Jul. 19, 2015

Murder as Political Dialogue

I follow a number of people on FB who have strong political, and largely opposite ideals, from each other. I actually share a large part of both of their values and many of their beliefs. And they are mostly friends or acquaintances. What I don't share, with either side, is the unrelenting and public focus on their own narrative to the exclusion of the opposite narrative, which contains the other half of truth. My guess is that in private conversation we could easily come to an understanding.

But FB is not private. What we see is what we get. And that fact has implications for political discourse.

The latest (apparent) polarization occurs over the two Southern massacres in Chattanooga and Charleston. One side reports Charleston and is outraged; the other reports Chattanooga and is equally outraged. It is as though each is saying, "When you kill my people, it pisses me off. But when yours are killed, it doesn't matter all that much." I know that these folks are too reasonable for any such conclusion to be actually true. But it's FaceBook, for Pete's sake. If you have it, show some balance and compassion.

 Here’s my two-cents: A real problem is that we are moving toward a society in which murder can replace political discourse. Of course, public safety is an issue, and so is the bigotry of both extremes, which seem to quietly tolerate murder of the other side. Let's focus on a whole problem rather than half.

Mike