Do me a favor. Think of a time when you were wrong about something and someone was trying to explain to you why you were wrong. There are several different ways that people can go about correcting someone so that they’ll learn from a mistake.
In this situation, one of two things can happen. The person doing the correcting can calmly and kindly explain the right choice or that person can be an arrogant, condescending jerk.
If you’ve ever been in this situation– and I’m sure at one point or another you have– you know which approach will work best.
When someone is civil, it’s easier to accept their opinion. But when a person is belittling, the odds are you’re not going to listen to a word they said. Instead, you’ll want to do the exact opposite of what they tell you to do.
It may be hard for some to admit, but this applies to the realm of politics.
When was the last time a Bernie Bro convinced a member of the Cruz Crew to support socialism by yelling at them about how stupid s/he is for backing someone who “pushes his Capitalist agenda” on the electorate?
When was the last time a pro-choice, girl-power-loving Hillary Clinton supporter convinced someone riding on the Trump Train to abandon the Donald by damning them to hell for supporting a “racist, sexist, bigot” who hates women?
Newsflash: It doesn’t happen.
Sure, ranting about the annoying things people do on the Left and the Right is a lot of fun. Hundreds of people make a living being political pundits and commentators who discuss these topics on a daily basis. And that’s fine.
But what I find rather aggravating is people who think they’re “helping the Conservative movement” by writing blogs, sharing videos, or attacking people on social media in an extremely condescending manner that (shocker!) doesn’t do a damn thing but rile up the base and harbor anger.
A big part of this problem centers on the fact that a lot of people working in “the movement” on both sides no longer care about the values, morals, and ideals that once drove them, but instead are now driven by a quest for fame.
In this battle for relevancy, people throw common decency to the side and ego takes over.
It’s ironic because a lot of these people are hardcore Trump fanatics. For the past year, Donald has gone where no Republican has gone before. He’s sunken to a level where he deems personal and physical critiques of his opponents as sound arguments against them– Remember when he accused Megyn Kelly of being on her period after asking him tough questions at the first GOP primary debate? Good times.
Frances Steed Sellers with The Washington Post wrote an excellent piece chronicling Trump’s history of using “insults, threats and lawsuits to quiet critics.”
It should never be our goal to silence those with whom we disagree. It should never be our goal to belittle those who have a different opinion. It should never be our goal to parade ourselves as superior for holding a different set of moral beliefs.
I think this has always been a problem lingering in a dark corner, but 2016 brought it to the forefront. I can’t recall a time in the nearly 10 years I’ve been involved in politics where it has ever been this vicious.
Before you write, record, or tweet, reflect on the consequences of what you say. Is it helping fix a problem or is it simply fanning the flame?
We often blame Washington for being the source of all our problems, but what if we’re just as much to blame?