The political divide. What separates us?

Do you really know what the other side thinks? A recent survey suggests that neither side does.

But as with many other observations that “both sides do it”, there is an imbalance. It’s not equal.

Mentioned links:

Think Republicans are disconnected from reality? It’s even worse among liberals

Man says he was beaten in NYC for wearing MAGA hat

Oh, That Time When Clinton Said Anyone Who Doesn’t Accept The Results Of An Election Is A Threat To Democracy

49% of Democrats Think Trump Voters Are Racist

Media Claim Trump Is Racist For ‘Infestation’ ‘Rat’ Tweet About Baltimore. These Videos Tell A Different Story.

Notable “Consider This” episodes about guns:

Episode 197: Can You Legislate Away Evil? The Las Vegas Shooting

Episode 127: The Consequences of Painting With a Broad Brush; the Colorado Springs Shooting

Episode 125: The Paris Terror Attacks

Episode 121: Good Guys With Guns, and the Root Cause of Mass Shootings

Episode 120: The Guns of Oregon

Episode 26: An Effective, Time-Tested Solution to School Shootings

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Show transcript

What do the two sides in this political debate really know about each other? We may know what we believe, but do we know what the other side believes? If we don’t, then accusing them of something they don’t actually think serves to drive the sides even farther apart. How sure are we that we know what they think across the aisle?

According to a study done by the think tank More in Common, we shouldn’t be so sure. Broad brushes are something I’ve criticized on this show before, although I have a feeling I have made use of them at one time or another. So how big is the divide? The survey asked Democrats: “How many Republicans believe that racism is still a problem in America today?” Democrats guessed 50%. It’s actually 79%. They also asked Republicans how many Democrats believe “most police are bad people”. Republicans estimated half; it’s really 15%. Also according to the survey, the more extreme your own opinions are, the more likely you are to think the other side also holds extremist views, and that works on both sides. And the more politically engaged a person is, the worse it gets. That hits a little close to home.

So just as with saying that all people of a particular race think or act an assumed way, saying the same thing about people in a particular party is stereotyping and pre-judging that is on par with racism. That goes for both sides of the political aisle, but I’m particularly concerned about the violence against people merely wearing MAGA hats in the past two years, and it seems to me that the kind of animus that drives racists also drives these Leftists to beat up someone, not because of the way they look, but because of their choice of headwear. When person of color Jahangir Turan is beaten up for wearing such a hat, what do you consider this to be? If you take the hat off, some might consider it racist. Put the hat back on and…then what?

Well, you might say, “These were just some dumb kids. This doesn’t happen the more educated you are.” But guess what; more education doesn’t help either. Well, it doesn’t mean you’ll go out and punch somebody, but as far as attitudes go, the more highly educated Republicans were no better in determining what Democrats thought than poorly educated Republicans. But this was even worse for Democrats. Turns out the more education they had, the less accurate they got. According to the survey, “This effect is so strong that Democrats without a high school diploma are three times more accurate than those with a postgraduate degree.”

I got this information from an article in The Guardian; yes, that very liberal UK Guardian. The writer, Arlie Hochschild, gave some suggestions as to why this might be.

Particularly among highly engaged Democrats, I think many are in grief. The recent losses have been hard to absorb: the presidency. The supreme court. The Senate. A majority of governorships. And of states in which the governor and both houses of the state legislatures are controlled by the same party, 22 are Republican and 14 Democratic.

Remember when Hillary Clinton said that if Trump didn’t accept the result of the election that it was “a threat to democracy”? Turns out that, yet again, the Left accused the Right of something that the Left then proceeded to actually do. They’ve spent over 2 years resisting. It’s they who are beating up people who think differently. Or they’re kicking them out of, or harassing them in, restaurants. Or kicking them out of bars, and when they sue, judges are upholding that sort of discrimination.  During 8 years of Obama, was there anything happening on the Right to this level of prejudice and discrimination? Here’s a hint: No.

In related news, and speaking of broad brushes, and confirming the More in Common survey, Rasmussen polling asked people if they agreed with this statement, “Vote for Donald Trump, and you are a racist.”

OK, now consider this for a moment. What do you guess that the numbers are? What percentage of various voters thinks that if you voted for Trump, whatever your reason may have been, you are de facto racist?

Of those who were Republicans, 13% agreed with that statement. There’s you’re rather extreme Never Trumpers, for sure. Among independents, the number was, as one might imagine, higher, at 23%. So what did you guess the percentage of Democrats was? If you guessed half, you’re close, really. Fully 49% of Democrats believed that simply voting for Trump proved you were racist.

Where is all this coming from? Well part of it comes from another bit of broad-brushing. That same survey found that a third of Democrats think it’s racism any time a white politician criticizes a politician of color. Never mind the merits of the criticism, never mind what the criticism is, you must speak well of people of color at all times or they call you a racist.

So it’s easy to see that, if someone has that mindset, they see racism everywhere. Even when Donald Trump tweets how bad the neighborhoods in Elijah Cummings’ district are in Baltimore, it’s racist. And apparently, in that one-third of Democrats, there are a lot of news media folks who called that tweet racist. There’s a link in the show notes to some examples of people who claim to be completely objective and who also see racism everywhere.

And pretty soon, the term is completely meaningless. If you watched the movie “The Incredibles”, you may remember the bad guy Syndrome’s line detailing his motivation. He’ll give people the tech so they can do heroic things, just like the super heroes that he hates. Because [when everyone’s super, no one will be]. What we see here is that a good chunk of the Left, instead of rooting out racism, is simply calling everything racism. Actual instances of racism get drowned out, lost in the sea of accusations. After a while, when everything’s racist, nothing is racist. Like the boy who cried “Wolf!”, the villagers will stop listening, tuning out the white noise. No pun intended.

And ironically, I believe this allows real racism to increase. It will grow while we tire of chasing after every accusation that turns out to be simply disagreement with our vote, or our hat.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about the shootings that occurred during the weekend of August 3rd and 4th. We should take time to grieve for the families of the victims before we get political about them. It’s heartbreaking and evil. There are indeed no political solutions to hatred, which is where the root cause is, but I think there are ways to reduce shootings, and I’ve linked in the show notes to 6 previous episodes of this show going back to 2013 talking about it, so I won’t go over that again here.

But meanwhile, Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital temporarily stopped accepting patients that same weekend because they were at capacity with trauma patients. Are gun laws working there? Before we get political about this, please consider this.

Filed under: Partisanship