These days, it appears as if anything remotely political or social related is becoming harder to discuss or have an opinion on. That is, unless you happen to solely agree with either one side or the other. If not, then you’re probably shit outta luck and nobody takes you seriously. Especially if you call attention to how polarized this world is and how moronic people are sounding more and more everyday. It’s proof positive that people just want you to tell them what they want to hear, whether you’re a Conservative or Liberal.
We want echo chambers, safe spaces, soapboxes, and an audience to preach to/argue with. But what’s funny about that is not a single person really wants to listen to the other; it’s all about being heard these days. that’s one of the many problems in this world, aside from the glaringly obvious. We want it to be all about us and us alone. If you’re not with us, you’re against us. And if you’re silent, then you’re part of the problem in this world.
And we wonder why we can’t seem to get along and find a resolution.
Nobody listens. To anyone but themselves and those of like mind.
Case and point, is making statements on and off social media regarding anything social or political. I took notice to something as of late in how people are conditioned when it comes to their biases. It actually took me coming clean with my biggest grievances when it comes to social media, politics, and social opinions. (I have to admit, it was rather cathartic too.)
So here’s how I tend to voice such concerns. I usually try to remain neutral and unbiased as possible when making commentary or opinions. If not, I make sure to call attention to both sides of an argument just to show I don’t choose sides and how both have their positives and/or negatives. I’m always sure to be as tactful and precise as I can be in voicing whatever it is I feel the need to say. Even if sometimes that does come across with some snark, depending on the mood I’m in or topic at hand. Because wording is such a touchy thing these days to everyone.
I also have a wide array of people I’m friends with; most of with redeeming qualities. They’re some of the most polarized people and aren’t afraid to show it. Being that social media is how we express ourselves these days, of course being that they do it from the comfort of home or on a bathroom break at work, it gives us more freedom to say what we want. This can both be a good and bad thing. If you don’t know someone well enough or know a bit more about them than you wanted to, it can make them seem like a huge douche. And even if you do know someone well enough and they seem like a well adjusted person, after seeing them on Facebook might have potential to eventually think they’re a douche. Watching and reading how these people behave and speak on Facebook says volumes.
What makes me sad and frustrated at the same time is watching people I know that are such great people have the worst brought out in them.
Knowing what I do about these people, I do understand why it is the issues mean so much to them. Both right and left alike. They both have strengths and weaknesses, yet neither one of them will admit when they’re right or wrong respectively. The right is accused of being too hardassed, and callous. While the right is accused of being too empathic and wants to coddle feelings. Both of these can be good and bad things; when it becomes extreme and constant from different sources is where it’s way too much. And that’s where everything lies now is in extremes. You’re either one or the other; there’s no in between. And if you are, then you’re obviously confused or stupid.
And here’s where it gets interesting.
Amidst the aether, between the right and left is this little place called the grey area. It’s neither blue or red. A lot of people seem to be afraid to go here for some reason. The grey area is scary to them because it means that here, their views might be called into question and maybe even having to think about things in an unbiased manner. And as we know, having to let go of a bias (even for a moment) means letting go of conviction, principles, morals, etc. People don’t like that though because it means sacrificing themselves and their egos won’t allow for it.
What people don’t realize is that you don’t have to completely abandon your personal point of view in order to see things more rationally and from both sides. And it’s okay to change your mind accordingly.
Lets take for example the biggest thing that seems to grind everyone’s gears on some level. Social issues. I’m sure I’ll wind up making someone angry or coming under fire for some reason or another for not seeing exactly from the reader’s perspective. That right there will tell me how biased you might be and I don’t even have to see you face to face or know you. How do I know this? It’s human nature to get upset about what we don’t understand or anything that defies our personal belief system. Factor in the concept of cognitive dissonance and there ya go! This is why understanding and communication are so difficult. It’s human nature; we don’t like to be wrong.
But I digress. Back to the social issues. When it comes to anything related to race, gender, LGBTQ, political correctness, and anything of the like that tends to get some feathers ruffled, that’s where the big “us vs. them” polarization and mentality comes from. I can’t seem to stress enough that I do get why some people might feel or think the way they do. And I have taken the time in the past and even present to do my best at understanding. People tend to virtue signal or just throw their opinions out there like dollar bills at a strip club. Again, we all want to be heard and understood. When people do speak their views these days, it appears to be under the assumption that everyone against your view somehow must be an -ist, -ism, or -phobic of some sort. Therefore, generalizations are made and we label someone as such. We spend so much time reading between the lines or “decoding” as it’s now called that we forget to actually listen and understand what it is someone’s trying to tell us. Emotions tend to run a little hotter when it comes to these sort of things because of it, causing people to be on edge. Even if they do understand, they’re still wrong somehow for not standing up, speaking with you, or even agreeing with you 100%.
It’s as if people can’t win and I think that’s the idea behind social justice psychologically; it’s designed to where you’re not allowed to argue with or even question. And if you do, then people talk in circles about the issues until someone just says “Okay, fine. You’re right”, is mocked/shamed into submission, or just walks away from the conversation/debate entirely.
On the other side of that, I can also see how because people actively look for microaggressions and other nit picky lingo, it has made people a little more sensitive to things they never were before. Don’t get me wrong; empathy is great! It helps us relate to people better. When it’s been taken to the extreme that it has been that everything is offensive to everyone is where I personally am not quite understanding. Of course, saying something like that will only have someone telling you to “check your privelege” and anything contrary to that makes you seem like an insensitive bigot, racist, sexist, etc. or whatever names are thrown about these days. It has made it much more difficult to voice opinions without being accused or labeled as something else when you’re nothing of the sort. Much less not exactly knowing what to say when there’s always something new that comes up that someone will take offense to. And it could be the most trivial thing that tends to trigger people. What might not have been offensive years ago, is now considered to be so these days. Yet much like their leftist counterparts, the right will still voice opinions just as often, strong, and boldly. Even if there’s potential for offense.
Back to that grey area I spoke of earlier and the topic of social issues. Because people tend to generalize one another to make themselves feel justified in their own world views, it’s what’s caused this social/political extremism. And I think we all know what sort of generalizations I’m talking about.
”White Christian Conservitards are all racist, sexist, homophobic, etc…”
”Bleeding heart, SJW Libtards are what’s ruining everything…”
“People play the race/gender/sexuality card to get their own way…”
“All men are chauvanistic, sexist, and want to keep the patriarchy going…” ”If she’s a woman, she obviously must be a feminist. And if she’s not, shame on her…”
“If you support LGBT and racial equality, you must be a liberal… ”You lack empathy and compassion for LGBT and minorities, therefore you must be a conservative…”
“If you don’t support all things conservative, you must be a libtard…” ”If you don’t support all things liberal, you must be a conservitard…”
And the list goes on.
The truth of it is, it all lies within the grey area.
Most of us though are too stubborn to even venture there because of this. Letting go of these generalizations means letting go of what makes up our convictions and changing the way we see one another. Not to mention, it may actually help us as a species in society if we really learn to give it our best shot and completely unbiased/taking off the social justice lenses and just learned to listen to one another instead of waiting to answer with some sort of snark or rhetoric to devalue what the other person has to say. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Will we as a species ever be able to let go of our egos long enough to listen to one another and find middle ground? That’s the trick, right there. Not to mention, stop letting Cheeto-in-Chief get you fired up on either end of the political spectrum or argument. It’s people like that is why we’ve become so polarized; he’s just exacerbating an already socially divided country. Stop feeding the troll with your hatred or stroking his ego with praise and he’ll go away.
In closing, I in no way am defending what either side might say, feel, think, or how they might behave. I merely just make observations based on conversations with others and observing other people’s habits when it comes to conversations and posts on social media. Make of this what you will and react, think, or feel how you see fit. Just be sure to keep in mind exactly how strong one’s ego and bias is in heated situations and debates; both yours and other peoples and the real reason why you both may never allow yourselves to see eye to eye.