29 May 2018

Liberals, It’s Not About Being Nice

The hand-wringing about whether liberals should be more accommodating misses the point.

The fact that a story about Republicans in Raleigh imposing their will on localities that disagreed with them, and then losing an election as a consequence, fed a narrative about Democrats fatally overreaching on identity politics is, in fact, perfectly emblematic of the dynamics animating punditry about the attitudes and dispositions of liberals and the left.

Political commentators generally take very little interest in thinking through the implications and consequences of arrogance and condescension on the right. How often are Republicans told by centrist surveyors of the cultural scene that they might benefit politically from reaching out to enthusiastically pro-choice young women, that the fire-and-brimstone approach of calling supporters of Planned Parenthood pro-infanticide and symbols of the fall of man might be counterproductive? How much respect for ideological opponents is evinced whenever conservative pundits call the activists of Black Lives Matter thugs and black Democrats dupes?

American political journalists are still wired to view a nonrepresentative subset of white people somewhere out in the middle of the country as baseline Americans who cannot talk down and can only be talked down to.

Osita Nwanevu