Earlier this week, I read a story in which a group of Brooklyn grocery store goers “lost their minds” when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” came through the store’s sound system. While David Marcus may have exaggerated or had a biased view of people’s reactions, I couldn’t help, as a Southerner myself, but be intrigued by his story.
Marcus connected the shoppers’ reactions, namely wanting the music turned off, to a larger problem of disconnect between many liberals and the rest of the country. Personally, I’ve witnessed some of that disconnect that some Northerners have for we Southerners.
Of course, while that dividing line is often perceived as North-South, this last election revealed the divide is more coasts-inland. Sometimes, it just seems as though the people of New York and Los Angeles are breathing different air than those of us in Valdosta, GA and Colorado Springs.
Presidential election cycles greatly illustrate the fact that the United States is embattled in a War of the Worldviews. The Left and the Right have different values. We need to realize and admit that, but we need to do so in a way that doesn’t lead to outcomes like this:
The Left can’t continue living in a world where everyone who disagrees with them is wild and/or racist. Showing disdain for the “other half” of the country will only engender the disdain of that other half. Even if the Left were correct about every issue, that tactic wouldn’t win them any friends, and only a friend tends to have the ability to influence a person’s thought. It takes a special kind of person to learn from (rather than simply criticize) an enemy.
Aside from losing an ability to influence, however, the Left also runs the risk of becoming morally corrupt when they frame their enemies as “deplorables.” When a group views themselves as morally superior in every way, blind spots quickly form and their decision-making becomes fraught with missteps. While Colin Kaepernick has garnered a lot of attention for his protesting in recent months, one sports reporter recently confronted him and revealed, at least to a certain extent, his hypocrisy, and the quarterback becomes one of the higher profile examples of moral corruption on the Left.
To be sure, this principle swings both ways, and the unfortunate truth about our country is that both the Left and the Right have been consumed by this corrupting way of thinking.
The greatest example of this, as I’ve previously written, comes from the Religious Right. Religious leaders cannot simultaneously disavow homosexual sexual behavior, not decry the blatant, sexually-predatory comments of Donald Trump and avoid the (appropriate) label of hypocrite from those on the Left.
If we don’t start thinking more charitably about those who disagree with us, then the divisions will only continue to widen. Both our leaders and we as a people will become morally corrupted and, eventually, morally culpable.