I posted this on my other blog — the one I use for longform writing. Figured I’d share it here: On Pet Tigers And Sexual Assault
My general life philosophy is that we’re all human beings, and we just need to learn to communicate better with each other. This philosophy does not, however, preclude the possibility of there being actual biological differences between different groups of people.
No, we are not all the same.
Yes, it absolutely does open up a huge can of worms to even consider that there might be basic biological differences between, say, the different human ethnicities (yes, I am aware that “race” and “ethnicity” are often social constructs; no, they are not always social constructs), or the different genders (yes, I am aware that science is now realizing that gender is fluid; no, that doesn’t mean there aren’t different genders).
When you vilify your opponent by presenting the most extreme, most irrational position from the other side, it’s easy to feel smug and believe that your position is the obvious one.
The problem is, doing so only diverts our collective attention from the issues that actually matter. Think about it this way: If you truly hate our current president, and you oppose every policy he has and every inch of his very being, how does this little anecdote help you advance your cause?
There are assholes on both sides. So we can either fixate on this tiny percentage of assholes and paint everyone on the other side as such. Or we can accept that most people on both sides of the political spectrum are decent human beings, and actually try to reach across the aisle and engage with them.
If you’re a liberal, you might be following the latest election polls with a tiny bit of glee. After all, Donald Trump’s favorability ratings are plummeting. If you’re part of the Never-Trump movement, that’s great news, right?
Actually, no. As disastrous for Trump as these numbers seem to be, consider their flip side …
I’ll even wager that you yourself have friends you didn’t realize are Trump supporters. If you discover one, don’t shame them. Ask them, sincerely and openly, how they came to their decision. Because the ones who are least vocal about their support are probably the ones with the most compelling reasons for actually supporting him. These are the people who get what an asshole he is, yet believe they still need to vote for him. These are the people you should be engaging.
That’s how you change minds, you know. By connecting to them. Not by pounding them into submission.
A Clinton Presidency represents the old establishment winning yet again. A Trump Presidency represents the people throwing a giant, orange-skinned, tiny-handed middle finger at the establishment.
A Sanders Presidency would have represented the possibility of change, to me at least. Because Sanders is enough of an outsider to challenge the establishment, but also has the experience to maybe, just maybe get something done within it when necessary.