It was a tumultuous week politically — generated by the raucous goings on at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — and while I don’t expect the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to come close to the noise made by the Republicans, it will nevertheless be interesting.
But it will all be for naught.
It has become abundantly clear that no one is listening anymore. We are so locked in to our own point of view, that we dismiss anything that challenges it as twisted, partisan or outright lies.
Here’s an example:
A friend simply shared on Facebook The Associated Press’ fact-check of Donald Trump’s convention speech (AP Fact Check: Trump resurfaces debunked claims in speech), with no comment other that “Love my former employer.” Someone immediately commented saying something about “open season on police” and how they were not safe under President Obama, and what could you expect from the AP liberal media. (I’d quote it exactly, but keep reading.) To call the AP “liberal” is laughable, but that’s another discussion.
My friend then cited statistics about why that wasn’t true, how police deaths have actually declined under President Obama, etc. And I chimed in that the exchange was an example of how no one listens to facts which contradict what they want to believe.
To which came the reply: “Yep. I knew that joining this conversation would turn into an attack. So I’ll just take down my comment so I don’t bother anyone.” (I can quote that ’cause it’s in the email notification I got from Facebook.)
Attack? You’ve got to be frigging kidding me!?
Attack? Being presented with contravening information?
Attack? How about, instead of withdrawing, bolstering your point — for example you could argue, perhaps, that recent events make the historical trend irrelevant.
But no, the response is to say “I’ve been attacked,” and leave the conversation.
And this, my friends, is the real threat.
I confess to being in a bit of an echo chamber myself. While I am willing to listen to reasoned discourse, even that has pretty much disappeared, so my various newsfeeds and timelines generally reflect a left-leaning point of view.
There have been several quotes and/or posts which have echoed this in recent days.
Posts such as this.
So the question becomes why bother.
Well, for some inexplicable reason, there seem to be about 20-25 percent of the voters out there who are still undecided (according to the latest figures I can find, but those are pre-RNC).
So perhaps there should be a sliver of blue or green in that image above, so while I started writing this to say I won’t post any more political stuff, I’ve now decided that maybe just a little won’t hurt.
There is one thing though (and yes, I get the irony, maybe even hypocrisy): here is nothing, NOTHING, you can say that will sway my vote in this presidential election. There’s too much at stake, and while Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are not perfect — they are the only reasonable choice. There is no “reasoned discourse” for the other point of view. There’s only hate, bombast and ego. The choice is so clear I have no comprehension how those undecideds remain so.
The Washington Post said it best in its front page editorial: Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy.
Pretty much sums it up.