It’s no secret, revelation, or surprise that context – the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed – is crucial.
It can make or break any interaction, whether it’s between two people, a person and an idea, or even how you and I may differ and how we find common understanding. Check it:
Look at how/why Facebook has been so successful. Think about why some comedians CRUSH worldwide while others only succeed within certain demographics. How anything is presented can make all the difference.
I’ve failed at using context well before – see: my meager attempt at running for the Texas Legislature. Because of my demographics, people assumed I was leftist. Really, I’m FOR liberty (& true liberty, not that bullshit the popular politicians try to sell you)… I was FOR a government that was a bit less obtrusive in our lives.
Because we’ve lost big ideas, like why government exists, because they’ve removed the vital understanding of its context in our lives from the conversation, and substituted identity politics and inflammatory, mind-clouding issues in its place. They’ve done a great job at controlling the narrative, which is why you’ll notice that the issues are never about government-in-our-lives & are more about making people – who are actually on the same side, “what you allow to happen to one, you allow to happen to all” – fight about how to control each other.
But nobody heard what I was talking about. Me, the JD-holding, Masters-of-Government’ing political scientist who isn’t thinking in the same terms as everyone else & didn’t run for one of the major parties was, some-crazy-how, wrong… and Facebook let me know, haha. Feathers are quickly ruffled when the conversation doesn’t follow the expected script.
If I was concerned, that’d be one thing. But I just – yum yum yum – ate it all up as just another experiment, test, lesson. I’m blunt & come across as condescending. I was up against the well-entrenched machine.
And I didn’t use context well enough.
Just before the holidays a few months ago, I was talking with my friend Baylor Barbee about political consulting & messaging & all that fun stuff… (yes, I think it’s fun & love it & see it as a game – I highly suggest that approach)
We were discussing how the Republican Party could win the LGBTQ+ vote, and the topic of how both parties’ slogans don’t really MEAN anything, could be used by the other side, and the context in which the parties present themselves can change the meaning completely.
I sent him the slogans in that image the following week after brainstorming in the bathtub, just to highlight the point.
Isn’t that hilarious; though?
What someone perceives as “freedom” or “right and wrong” or “important” will affect their politics & what party they belong to, and it all plays off current events in the social theatre.
I. Eat. It. Up. And, also, knowing the game, I wanted to see if I could get in and make it good for everyone because it actually causes me great pain to see what politics does to us… (hello, its grossness reached new heights in 2016 & continues to fester today)
And context is what so many of the politically-fueled, heated discussion lack.
Abortion laws, marriage laws, etc have to do with peoples’ rights. Anti-discrimination laws do, too. Annnddd so do 2nd Amendment rights, as well as the right to be free to worship or believe whatever you want to. Rights are the overarching issue, not the specific subject-matter. See how easy that is?
But, OhHellNoImOutraged happens & the true target gets missed.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone’s guns to be taken away any more than I was someone to be discriminated against for their personal characteristics. Do you see how that puts me on both sides of the political spectrum?
All this has become much more clear as the business-as-usual game has been disrupted by the drumpf presidency. And I’m glad, because we, the people, needed a shake-up as far as thinking and talking about government goes.
And context can help.
It helps companies unite people of all different backgrounds for business success. It’s also how advertising campaigns reach people (that’s a little something I like to call Encompassingness)
Once we can look beyond the different approaches & see:
- The “Why”
- The guiding principles at play
- More-applicable issues
we might actually be able to relate to each other better, which is the only way things will truly get “better” for us. Imagine if we could all get to the root of issues, then handle them better, rather than simply trying to control or “win” an issue… I’d like to imagine that’s why my aunt & Uncle & their kids have, even though they’re Christians, never shunned me for likin’ the ladies – we’re family, pals, connected far deeper than any stupid category first.
Beyond all that, context is why comedians have been able to get away with saying the most outlandish stuff for DECADES at this point. For your consideration…
And that’s a tame one! …my grandma visits this site…