Part of the political content that lately makes me uncomfortable about discussing political things are the gotcha posts. Someone makes a mistake and another person on the “good side” catches them in that mistake and cuts them down in epic style. (We call it “owning.”) The one I saw prompting this post was a name redacted Facebook post where someone was glad the GOP is going to end Obamacare but did not realize their ACA insurance would go away as that is from Obamacare. It ended with the “friends” gloating about the post still being up and not deleted after getting owned so hard. I also have seen interviews where Fox News, Daily Show, John Oliver, and Tomi Lahren all shut down someone who was on the other side. It is easy find people on our side who does this kind of thing to people on the other side.
And easy to adopt a superior feeling at catching the people on the “bad side” in their mistake. The thing is people on the “good side” make mistakes too. Both (or all) are doing this to each other over and over in a perpetual pointless cycle. Catching a person in their mistake is going to make them more invested in their side not less. Because they know they made a mistake, they are going to become more invested in proving the other side is wrong.
Both sides are making the other more committed because of this activity. Neither side is getting the other to convert over getting embarrassed online. Conversations between strangers in forums or public spaces are all about catching mistakes to embarrass each other. Friendships on opposite political sides have devolved into replicating this activity, such that it is more important to prove friends wrong than discuss to understand new perspectives.
I am tired of this. I am sure others are too. I bet they thought their side winning the election would end it. That was a mistake because it just means the losing side wants to push harder to prove they indeed still have the moral high ground. And the winning side will push harder to prove they indeed have a mandate to govern. It solves nothing. Growing empathy works leaps and bounds better.
This sat in queue for a while as I tend to let some posts marinate. I ran across this LinkedIn story where a woman let board members think she was the secretary and man coyly asked her for the expert opinion to shame their sexism and felt the comment below by Fred Patterson more eloquently expressed my last point:
This will be my last post to this and as I write I know I shouldn’t continue. I am so confused by what I keep reading. People are so offended by this mistake or misguided move, but yet they revel in it. Joy in the train wreck that is sure to leave someone injured. This is why racism, sexism, etc continue. It is the voyeuristic delight and if it were ever gone that delight will be as unacceptable as the slight was. So many posts of jubilation and so few of TOLERANT understanding that there are people that need guidance. I’ve learned those lessons in my life from coworkers, my sons, someone I’ve never met. They didn’t take joy in it they took time and humbly helped. I’m convinced that the vocal minority doesn’t want this to end because they would have to sit idly by until a new issue appeared. Be kind. Be helpful. Coach. Mentor. Most of all set a great example for others coming up in life. Good luck.
So… Instead of reveling in each other’s mistakes, lets kindly help each other.
UPDATE: Part II