Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Of Learned Helplessness and Political Caucuses

Colorado is one of a minority of states that offer caucuses as an integral part of the nomination process. In theory, it invites the involvement of the most committed and informed party members, but requires that at least some people represent each precinct.

Last night I was the only Republican to represent my precinct, and not one soul showed up for the adjoining precinct. This gave me a little time to reflect on a psychological pattern that has received much attention in recent years.

"Learned helplessness is the giving up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn't matter. Explanatory style is the manner in which you habitually explain to yourself why events happen. It is the great modulator of learned helplessness. An optimistic explanatory style stops helplessness, whereas a pessimistic explanatory style spreads helplessness." ~ Martin Seligman

Turnout for both parties was light, which led me to wonder, Are we so steeped in hopelessness that we cannot do the minimum necessary to maintain our present form of government?

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