In Politics: Destructive Power Inhibits Healthy Conflict Engagement

Wow!  This debate on balancing the budget has really got me thinking about how precious life is in our country!  To me, the conflict that pervaded these discussions between the republicans and the democrats warrants a deeper understanding in terms of how these structures affect the very fabric of our living in American society.  I would like to offer an assessment of the debate in terms of conflict engagement.

This is how I see that the democrats and republicans approached each other in negotiations during this debate.   It is my intent to be neutral in this discussion, neither for or against either party.   With this being said, if I am perceiving this scenario correctly, the republicans used their caveat of majority in the house and their position on pro life in the budget talks to try to control their ideas as the winning position for balancing the budget and to procure their desired spending cuts.  The democrats used the republican’s caveat of majority in the house as a means to control the republican majority to the degree of a lesser view by the American public, by making the republicans look in a negative context to the American people to aid in winning their position.   I felt  that the democrats came close to achieving this by causing a perception that the republicans were being blaming and stalling talks  instead of using healthy negotiations to come to a budget deal.

I thought what was lacking at least from the information I gleaned from the news media coverage, was the real positive aspects in terms of common interests that both parties could have the potential to bring to the table for each other and for us the American people.

I believe there are more effective, normative and sustainable power choices that both of these parties could have made to cause a participation of  healthy negotiation and strength in governmental unity during this debate.  Since I am not privy to the details of their discussions, I can only talk from a perspective of the nature of power that has the potential to lead to agreement as opposed to causing more conflict.   It also would have been a shorter debate and would have caused less fear and turmoil within the emotions of Americans, if both parties hadn’t used distributive power moves destructively, in their engagement with each other.   Power choices that are based on integration, reciprocity and sustainability within governmental deliberations,  have the potential to cause a perception all the way around that America is strong in its identity.  We, the people must be kept strong in unity through the use of  power with decisions for us Americans by our governmental leaders; where these decisions are derived from negotiations that are less and less about party majority and more about the benefit of life in America for all of us and how we relate to the world.

What our government, the democrats and republicans did to each other in this debate was an example of the use of destructive power.  Each side took a distributive position and attempted to use their authority, and ideologies regarding laws they were trying to put in place, against each other to win their position.

I believe that this kind of interaction has lasting effects that are harmful to the greater good of a population and I think they reach far.  Here is what I see.

1. The military and our men and women soldiers are such a critical component to the well being of us Americans.  The mometus sacrifices they make to keep us safe in this country are probably still going unrecognized by many of us because we don’t know the daily grinds of their jobs or their lives working for the government.  But thanks to this debate and the news media coverage, details of the affects of a potential governmental shutdown to our military families, have become clearer to us.   Even further, how safe are our soldiers, the military deployed to the front lines, whether they are marines, naval personnel, or pilots, if they have to worry on the job about their families back home because of a “threat” of a governmental shut down???  Quite simply, if our soldiers are worrying about this stuff on the job, then they are not applying their expert focus to the jobs they do to keep themselves safe, us safe and protect our country.  It is my view that these kinds of internal wars within our government put us all at risk.  Did the democratic party, in  using this kind of negotiation, understand the importance of playing out the reverberating effects to the welfare of America, and its military?

2. In negotiation, using power and authority to gain control by projecting a supposed meaning of   “ideology” about a law can be a very harmful initiative to a general population.  I could be wrong, but this is my perception of how the republican party approached their side in the debate.   Quite frankly, this confused me and I didn’t understand our laws surrounding Planned Parenthood.  Because of this confusion, I began to doubt the workings of our government.  Doubt causes one to lose trust.  Without trust in the said structure, strength in unity that has been grown by a particular set of norms, erodes sustainability of the belief in the structure.  I’m talking about the republican’s stand on pro life and how they used a general meaning of Planned Parenthood in this debate.  I felt I was led to believe Planned Parenthood was all about controlling pregnancy.  I had to dig deeper to understand all the elements.  From what I understand now, Planned Parenthood is about Women’s health care and that presently, due to the Hyde amendment, abortion is not funded through Planned Parenthood.  What I also remember about planned parenthood when I carried my child was that regular preventive visits to the doctor would keep my pregnancy healthy.   I think the confusing approach that the republicans took about Planned Parenthood, hurt their position and possibly their perception by women.  In terms of me being a female, what health care means to me as an American woman is that it’s a critical need and should be respected and not used in such a way.  With all due respect to husbands and significant others, we, women are nurturers.  From our female perspective, how can we do our best being a wife or significant other,  to nurture our families in terms of providing the best for them in education, health care and in our community involvement, in order to set a good example for our children, if we are misled and thereby confused about that which the government is providing us within these critical components for our daily needs in life?  The consequence I see that is underlying here is that this kind of destructive power in negotiation undermines what is truly at stake for the welfare of a population, by using ideologies to sway opinion.  This can cause a de-unification in American sentiment and this energy is unhealthy for us internally with in our country.

3. The last consequence I see is for our own country and how America is perceived by other nations.  If our internal governmental structures are warring, doesn’t this make America’s position of power in relation to the world look vulnerable?  If this is so, I think this is harmful for all of us.  But, this vulnerability can also be the American Government’s future opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to  strengthen it’s global identity by the democrats and republicans making internal power with choices because we, the American People are the goal, not the either party’s majority.    Did they do this by agreeing on a deal last night?  Most likely.  However, the negotiation route they took to begin with in destructive power moves has already done its damage in our country and globally.  But there is again, an opportunity to make better choices the next time around.  That will be coming soon.  As a concerned tax payer, I look forward to the hope of seeing more effective conflict management in action by our government  during their future debate interactions.

These are my thoughts in terms of conflict engagement as our country’s political parties move forward to more serious debates in the future.  In this post, I hoped to convey the understanding of the use of destructive power, without taking sides for either party.  The most important common interest of both parties is yes, you guessed it, We the people.  I believe more careful, thoughtful, normative, and sustainable choices in negotiation  can be had if our government chooses to put the American people at the top of the heap, instead of choosing interaction that only fights for strength of any one political party.   Power with internally, can reveal our strong American identity to the world.

My last comment is thank you for reading my post.  Writing it has given me the opportunity to practice applying the concepts I learned in Negotiations and Conflict Resolution!  : – )!


Cindy Eksuzian

About Cindy Eksuzian

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