I’m going to be honest, I feel suspicious when I get welcomed into another end of the political spectrum with praises that I’m now on the right side.
I think it’s great that some of us are able to come together and put aside our differences to stand up for the fundamental freedoms that we deserve. But that is often overcrowded by the “Us vs. Them” mentality that turns this into a battle rather than a discussion.
It’s such a stretch in logic to believe that anyone is on the good side. When someone implies I’ve been “red-pilled” or that I’m “woke” I assume there’s some level of sarcasm. But I know that isn’t the case from everyone who says it.
What we project out into the world is the tip of the iceberg and to think someone understands as much as you or that you are an authority on pointing it out, is only an assumption.
I’m sure it’s deeply ingrained in all humans to be in a group with like minded people. We can be ourselves without constant conflict, we feel safe, and we like being comfortable. I don’t believe any of these reasons are mutually positive or negative.
But I know from experience that I can’t find “my people” by joining a group based on a few commonalities. The excitement runs out when I remember that I’m the only person living my life and the only person that’s logically going to stick with me is myself.
“Deep within every human being there still lives the anxiety over the possibility of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the millions and millions in this enormous household. One keeps this anxiety at a distance by looking at the many round about who are related to him as kin and friends, but the anxiety is still there, nevertheless, and one hardly dares think of how he would feel if all this were taken away.” Søren Kierkegaard
I’m not saying I don’t see the humor in all of this because it seems like we’ve had this mindset since the beginning of time and it won’t be stopped.
But the negatives are something to consider.
“Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements” founder, Laird Wilcox specializes in the study of fringe political movements across the political spectrum. He has compiled a list of 21 extremist traits that could point to any ideology and causes self-reflection.
Individually, we’ve all been guilty of some of these traits. Expecting anyone to be self-aware enough to avoid things like, not providing adequate proof for assertions or name calling for their entire lives seems impossible.
Most people want to use their voice for good and in doing that, we get emotional. Sure, the “right” complains about the “left” being overly-emotional but it’s ironic considering how angry it makes them.
The idea of groupthink, which is mentioned in the book 1984, is now something being used by both sides to prove their narrative about the other.
“Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.”
It isn’t very hard to point to a large crowd of people and find inconsistencies when generalizing groups on one side and taking up for people we don’t fully agree with on the other. But at some point, a conversation needs to be started.
“Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.” Benjamin Franklin
Through all of this, there is hypocrisy in telling someone they’re wrong. Hypocrite and wrong. Two things that no one likes to be called but all of us are at some point.
To think we have to expose every inconsistency we see is exhausting.
Two ways we deal with this are humor and self-reflection. They really go hand-in-hand considering the more honest we are about ourselves the more ridiculous we seem.
“Each of us is full of shit in our own special way. We are all shitty little snowflakes dancing in the universe.” Lewis Black
Ultimately, it comes down to the individual. The moment you start looking outside of yourself and want others to change is when you’ve joined them.
If I’m being honest with myself, everything I’ve fallen for that isn’t true is my fault and if I start looking for a source to blame I’m only wasting time and ignoring the lesson.
I have a hard time believing this is even possible to constantly achieve but I always remember it when someone welcomes me into a group full of people I know nothing about, individually. I like talking to like-minded people but I can’t forget the mob mentality that can come along with it.