Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Straw-Manning of The Left And The Right

After this past election, it seems like the left and the right have become even more divided than it already was. Not only in the house and the senate, but among non-politicians who hold any kind of political opinion. It is an unfortunate circumstance, but if you take an objective look at things, it is quite easy to see why it occurs.

One of the main reason, especially among millennials, why we are so divided is that much of what we see from either side is straw-manning. Straw-manning is a phenomenon I've been noticing quite a bit over the last few years, especially on social media. Unfortunately, social media is having a growing impact of people's political beliefs, and is really having an affect of people's ability to think critically. It seems to be far to easy for people to let clever yet misleading meme or a viral video of someone spewing non-sense change their viewpoint on an issue.

Lets start with the right. I see straw-manning coming from the right more-so than from the left. If you have conservative-leaning friends on Facebook, you have likely seen posted and shared content about how cowardly and entitled they think all "liberals" are. It is getting away from valid arguments for legitimate political issues and concerns up for discussion, and attacking the liberal straw-man, who are a bunch of whiney hipster college students who need their safe space and are completely naive about many of the serious issues we face. Although this may be true for a small segment of young liberals, many people who lean left on issues simply see the blatant error in some of the ways of the right, and feel that the more liberal stance on some issues are far more rational.

It is not just the right that does it, I have observed it from the left as well. One big example of this is how many liberals feel about people who voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election. Instead of genuinely trying to understand why someone would vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, they are straw-manned as a racist xenophobic bigoted whatever. There seems to be absolutely no understanding of the notion that people saw Hillary Clinton's record as a corrupt corporatist shill bought out by wall-street with very little policy substance on her campaign trail and felt more compelled to lean towards a non-career politician. As much as I don't agree with most of Trump's platform, and acknowledge how hypocritical his actions have been during his time in office so far, I can see the appeal from the view point of his voters during the election. The American middle classed blue collar worker saw him as someone who would represent them, as opposed to a candidate who was sure to represent the corporations and wall street above all else.

What I'm trying to say here is that people need to take more of an objective look at given situations. Not all liberals are whiney entitled hippies, and not all Trump voters are racist bigots. Take a second to understand people's thought process, try to understand, and engage in civil dialogue. If we do not do these thing, further division is inevitable.

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