I recently saw a social media post from a young lady who I respect greatly. She was railing against the “racist” President Trump for his response to Charlottesville. She finished her response with “…I HATE HATE”, and “…this s— has to stop…” I am not here to defend Trump. While I do not believe he is a racist, he missed an opportunity to bring the country together. Just like Obama missed multiple similar opportunities by what he said after high-profile cases where African-Americans were killed by police.
My interest is the double-standard. Recently, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat state senator from Missouri, called for Trump’s assassination after the events in Charlottesville. Where are all of those who “hate hate”? What if a white state senator had called for Obama’s assassination after his response to various events during his administration? No question that person would have been immediately run out of office, threatened, and branded a “racist”.
I suspect though, that many of you just won’t buy that argument. After all, what Trump said was “outrageous” and secretly you approved of what she said. It was his fault. His actions justifies her emotional response.
Another double standard. That is no different than those who dismiss what the vile white-supremacist did in Charlottesville when he ran over the protestor and killed her. They will say, “…well the counter protestors started the violence and did not have a permit”, so implying they are at fault. If you believe that the white supremacist who ran over the protestor is 100% responsible, like me, than nothing that Trump said can justify what Chappelle-Nadal said.
The current emotional response to Charlottesville to rip down every statue of Robert E. Lee is another great example. I wonder how many of you know that Arlington National Cemetery was Robert E. Lee’s estate up to the start of the Civil War. If we are going to remove every statue of Lee, what about Arlington National Cemetery? How many African-American war heroes are buried there? On grounds that possibly slaves once walked on? Rather than using the statues as a way to have a rational discussion, we are now in a new world of mob rule fueled by social media, the 24-hour news cycle and unchecked emotional responses.
When it comes right down to it, we are all self-righteous moral hypocrites. That is the basic theme of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. When something happens, our raw emotion comes first as that part of our brain operates at orders of magnitude faster processing speeds. Then we try to rationalize our emotions, and find “facts” to support our position. We also are “groupish”. We want to be accepted by whatever group who we happen to identify with.
There are some absolute truth’s, in my opinion. For instance, it is morally wrong to kill another human for no reason. But so much of what people expound as “truth” is really their “truth”. It is subjective opinion influenced by their worldview. Each of us form a moral worldview over many years. It is influenced by our culture, how we were raised, what we have experienced, and even the generation we grew up in.
For anyone concerned that we are simply talking over one another, rather than rationally debating the issues, you should read Haidt’s book. And for all my liberal friends who are thinking “…yeah this is probably a lot of conservative mumbo-jumbo”, think again. This book was written by an academic, liberal, atheist. That is someone I would not normally agree with it. And while I do not agree with everything, it is a very objective look at how we think.
Jeff Groh is a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. He believes more often than not, both sides of the political spectrum agree on the ends, but it is the means that fuel disagreements, with the far right and left resorting to name-calling rather than a pursuing a rational debate on the issues, trade-offs and unintended consequences. He is also District Captain in NC 113 for the Convention of States Project. His consulting company, New Product Visions, helps companies improve their innovation management practices, and he is passionate about the creation of economic value and prosperity by restoring our country’s manufacturing base. Want to email me? firstname.lastname@example.org