There is a man from my high school years who has become a Fox News commentator. He lived in Seattle previously and he developed the argument that Critical Race Theory is the root of our social problems right now. President Trump responded and his theory about Critical Race Theory took off.
As his ideas took off, he also took off. He left Seattle and moved to a smaller community, away from the city, where he could do his commentating without feeling shunned.
I have thought a lot about this because I think it speaks to something at the root of the problem in our society. Namely, that we are isolated from what we are describing when we become conservative activists.
But it goes deeper. I realized that liberal activists are equally divided from the conservatives they critique.
We are siloed. Atomized. It is not good.
I was recently reading a conservative magazine and a liberal commented harshly against the conservatives in a way that could have been very damaging. While I didn’t agree with the conservative, I still defended him publicly from this needless shaming.
When I read conservatives though, I also find myself arguing on behalf of gay people that the conservatives don’t realize that they are writing about without understanding. If you believe marriage is between a man and a woman and you’ve never had same-sex attraction, or experienced gender dysphoria, then really you should have more humility when you talk about these things. The Bible says man and woman, but in the New Testament it also says there’s no longer Jew nor Greek nor male nor female, but all are one in Christ. How can all of these rules be biblical when the Bible itself contradicts itself? Or can’t it be both / and?
But even as I write about this problem in conservatives’ view, I myself am positioning myself problematically, enacting the behavior I am criticizing.
I don’t know how to get around it. I think the problem is empathy, a lack of empathy. And also the fact that non-fiction proliferates. There is no longer a cultivation of the literary imagination. Or there is only one-sided cultivation of the imaginary. We must have compassion for one another.