We think that explaining ourselves over and over again and spending a lot of energy to understand the right-wing will help us get along. Were invested in the idea that showing them we care about their views even claiming we respect irrational views will win them over.
And when these things dont work, we blame ourselves, our lack of listening skills, our lack of empathy, our neglect to spend enough time, or our failure to articulate clearly what we mean. We treat ourselves as the guilty party in the debates and actually, though wed never admit it to ourselves, end up looking down on right-wingers and their dupes as if theyre mere victims of ignorance, misinformation or illogic, not as actors who make choices and cling to their prejudices no matter how we argue.
No wonder that the right-wing thinks liberals look down on them.
Theres still a moveable middle that wants to see unwavering initiatives by progressives who stand clearly, powerfully, and convincingly as real believers in what they say. Wishy-washy - acting uncertain - wont work with that middle anymore, and certainly it wont if were progressive people working out of some guilt that its somehow our fault.
The right-wing knows how to respond so that people will feel that their problem is actually their antagonists fault. And peoples backgrounds, childhood upbringings, and unhealed issues feed into how much it triggers them to blame themselves.
There are certain strategies that the right-wing (and others) will use words and phrases that say one thing that makes their liberal enemies fall into guilt, into belief that liberals are the problem and need to put more energy into useless arguments.
If weve not done it by now, then, its time to translate what theyre saying into its actual meaning so that well act positively and compassionately out of creative power and not take responsibility for right-wingers failure to respond as we think.
You arent spending enough time figuring out what we mean and thus should listen forever to our sources.
Baloney. Theres no need to listen more closely to right-wingers (especially members of the Trump cult). You should know what they believe by now; they have nothing new to say.
If anyone finds something new and unpredictable, that will be a surprise, but I'll bet we've heard it all before. Garbage in/garbage out.
FOX News and right-wing hate radio will only keep you angry and upset (Look what theyre doing now!). They know that, and their goal is to do exactly that to you.
This means that hardly any new mean, self-centered, hypocritical thing they do should surprise us anymore. Hypocrisy is built into their lifestyle to keep it going.
Weve got to be ready for the hell theyre willing for the rest of us to experience. Their misery loves company it makes them feel that theyre ultimately right when theyre actually full of doubt about it.
Youre not listening to me. You dont understand me.
They hope this will cause you to try harder because youll believe the continued disagreement is your fault.
Again: baloney. When right-wingers claim liberals don't listen or don't understand them, they're saying they're saying that until you agree with them theyll not accept that youre giving them a fair listen or understanding. You must change your opinion to satisfy them.
The Israelis and Palestinians do understand each other. I, in fact, disagree vehemently with the right-wing on most issues, because I understand them.
So, don't expect more indulgence to change their argument that you dont get them. What will change it is when you change your position to agree fully with their view.
You liberals talk down to us.
We are if we think the problem is their ignorance of facts that we know.
But again: baloney. When they say liberals talk down to them, right-wingers mean that liberals keep using facts and careful, peaceful language. Liberals will be accused of talking down to them until liberals agree completely with them.
And, by the way, no one talks down more to those they disagree with than right-wingers ex. We patriots. We true Americans. We Moral Majority. We Christians.
You dont get the logic in our positions.
Baloney. The current right-wing mindset isnt based on rationality or logic. It's about supporting prejudices by any means possible. The more liberals argue as if cool rationality will work, the more they will be accused of talking down to them.
Remember, right-wingers are not caught up in their ideology because theyre stupid or just don't understand something you have to tell them. Theyre caught up in something like the comfort of a cult that has teachings that support their prejudices and fears what George Lakoff calls the conservative frame.
As such, right-wingers will lie, reject anyone who points out that theyre lying, and defend their heroes no matter what they do - unless its same-sex relations with children.
And right-wing religion supports all of this if it makes them winners in their righteous culture wars. Look at their view of the end times, which includes their salivating about the violent, vengeful destruction of their enemies. The key to right-wing religion is experiencing and seeking the high of righteousness that means winning at all costs.
Were being persecuted by .
Malarkey. Right-wingers love to play you so that you believe theyre the victims of you and your liberal culture. No matter how theyre in power, theyll always talk like a persecuted minority.
The current office holders, including President Bannon, arent dumb or lacking in some understanding of democracy. They know how to use the minds of their devotees and liberals to get their oligarchic agenda across.
Dont fall into their guilt-inducing mind control. Its them, not you.
Realize that when youre confronting them.
© 2017 Robert N. Minor
Robert N. Minor, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas, is author of When Religion Is an Addiction; Scared Straight: Why Its So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why Its So Hard to Be Human; and Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society. Contact him at www.FairnessProject.org
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