The more I think about it, the more I feel that highly sensitive people should make themselves heard in this current (far too heated) political climate.
Because we HSPs think deeply on things and process information more deeply than most, we go beyond the binary.
The HSP’s depth of processing is described this way by Dr. Elaine Aron:
At the foundation of the trait of high sensitivity is the tendency to process information more deeply … HSPs simply process everything more, relating and comparing what they notice to their past experience with other similar things. They do it whether they are aware of it or not. …Dr. Elaine Aron, in The Highly Sensitive Person
Studies supporting the depth of processing aspect of the trait have compared the brain activation of sensitive and non-sensitive people doing various perceptual tasks. [Research has found] that the highly sensitive use more of those parts of the brain associated with “deeper” processing of information, especially on tasks that involve noticing subtleties.
In another study, by ourselves and others, sensitive and non-sensitive persons were given perceptual tasks that were already known to be difficult (require more brain activation or effort) depending on the culture a person is from.
The non-sensitive persons showed the usual difficulty, but the highly sensitive subjects’ brains apparently did not have this difficulty, regardless of their culture. It was as if they found it natural to look beyond their cultural expectations to how things “really are.”
When it comes to the political system, this depth of processing that highly sensitive people have often means we do not default to the current (and highly divisive) structures of the two-party system that has become so unhealthy and even dangerous for our nation.
Because this two-party system – the Republicans and the Democrats, the conservatives and the liberals, the red and the blue, the right and the left – has grown so pervasive in recent years, it seems as though this is the way it has always been and the way it must be.
But it’s not.
And as difficult as it might be for some to grasp this, there are ways of looking at things that fall outside the two binary categories.
It is deeply flawed thinking to assume that just because a person aligns with some aspects of one part of the party system that they must align with every aspect of it.
It’s like saying that because you enjoy eating blueberries, you must therefore like everything that is blue, including blue cheese and blue raspberry ices and any other food that is blue.
Okay, so that wasn’t the greatest analogy, but I hope you understand …
And if you are also a highly sensitive person, I trust you understand what I’m trying to say.
A person can be more than either pro-life or pro-choice.
More than either pro same-sex marriage or homophobic.
More than either pro Trump or pro Biden.
And if we neglect to see this, then we are not thinking deeply about matters that will be affecting our world our nation for years to come.
We have grown far too used to strawman arguments and one-sided simplistic explanations.
We have grown far to use to casting doubt on “the other side” and throwing everything about that other side under the bus, when there is so much more to life than two sides.
I know, when it comes down to voting, it is said that if you choose to vote for a third option, rather than the most popular Republican and Democrat in any political race, you’re throwing away your vote.
And I know that votes are important because they help to determine what direction the nation goes in overall.
Yes, I’ve heard it all before, but forgive me if I admit that I don’t agree with it at all.
This is why I have never voted and why I never will unless something changes about this current political system. It is limited, and flat out wrong.
What about a person who is anti-war yet pro-life?
Or someone who believes that two people can love each other, no matter who they are, and who agrees with more gun laws and free education for all, but who also understands the concerns of the more conservative among us?
I have never watched a presidential debate, as they are too intense and anxiety-producing for a highly sensitive person like me to view, but I do remember thinking this when hearing some people talk about how much mud-slinging there was during one such debate:
Why should the future of a nation depend on how well someone argues?
There is so much more to life than arguing.
Why not ask the candidates to write a poem? Or require them to spend a couple of hours playing with preschoolers or volunteering at an old folks home? Why not have them play an instrument or choreograph a dance or paint a picture?
How has one of the most advanced nations in the world become one known for arguments and an inability to move forward because of the deeply divided political climate?
It has been said that a house divided against itself cannot stand …
How much longer can such a divided nation continue on?
But all is not lost, and I am hopeful …
Hopeful that the emotional and the sensitive among us will find our voices and be willing to speak out for options that do not fall into one or another binary.
Hopeful that we who learn who we are – with our sensitivity and our tears, our depth of processing and our longing for beauty – will learn to inspire others to also seek these things.
I am hopeful that we will be able to use the gifts we have to share a desire for peace and beauty and a better world with others.
And who knows … maybe one day someone who identifies as a highly sensitive person will hold the highest office.
Maybe one day, presidency will be determined by poetry and music rather than mud-slinging and arguments.
What have we if not hope?
And where there is life, there is always hope.