Mel Schwartz, LCSW

To blink or not to blink?

It has become glaringly apparent to me that the orientation and values of the Democratic and Republican parties might be distilled down to the issue of whether one blinks or not. This difference was illuminated last night during Sarah Palin’s first interview. When asked if she were ready for the job, she indicated that she didn’t blink when asked to become McCain’s running mate. She went further to indicate that she was wired in that manner. Many members of the Republican party value the instinctive, no blink, macho response. Indeed, it is seen as masculine and patriotic.

The mindset of the non-blinkers is that real men (and women) don’t blink, they don’t think… They already know… a priori. Such a worldview distinctly separates good and bad, virtuous and evil. To blink is an effete dalliance and not to be trusted.

The blinkers are inclined to be reflective and contemplative. They are derided by the non-blinkers as elite intellectuals or to use the street word–wussies. They are charged with being soft on the enemy and not up to the job.

These distinctions are at the heart of the culture clash in the United States and the driving force in the presidential campaign. If a poll were taken that inquired as to whether one valued blinkers or non-blinkers, we’d readily be able to infer which candidates they were voting for. The real issue isn’t the economy, energy policies or terrorism. The unconscious motivator in the electoral process is whether you’re a blinker or not.

A non-blinking reflective might argue that the world escaped nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis due to the prevalence of contemplative individuals running our country. A blinker thinks beyond the immediacy of their reaction and considers unintended consequences; an instinctive non-blinker pulls the trigger and deals with the mess later. If we’re luck enough to have a later.

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love it. that is all.

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