During this unique –let’s also admit tiresome and turbulent— Presidential election cycle, the differences between the two sides is more apparent than ever before. Within the two different ideological belief systems, there are many patterns that clearly show the difference in the supporters from each side.
I don’t think I need to explain (but I will) that there is obviously indifference within some on each side, and there are extremist on the scales of ideological conviction as well.
Meaning, someone may identify as a Democrat or Republican, but not really know why. While others might be so entrenched in their beliefs that they feel motivated to go to extreme efforts to win an unwinnable war of conflicting ideas with actions like protests and the like.
In full disclosure, I consider myself a well informed conservative with extremely strong beliefs and opinions that are often the polar opposite of a liberal.
I have noticed a big disparity in how each side looks at a problem, and addresses that problem. It’s in this observation that I have found fault in my own thinking, which I’ll explain.
Here’s the observation I have made:
Liberals base their views and actions around the emotion they feel about an issue or problem.
Conservatives base their views and actions around logic and fact, rather than feeling.
Of course this is a generalization, but there are plenty of instances that back this theory up.
One current example would be the shooting of “unarmed” black men by police officers.
A liberal learns of another “unarmed” black man being shot and killed by an officer of the law, and their emotions take over and a reaction from that emotion becomes fact in their mind. They think about how horrible it is, and agree with the oppressed black victims shouting about the systemic racism in our country and that white people are the problem. Because of the emotion they are feeling, opinions that reaffirm their feelings become fact. When their formed opinions become fact in their mind, nothing can change their mind –not even actual facts.
Are they wrong? I used to say, yes. Key phrase is “used to”.
A conservative learns of this same event, and says; “Last time this happened, when the facts finally came out, the narrative was wrong and the police may have been justified. So, I will wait to see the facts, before determining whether or not this was racially motivated.” Then as with the most recent shooting, the facts paint an entirely different picture than the narrative that is causing all of the outrage. “Oh, the unarmed man was actually armed.” The conservative at this point may then become annoyed at the liberal outrage, and provide facts to a liberal (usually online) to show them how wrong they are. Then the liberal calls that conservative a racist, and the division between the two grows deeper.
Basically, no one wins. Ever.
In regards to the recent shootings, I went searching for evidence that proved or disproved that there is a factual disparity in officer related shootings of black people versus shootings of white people. Maybe there was a reason to be outraged, though my deep distrust of a media that portrays their own agenda as news (right and left outlets), led me to doubt that conclusion.
What I found was evidence that completely contradicted the narrative that black men are shot at an alarming rate compared to white men.
In Harvard Professor, Ronald G. Fryer, Jr.’s study; An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force, he sought to prove the racial injustice in the police shootings of black people. Being a black man himself, he was absolutely shocked to learn that there was no disparity at all. In fact a white man is more likely than a black man to be shot by a police officer, when all the data is analyzed.
Ah Ha!!! I was right and the liberals were wrong! I should post a video of a white unarmed guy getting shot to further illustrate how right I was!!
Nope, we both are wrong.
The studies website is linked above and here: (http://scholar.harvard.edu/fryer/publications/empirical-analysis-racial-differences-police-use-force).
Here is the Abstract of the research:
This paper explores racial diﬀerences in police use of force. On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than ﬁfty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities. On the most extreme use of force –oﬃcer-involved shootings – we ﬁnd no racial diﬀerences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account. We argue that the patterns in the data are consistent with a model in which police oﬃcers are utility maximizers, a fraction of which have a preference for discrimination, who incur relatively high expected costs of oﬃcer-involved shootings.
While there is no disparity in shootings, there definitely is a disparity with non-lethal physical force. My logical response would want to research the factors that cause this disparity and prove that they are related to something other than racist cops.
(Note: According to FBI statistics, 40% of cop killers are black. If you account for population and other races, that number becomes a staggering majority. This might explain some of the trigger-happy fear that police officers have when confronting black men)
This is the point that I realized something very significant about my thought process.
I learned how uncaring a strictly logical viewpoint can be. This way of thinking does not allow empathy to be present, because every reaction has a factual reason to have occurred. If it can be explained through facts, then the emotional response to it is nullified in our minds.
Frankly, it dehumanizes people into logic and facts, which is extremely sad.
While I can still argue the validity of whether a person should feel a certain way, if they are feeling that way based on false narratives and nonfactual portrayals; does it actually change how they feel?
Is there not some truth, if even a small bit of it, that justifies their feelings?
Who am I to judge someone else’s life experiences and tell them how they should or shouldn’t feel?
I think we all know the answer to these questions, which is… I should have compassion for anyone that is hurting. Whether or not I think it’s justified has nothing to do with their feelings and/or situation.
Does this mean I have to change my entire ideology?!
Do I have to become a “bleeding-heart liberal” now???
The answer is… absolutely not.
I can still attack problems with logic and reason, based on facts. BUT, I need to recognize that feelings mean something. I need to look to the “why” a person is truly outraged to find the REAL problem to solve. I should comfort those in need of comforting, and empathize with their plight.
Are police shootings racial motivated, nearly never. That is a statement based on FBI statistics and the study linked above. Yet, my involvement in the discussion shouldn’t be done yet. I cannot wash my hands of the issue, if the other side still feels hurt, scared, outrage, or any other feeling because of the issue.
I need to use facts to attack the truth behind the outrage, instead of proving that outrage to be unjustified.
I can theorize all day about the reason black people feel oppressed, but from this day forward, I will refuse to not recognize the emotion behind the reaction being witnessed.
I will seek facts, and then understanding in a compassionate way. I will never be perfect in this endeavour, but people deserve my respect and love. Not just those who I think are factually correct or justified in their beliefs.
If emotion is what speaks to the liberals, then conservatives need to fight the false narratives, and bad policies conjured up from emotion, by presenting emotionally fueled logical solutions. We need to speak their love language.
We need to speak with love, empathy and give-a-damn.
We need to be proponents of change, rather than railing against the ones doing the change.
Emotional policies have been proven to fail, and logical policies are nearly impossible to garner steam enough to pass into law; BUT what if the two became one? What if we take the strengths of each and combine them to achieve logical polices that solve problems that cause suffering? Maybe that is the bipartisan legislature that we need.
A merger is needed.
Will it ever happen? Not until one side changes their tactics, which leaves me with little hope.
It starts with the only person I can control.
We’ll see if others come around…