a business venture in a space as volatile and divisive as government and politics (we’ve written on a similar topic here).

Perhaps, the second point has never been more true than now. The excerpt from the Washington Post in italics at the top of this post displays as much. The article delves into the partisanship that seems to be taking a stranglehold on progress, especially in Congress.

They write:

What’s even more remarkable than that rapid growth in partisanship is the fact that there has been almost no noticeable change in other major demographic categories on Pew’s values question. White/black, men/women, religious/not religious — no matter where you fall in these demographic categories the difference between how you and your opposite broadly conceptualize values has not changed markedly since Pew started polling on this in 1987.

The partisanship that has been created has many layers and just as many reasons one could point to in how or why it has grown over the years — whether it’s the politicians, the citizens, the money, the media or a combination of everything.

But that isn’t a discussion for this blog post. The problem is staring us in the face — dissension and gridlock. The proper discussion is what will we do from here?

As Americans, we can’t be afraid to get our hands dirty and attempt something different. Fear of what could happen leads to acceptance of the present; it is the most efficient way to stifle change and progress.

We also must go ahead and throw common sense to the wind. A vision for the future requires us to loosen our grip on the world as it is now because if we are going to realize a different state, it isn’t going to make much sense to any of us at this point in time. Any great advancement in the history of the world seemed inconceivable to a group of people at one time.

This applies to our government and its politics. If Americans are to create the country we collectively think we can, we must be unafraid and accept the casualties, including common sense.

It will undoubtedly require a good bit of time and a solid dose of mental compromise as well.

At skimmerhat, we believe the sharing and discussion of ideas are at the core of this advancement, not party dogma or political rhetoric. Which is why we are building a platform dedicated to finding and funding candidates who share your ideas — the citizens and individuals who make our country what it is.

With this, we are cooking up a new primary feature for the site when we go live. It’s one that hasn’t been included in any of our videos or posts yet, but it embraces the concept of ideas. We will have more updates on this in the very near future, so please stick with us.

And as always, if you are interested in following skimmerhat, take a look at any of our social media links on the sidebar to the right or sign up on our email list.

— Spencer