Start using the right part of your brain…
Conserve [v. kuh n-surv] To use or manage wisely; preserve; save.
Afew years before former 11th District Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler received his Duke Power public service award, I had the adventurous opportunity to run against him. You haven’t lived until you’ve campaigned in 17 counties with an all-volunteer staff and no money against Obamahypnotized donkeys, self-serving PACs, and unprincipled elephants all rolled into a gas crisis. I still get the shakes when the needle gets close to empty.
There were three standout campaign moments. One was when – per voting record – I correctly labeled my debate opponent a socialist and got by with it. Another was when an Obama-Zombie in a chicken wing emporium taunted my son and didn’t.
The best twinkle of all – by far – was when I suggested Republicans needed to start standing by our stated principles and that President Bush deserved impeachment for failing to enforce our borders. That wasn’t exactly what the party faithful expected to hear from their regional rep. If emails could kill, I’d be the human equivalent of summer possum baking on an interstate.
Time has proven the point if not the mission. My Republican Party continues to stand for nothing and George Bush has been validated as a well-intended but untethered president who championed the largest entitlement expansion in history; threw open our borders; initiated two destabilizing and unwinnable ground wars; and singlehandedly assured the election of his even more hapless successor.
As two New York and Texas foxes kick their fannies, my RINO’s of yesterday are now standing around wondering what the heck happened to their Grand Old Party.
For many, the fickleness of politics – and for that matter everything of man – is a source of numbing confusion. It need not be. Most of the mischief can be tracked directly to our brains – more specifically – all three of our brains.
In the back of our head is a computer silently running heartbeat, breathing, coordination, temperature and other autonomic functions. Up front is our unique thinking brain. When put to use, it’s the place of reason, judgment, problem solving, and the wisdom of Socrates – otherwise it’s a storage bin for rust and dust.
It’s in the middle is the brain that’s really in charge. Variously called the animal or ‘‘lizard’’ brain – I fondly describe it as our ‘‘Zombie’’ brain.
The Zombie Brain runs off instinct, training, conditioning, and habit – and occasionally epidemic mutated viruses. It’s a good thing for potty training 2year olds, driving a car, or brushing teeth without thought. It’s a bad thing when dictating politics, religion, family, finances or any other activity meriting sensibility.
Revealingly, most votes are cast out of the middle brain. Where else did you think political ads are designed to land?
When it comes to party affiliation and brain power, Democrats and Republicans are more alike than different. Both are susceptible to being hijacked by the Zombie brain. Republican principles – reality, reason, responsibility and right – are habitually ignored because they’re hard. Democratic principles – pandering, pretending, promising, and partying – are habitually embraced because they’re easy.
Zombieism is easy to spot. There’s a tendency to walk with the crowd, echo soundbites, and attack anyone not of your persuasion. Heaven help one if the undead figure out you’re alive, happy, and fond of your independence.
Culturists with an interest in preserving America’s fine dream can’t afford to live in Zombie land. We must step to the front to ponder answers to the world’s problems. That takes real thinking – not mental comfort food.
Those believing in the maturity of the good old days are correct on two counts. Reason was a more respected agenda and feeling good was viewed as a byproduct of doing good. Today, we prize video games, hip-hop, super-sex, drugs, anger and celebrity worship as steroids for our Zombie brains.
Older social and moral standards better trained Zombie brains to behave and contribute. Liberty was better matched with responsibility and opportunity with accountability. Today? Well, let’s just say all those Zombies walking around Asheville aren’t fakes.
Solutions begin with remembering we lose what we don’t use and the brain we feed the most grows the most. The well-nourished Zombie brain bullies liberated thought right out of our head. For evidence witness the social impact of our hyper-liberalized public schools and colleges.
Critical thinking is a perishable skill. If you travel with a herd, it’s likely you’re well beyond your expiration date.
Carl Mumpower is a psychologist and former elected official. His column appears the first Sunday of each month; he can be reached at .
OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE