Society Needs To Stop Worshiping Political Neutrality

Society Needs To Stop Worshiping Political Neutrality

Some people have no choice but to take a stand.
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Some people seem to engage in political discussions only to tout their own neutrality. When asked whether they lean left or right on the political spectrum, these people shrug and place themselves directly in the middle.

They take pride in being the arbiters of extremism, perched as they are outside the whirlwind of passion and stubbornness that is most political activity in modern America.

Using their own detachment as the metric by which to judge all political involvement, they become troubled when others get aggressive or defensive when discussing politics. Online, they can be found trailing behind controversial articles and social media posts, issuing reminders about the Golden Rule.

The fortress of moral superiority from which this critique occurs is built on the premise that everyone would choose neutrality if only they gave adequate thought to the disadvantages of being politically hot-headed.

But this is an overly simplistic view that romanticizes apathy and rewards the privileged. Because that is the uncomfortable truth about total neutrality: it is only possible when you are insulated from the immediate effects of political decisions.

From this protected vantage point, it seems that everyone else, vocal and upset, is being unreasonable. Hysterical. Over-sensitive.

Neutrality proponents, having therefore developed—and denounced—an association between politics and intense emotion, ban it from their dinner tables and break rooms in favor of other, less incendiary, topics.

For those directly impacted by politics, however, having more pleasant conversations is not an option.

Nor is translating their visceral reactions into the calm, reasonable dialogue expected of all worthwhile political discussion. They use crude language. They fling insults. Their rhetoric gets ugly.

And all the while, there is an Internet referee suggesting they just calm down and have a rational discussion.

Commentating from their self-imposed exile to the middle of the political spectrum, the neutrals like to remind everyone that the voices on either side of them are equal. All opinions, they say, deserve equal respect.

Certainly, self-expression is a constitutionally-protected right and should not be denied to anyone. But the fallacy lies in assuming that because all opinions have an equal right to exist, all opinions have an equal right to receive polite treatment.

They don’t. No opinion has the right to go unchallenged. And no opinion has the right to be sheltered from the negative reactions of the people it targets.

If those people respond with verbal aggression, so be it.

But in the minds of opinion equality advocates, the original opinion, if expressed politely enough despite its harmful nature, is coded as right, the response attacking it is coded as wrong.

There is a certain haughtiness in nitpicking the words used to convey a message instead of listening to the message’s content (a phenomenon commonly referred to as “tone policing”).

Sure, when it doesn’t matter to you whether the message lands or flops, inspires a change or gets buried in an Internet graveyard, it is easy to single out what does ignite an emotional response in you: whether or not the writer is using mean words.

But those who advocate for neutrality need to consider that the point of politics is to be incendiary. Without lighting a fire, how can we burn down what has broken? Without raising our voices, how can we call for change?

Sometimes, doing this means hurting feelings.

If you’re privileged enough to boast of being neutral, be thankful that you’re being hurt by mean comments about a political policy, not by the policy itself. Some people aren’t so fortunate.

Cover Image Credit: Travis Gergen // Unsplash

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value

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There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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