“There’s a simple solution to every human problem; neat, plausible and wrong” H.L. Mencken
Two questions: How many people unfriended you this election cycle? Pretty easy question to answer, I imagine.
How many people did YOU unfriend this election cycle? Pretty sure you can justify both, especially the ones you did.
Now that the election is over and since we’ve seen how the post election division is actually worse than what we’ve already seen, at what point does the unity both sides talked about come into play?
Here’s the thing about “evidence over emotion”.
Evidence is, ideally, objective. Emotions never are. An abundance of evidence should represent effort and deep thought. You didn’t just google Daily Kos and HuffPo (or the Blaze and Brietbart) and come to the conclusions on your own (Or something like NowThis or any heavily edited 30-second Facebook video.)
Emotion is what causes people to cut off friendships over political opinions, it is also the reason we are caught up in one hysteria after another.
Think about what the media has told you is going to be the end of the world for the last several years. ISIS, SARS, Bird Flu, Ebola, every study says cancer is hugely likely and will kill you at 30, everything’s open season on free speech or minorities (or indeed, white people if we look at the early days of every violent outburst we’ve seen.) Zach just turned me on to a video from HuffPo (naturally) that edits several videos of Trump talking about how some elements of success are genetic and tied that with a random PBS video to say essentially that Trump secretly supports eugenics. It’s insane.
Forget the fake news craze, it’s merely an attempt to see who wants to make the first blatant claim to objectivity, and every participant in that game disqualifies themselves with their recent history and certainly their current behavior. Any embrace of objectivity will not happen overnight, or even over a few months. A return to true objectivity would require, among other things, a realization that disagreement Is. Not. Hatred
Also, look beyond the worst aspects of the candidate you don’t support and don’t ascribe them to people who voted for that candidate. If everyone who votes for Trump is by definition racist, than it stands to reason that everyone who votes for Clinton is insidious, hypocritical, dangerous and untrustworthy (likely because they have a public opinion of you and a private one)
That said, it means anyone who votes for Johnson is a pothead, so if we’re gonna play that game, I guess I come out pretty easy, if a little smelly.
A quick note on objectivity. You’ll notice that everyone seems to have discovered the concept all at once, but nobody has made any real moves towards it. Why is this? Because objectivity sees your flaws and your opponents, it doesn’t celebrate the pros of one sides over the pros of another. It just says “This parts better, this part is worse”. Objectivity requires that the individual stop taking their beliefs so seriously, quit with the self-actualizing and “With us or against us” crap (There is -always- a middle ground. Nobody is obligated to believe the same things you do as strongly as you believe them.)
Before we wind up, if your opinion means so much to you that you will break off friendships and indeed stop listening to people who don’t hold your views, then I have two questions for you
A) What hope is there for you to be someone who unites people to a common cause when your first instinct is to cut people off when they disagree with you?
B) As I’ve asked several times before…what if you’re wrong? What if everything you’ve done in the name of a perceived threat or what was ultimately a logical fallacy or an ill-advised approach to a problem fails and you further damage your cause, your friendships and whatever else you can destroy in your zeal, and you either lose sight of the goal (the movement becomes about you), don’t achieve the goal (because your approach was violent and hateful) or the goal is only achieved through the methods you disagreed with so angrily (and thus destroyed relationships with people who provably had the better solution the whole time) There are some things you can’t just walk back or ignore and hope they get better on their own.
Question B brings us to the next major danger of emotional investment in an idea or belief in what you think might happen: There IS a point where you become so emotionally invested in being right that you almost WANT it to be that way so you can say “I told you so” to every friend and family member who doubted you. I’ve played that game years ago when I was a deeper cynic than I am now, it got me nowhere and has hampered what I’m doing today. So what’s it doing to you? If what you believe in affects more than just yourself, where is this mindset of “everyone who doesn’t agree with me is the enemy” really going to get you? More personally, do you REALLY BELIEVE something is going to go horribly wrong that you are working to unite people and take steps to avoid it or defend against it or has being right become of such great importance to you that you NEED it to happen so you can tell those hateful doubters you used to call friends and family to shove it?
Evidence over emotion is simply the idea that one can gather clear evidence and make a case so strong that to resort to insults and attack makes it weaker. How much of the discussion between your friends has been of that nature? Researched, rational and open.
If you become offended in the idea of someone opposing you but can’t rationally articulate why and yet you declare them to be the problem, you’re dealing in emotion. Passion without restraint is anger.
Keep it clean, civil, logical and researched.
And for the love of God, read your articles and not just the headlines. It does show when you do that.
-Evidence- over emotion. Always and completely.
Evil exists. Prepare for it, fight it, defeat it.