Missing the Point
Conservatives are missing the point. You can get all your facts right and still miss the bigger picture.
I was talking to a co-worker the other day. I mentioned something about diversity and he starts talking about how unfair affirmative action is. He doesn’t get it at all. Racial diversity is a teeny part of the diversity picture. There is also sexual diversity (attraction and identity) and religious diversity. There may be even more types. The words that flashed before my eyes were “Aggrieved White Male.” He’s pissed and thinks Trump is likely to win again. Good luck with that. Even if his arguments are correct, he is missing the point of diversity: people have different perspectives for very valid reasons.You can argue with someone’s information, but there is no arguing with actual, real, lived personal experiences.
Then there is my dad. He believes Fox “News.” He has no respect for legitimate news sources. Fine. Even if he gets a few facts correct (which I saw zero evidence of), he is still missing the point of the new reality. What is the new reality? Millenials outnumber Baby Boomers. Whites are becoming a non-majority very quickly. Parents and their children dying while crossing the Rio Grande spark well-deserved outrage. I saw no compassion in my dad. It scares me. Economic injustice matters, There are a gazillion jobs, but none of them pay anything. Climate change matters. The weather is becoming more extreme every year. My dad is too busy defending the sexual-predator-in-chief. The big picture has escaped his notice.
It all reminds me of being a conservative, evangelical Christian. Back in the nineties, I decided to read some Francis Schaeffer. He was a very important intellectual Christian back in the 1950s and 1960s. I don’t recall what book of his I attempted to read, but I did not finish it because it was too painfully boring. It was obvious that he was bending over backwards and going to great lengths to answer questions I had never heard anyone ask. He was extremely articulate–and totally irrelevant. It was like listening to a family friend go on and on about a subject you never inquired about. You want to be polite, but you cannot make yourself care about some abstract topic that has no impact on your everyday life.
There is this Christian leader that I read the blog of sometimes, Albert Mohler. He is a Southern Baptist. He is very articulate and connects the dots better than any Christian I know. One of his recent blogs went on and on about the philosophical history of “intersectionality”. Intersectionality is the idea that we all belong to different groups that affect our perspectives. For example, I am Midwestern, educated, straight, female, widowed, working-class, white, Buddhist, ex-Christian, etc. My lived experience is going to differ radically from that of a black, Muslim, gay newlywed living on the east or west coast. Duh. Mohler was criticizing the historical roots of intersectionality. Missing the point. His critique of its historical roots is irrelevant from the perspectives of the various groups of people that are simply trying to understand and have some compassion for each other.
Conservatives can live in their bubble. I don’t have that option and neither do most of the people I know.
Compassion is what it’s about. If conservatives cannot comprehend that, they will be left behind very, very quickly. Like so much else in my life, this is really hard to watch. It hurts me to see my Christian friends and my conservative family getting swept aside by historical forces that are bigger than all of us. Denial doesn’t help. It never does.