POLA - People Of Lower Awareness
It’s not particularly insightful in the age of Trump and Brexit to say that the world is divided, but never in living memory has the gap between those of us in the centre and those on the right seemed so wide. As with any cultural divide, the greater the distance the more difficult it is to comprehend the other side. Certainly in the wake of the Trump Election and the Brexit Referendum it is difficult to understand the motivations that led intelligent people to vote for such travesties.
So the conclusion many came to was that those responsible must simply lack intelligence. Not only is this a simplistic analysis that doesn’t really take into account the myriad complex motivations of voters (racism certainly played a part in both cases), but unfortunately it doesn’t give us a pathway to try and heal the rift.
The truth is that one way or another the Brexit process will pass and that by 2025 at the very latest Trumpism will end. When this happens we will need to engage everyone, left and right, working together to rebuild. This can’t happen if we spend the intervening years sniping and insulting one and other. We need to find a way to gain some mutual comprehension. This can be quite a voyage, like being a foreigner in a strange land trying to decipher the local customs or even stranded intergalactic explorers on an alien planet - yet try we must.
In a recent article on Blasé Bigotry we inadvertently coined a useful term - People Of Lower Awareness. This feels more inclusive - certainly better than ‘basket of deplorables’, as it at least offers some insight into causation. POLA can be a way to address Brexiteers and Trumpists without insulting or alienating them.
Let’s look at the typical conservative or republican voter - they are not uneducated. We’ve all met successful people who support Trump or business leaders and teachers who voted to leave the EU. These are motivated smart people - they just lack awareness. Many have lived their whole lives in rural communities and maybe have never encountered a POC, a transgendered person or an immigrant. So their only source of information on these subjects is the often right-leaning mainstream media. Is it any surprise that they vote with fear in their hearts rather than love.
This also makes POLA a positive idea, as it shows the potential for change. If we can fight to make them more informed and help them understand the things they fear, then maybe we can close the yawning divide between us. This may be naive, but at least if we change the tone of the debate who knows. Find a POLA today and try….
Do you agree or disagree with this article? Leave a comment below and let’s start the discussion.