Although it may be the only attribute they share with normal people, politicians also strive for success. Politicians, however, seem never to achieve the successes we normal people enjoy. Indeed, for whatever reasons – and there are many – political initiatives always seem to end in either unintended consequences or the direct opposite of their intent. Examples abound, but I will include a few here for illustration.
The only thing at which the queer coalition has succeeded is in making the rainbow a hated symbol. When I see a rainbow in a TV commercial for multivitamins, I am immediately turned off. And where I once viewed a rainbow in the sky following a shower as an uplifting and inspiring vision of hope and rebirth, it now conjures only visions of two guys with each other's – well, you get the picture.
The anti-Confederate battle flag flap has succeeded in cementing the battle flag in the psyches of Americans as a symbol of independence and defiance against thought control. Those thoughtful retailers who were not, like Amazon for example, stupid enough to buy into the hysteria, are doing a booming business in Confederate battle flag sales. And it would be even better if hey weren't continually sold out of stock.
Barack Obama's persistent war on the Second Amendment has succeeded in precipitating the greatest personal acquisition of firearms in the history of the world. Gun sales are booming, as are shooting ranges offering classes to first time gun owners. More and more people who've never owned or wanted to own a firearm before are joining the rest of us in acquiring the means to defend themselves from the government and other criminals. So the President's effort to eradicate the Founders' vision of a citizen army has only added 80 year old grandmothers and 16 year old high school girls to the growing army of armed Americans.
And while we're on the subject of firearms, efforts by such misguided politicians as Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emanuel to curtail gun violence by curtailing access to guns has resulted only in unprecedented gun violence in their cities. Their unenlightened persistence is reminiscent of ninety-five years ago when well meaning Baptists succeeded in unleashing the greatest drinking binge in history by banning alcohol.
Why do politicians never succeed? And more importantly, why do they never learn? Politicians are the victims of what I call "vertical thinking." Their greatest concern is upward mobility and their greatest fear is a downward fall from grace. Vertical thinking focuses all of the victim's energies on his own desires and on the creation of an artificial charisma, to the exclusion of ancillary facts and conditions and with total disdain for the feelings and concerns of others.
Vertical thinkers are concerned only with their own objectives, and those objectives are an ever greater accumulation of wealth and power. Such thinking blinds the victim to anything that does not fit his overweening need to succeed – like facts.
Horizontal thinkers, on the other hand, are content with where they are in life, and they define success as growing horizontally – by broadening and enriching their lives with the acquisition of knowledge and the development of human relationships. For them, success is not an obsession – it's an opportunity.
The overwhelming majority of humans are horizontal thinkers. Vertical thinking is a minor aberration of the species. Unfortunately, vertical thinkers migrate to politics where they can more readily feed their aberration and, incidentally, where they can do the most damage to the rest of us.