Over the past few weeks as I watched the Kavanough hearing unfold, I couldn’t help but reflect on how divided and critical everyone seems to be today. Maybe it is because I am getting older, or maybe it has always been like this, but it is shocking for me to see how quickly and easily one person can become the scapegoat of some group’s agenda. The moment someone sticks their head out, their entire life becomes fair game. This hearing is incredibly emotional for a lot of people, so let me just say that I am not here align myself with either Kavanaugh or Ford. I am here to preach a stance of moderation.
Personally, I have friends in the entertainment world who are incredibly liberal, and friends in finance who are extremely conservative, and neither group is willing to entertain consideration of the other…at all. Each side of the aisle has their own facts and interpretations, and both are quick to call the other side wrong. The moment an individual behaves in a way that serves the other side’s agenda, a witch-hunt begins. Moral archeologists take to someone’s past like they might discover that one note, one witnessed interaction, or one statement that irrefutably proves they are right. I have watched it happen to both Kavanaugh and Ford, and it is terrifying. Taking something small and expanding it to suit an agenda is always harmful…for everyone involved. Once you begin looking for something in order to confirm a bias, everything will start to look like evidence.
Years ago I heard someone say “I want to hear his or her side of the story before I respond.” There are not enough people doing that right now. Instead, people are taking an imbalanced or partial story, and running with it in order to enforce what they already believe. I don’t want to sound too dramatic here, but that’s how Nazis were created. In fact, we don’t even need to look internationally for examples of this phenomenon. Throughout America’s history, everything that we have grown to be ashamed of, from racism to sexism to homophobia was born of popular opinion, which decided that some group was wrong. When agendas begin to trump justice, injustice becomes the norm.
The worst part? The people calling the biggest fouls and taking the most aggressive stances here are the ones violating moderation the most – on both sides. No one is in the middle anymore. People made their decisions before any investigation was even done, and further investigation just digs them deeper into their trenches.
So instead letting your opinion echo the opinion of the group you align yourself with, try to get above it all. In fact, try to argue the opposing team’s side. If you find you can’t, then you need more information. And this isn’t only true of the most recent Senate trial – try to do this for every controversial topic you encounter. If you can see both sides of an issue in everything from personal conflict, to business disagreements, to national news, then you will undoubtedly become a calmer, more understanding person. And right now, we desperately need people like that.