I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with America these days. Or not. Hell, I’m just some random person on the internet. That being said, I do have a theory:
I think we’ve suffered a breakdown in discourse. We can’t talk to each other about issues anymore. No longer are there reasoned arguments over the details of our political landscape.
You’re probably saying “Duh…” — and you’re right, but I think I know the core reason for all of it. The root cause, if you will. I think the issue is that somewhere along the line, we stopped being a culture that complies and conforms first, then argues for differentiation, and we became one where the first reaction upon encountering something that doesn’t jive with our feelings is to disobey, protest, fight, and scream over our opponents. We’re no longer a melting pot, where we all slowly assimilate to each others’ cultural norms — we’re a salad. A salad that’s been in your fridge for 3 weeks after you forgot about it in that takeout bag from the Italian place down the street. You know, the one with the brown lettuce and runny tomatoes.
As a fairly conservative guy, I’d love to point the finger and blame the phenomenon on a group like Black Lives Matter, or Media Matters, or Bernie Sanders… but I think it goes back further than any of those, and I think the right side of the spectrum is equally involved and culpable.
In fact, if you want me to be honest, the best example of how it should work came recently in a local school district. They had a transgender student that wanted to use a different locker room. The student did not just walk into the opposing locker room and start using it, then claim discrimination after being tossed out. Instead, they went along with the rules as they were, then petitioned the school district to make a change, and eventually got what they wanted. Do I agree with the outcome or the reasoning? Not necessarily, but that’s for a different blog at a different time, but I have to admire the willingness to work within a calm, reasoned social structure to get things done instead of just going straight for shock value and trying to create a crisis.
Instead, though, in every other case it seems the first reaction is to protest: Walk out of school, block roads, unfriend people online, whatever. There’s not even an attempt to actually discuss anything — we just go from zero to sixty and pretend everyone we disagree with is crazy and there’s only one true way, and it’s our way.