On Political Intelligence

 In Individual Work

If I were to advise either of the two major candidates for office of the President of the United States – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – I would tell them this: take a chance. Forget personal attacks, leave behind the characterization of ‘issues’ your team believes represents the other’s point of view, stop trying to compare yourself to the other candidate. Avoid the money boys and their influence.

Instead, go inward. Listen to your own truth at the deepest possible level. Take a long hard look inside and discover your rock solid values and beliefs. Tune into your own soul. Have lengthy conversations with your family. Brainstorm with the friends who’ve known you for years. Pray and meditate on your vision of service to this country. Listen to who you really are. And, when you’ve done enough of this so that you’re confident you, with absolute integrity, can represent your truest self to us, the citizens who chose, then, and only then, articulate your case to us.

Listening to your self is the foundation for true relationship. A natural consequence of listening to your self is the capacity to listen to others.

Thinking is deceptive. In marriage for example, couples all the time tell me their theories about their partner. It goes like this “well Stephen, my husband just isn’t interested in hearing what I have to say.’ Or, ‘you’ve got to understand Doc, my wife’s going through the mid life thing. She’s crazy.’

In politics, mister candidates, you are forever trying to out strategize your ‘opponent.’ Thus the charges and counter charges of candidates ‘changing their position,’ of being chameleon like in pandering to different poll generated audiences. This represents a real and true disrespect of us, the citizens who will cast our vote. The more you do this, the more we grow cynical about your integrity.

Theories, hypotheses, diagnoses, analyses, judgments, criticisms, and more, may seem like you’re saying something intelligent about your partner (or in the case of politics, about your opponent) but you’re not. There’s a saying an AA friend of mine likes : ‘it’s the stinking thinking that got me here in the first place.’ Thinking seduces us into believing we’re intelligently responding to an issue or a person when thinking is more often, simply a rerun of something we’ve heard or a past challenge gone south in which we were deeply wounded. Out thinking your opponent may satisfy your ego but it winds up looking false and shallow.

Political intelligence means you must be able to see the ‘show’ as a show and you must tune into what you believe as you do your own due diligence with friends, family and partner. Independence of opinion will come from your willingness to search your own soul. It is not for the lazy or indifferent.

Political intelligence like authenticity in marriage takes focus and hard work. Our partners deserve our best and so do the citizens of this country.

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