I’m not one who likes to speak in generalizations, as I am aware that my personal experiences cannot exclusively represent those of the hundreds of millions of Americans. However, it feels appropriate to share my story at this moment. Let’s begin with a quote from conservative writer Charles Krauthammer. He would famously state that conservatives felt liberals were wrong, while liberals felt conservatives were evil. Let’s expand on this.
Again, speaking from experience, I have to attest the the fact that Krauthammer was onto something. It’s interesting what happens when I post a piece that’s relatively poignant. I’m typically flooded with quick dissent via colleagues who fall on the liberal side of the aisle. The rebuke is fast, long winded, and most interestingly, provides me zero opportunity to respond. The argument is presented in absolute terms. Across the aisle, it’s interesting to watch my outspoken conservative colleagues speak. They speak in educating terms. They’re usually presenting an example or two of hypocrisy, inaccuracies, or calling to light something that’s not being discussed. But, the argument is presented in much softer tones.
That’s where I believe Krauthammer was going with his quote. If someone thinks the person they’re delivering their message to is wrong, the presentation of their message will be relatively delicate. It is meant to be informative, and borders on persuasion. But, it’s certainly not going to be a harshly presented absolute. After all, anyone in sales understands you have to be polite while trying to educate the person you’re selling to, to convince them they’re in need of the product or service. High pressure sales is almost always a recipe for failure.
Think of the other side. They’re speaking in strong, long winded diatribes. I believe they think they’re educating us in the same way a conservative tries. But, I do not think they understand it comes across as talking down, and subsequently aggressive in nature. It’s a narrow presentation offering minimal, if any room for debate. The delivery is swift. The best example I can make is when you listen to those wacky pastors that yell about sinners going to hell. You know, they’re the ones who are usually panting because they’re so aggressive with their delivery. Why is that? Well, they believe their message is being delivered to those who are evil. He’s trying to save them from their evil ways, but he’s using fear as persuasion.
In my experience having discussions trying to educate someone who’s not conservative, as well as being lectured by someone who’s liberal, it seems Krauthammer was onto something. You’ll notice this often in debates between Republicans and Democrats. And, I know what you’re thinking. Let me stop you. Trump is the exception, not the rule. Think back to debates with Bush, McCain, and Romney. Compare their speaking style to the three most recent Democrats. Kerry, Obama, and Clinton. The three Republicans spoke softer than their opponents. They came across more jovial and loose. Even the best orator of the bunch, Obama, comes off professorial. Kerry and Clinton are often referred to as temperamental. It’s an interesting observation.
What does this prove? Well, likely not much because it’s not provable. In fact, it’s more stereotypical than anything, and I’m sure any liberals who read to this point are chomping at the bit to lecture me immediately with a long winded dissent. Like what I did there?
In short, ideological differences are one thing, but when it’s boiling down to one’s delivery, we have problems. It’s highly likely both sides who present arguments aren’t truly aware of how their presentation styles come across to their opposition. But, what if the liberal is innately thinking the conservative is the evil sinner who needs be saved like the pastor yelling at his congregation of evildoers. If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine lines will be drawn anytime soon to come to a truce.