Obnoxiousness makes most reasonable people retreat. The loud voice with invectives makes it impossible for dialogue that is not more than one-sided. So most will decide it is not worth the engagement. This is the methodology of the right (and some on the left): shout with passion and act as though that makes you right. Gather up dialogical tricks to win an argument; shout: you are using the race card, I am the true patriot, I am the most connected to God, and so forth, while the Left is determined to win the other sides’ minds and hearts (let them be heard, every opinion matters, etc.).
Race is a problem in this country. The race problem becomes more exasperated in a divided country. But we are not as divided as some would have us believe. One side of the arguments is 18 – 20 percent of the country. There is 55-60 percent of the country on the other side. There is a changing or non-ideological group of 20-25 percent. But the majority of us have similar views. Certainly there are variations here and there but more gun control is desired by 55 to 67%, gay rights are approved by 70%, DACA recipients should be allowed to stay in the country 80+%, over 60% think the wealthy and corporations should be taxed more, even abortion rights is supported by 57%. So a significant majority of the general population are in agreement on most issues. This becomes even more pronounced in the next generation and the minority populations that are becoming a majority in another forty years, as all of the above numbers are increased. So at this point in history we are in the majority and we are moving toward even greater majorities in the future.
So why is the minority view holding so much sway? There are three reasons. 1) the now defunct false equivalencies philosophy 2) the right’s what I call win at all cost and whatever it takes philosophy 3) the left criticizes sometimes mercilessly their movements. The right let their leaders shoot people in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not a peep from their followers would be heard,
So we feel a need to provide platforms for even the vilest opinions of the right. The Nazi opinions do not have to be included alongside other opinions on national television. It is okay to marginalize their voices. Because in truth they are a very small population in our country. And put that alongside of the fact their message is against the basic tenets of our society. I should not see them on television or any other media as much as I do. And they definitely should not be put in situations that make it look like their views are on a parity as civil rights leaders. The same goes for deniers of climate change, deniers of evolution, or any other debunked pseudo-science. To create a debate when there is no debate is not freedom of speech. I do not need to hear or see a debate on if the world is flat.
The second reason is the value of [is this the correct form of the word? Is there pugnacity?] pugnacious. It is using shouting pejoratives and constantly claiming you are more patriotic, more Christian, more everything that is good than the other side. The shouting is also mixed with a zealous passion. There are no flat affects here. We can never give ground because our cause is so pure and the very world is depending on us for salvation. Hard to argue with that. They are not about creating community. They are about winning.
The third reason is the left criticizes their movements and leaders mercilessly. We want perfection. That is in the utopian DNA found in the left. Our leaders must agree with us on every issue. Our movements must be flawless in every action. While I generally agree with this I disagree with the idea that we are choosing between the lesser of two evils. This kind of talk causes a slow deterioration of our cause.
So how do we engage with all the rancor that only cares about winning and not concerned about creating community? We organize our superior numbers into a community. This is what the recent Parkland student-led gun regulation march and the Women’s March on Washington were about. Secondly, we vote our superior numbers even in states such as Alabama where we may not have the majority. But know this: the demographic and philosophical changes to our way of thinking is growing. Thirdly, we do not engage in debate with ideas that have been debunked. We get our message out and debate how evolution happened and not if it happened.
It is true: in the end we have to respect the right of minorities and at the same time promote our agenda. But we do not have to over-expose minority opinions for the sake of interesting television. We need to stand by our man or woman until they cross the line of no return. But mostly we need to rejoice in community, creating it wherever we can and know that in the end at least for the near future we are the majority.