Political Bullying

Something fiction does an excellent job of is showing the dangers of self-righteousness.  I’ve spoken about how portrayals of religion in fantasy in particular lack nuance and often makes believers into radicals.  However, concerning the radicals themselves, fantasy and science fiction do an excellent job of warning us of self-righteousness.  From what I’ve seen it is often those who are least aware of their own short-comings who are the most sanctimonious.

Recently I came across this story about a boy who was bullied because of his last name being Trump.  How many of those kids doing the bullying did so because they had moral objections to the current president of the United States?   Now before anyone says it, I acknowledge these are kids.  How many adults do the same thing though?  I can’t honestly say that either political side has respect for the opposite belief system in the adult world either.  Since the election in 2016 there has been bullying on both sides from so-called adults.  The perpetrators justify their actions by saying they are standing up against evil.  They disagree with a politician and see that as a license to treat the other side as badly as they perceive they are treated.

Have we gotten so blind as a culture that we cannot see bullying anymore?  Let’s take Trump as an example.  No matter what his behavior is, it doesn’t justify you treating someone who voted for him like trash.  What moral high ground is there for you then?  You have none.  The same goes for Republicans too who bullied Hillary and Bernie supporters.  Don’t think I’m just harping on the Left because there are no innocent sides in this issue, Trump just happens to be the easiest example since there is such a visceral hatred for him.  I’m not saying I don’t understand why people would be upset with things he has said or at his supporters.  The truth is both Democrats and Republicans have vastly different ideologies and approaches to things and their base tend to have vastly different beliefs.  Therefore, it is understandable that the other side would be upset, angry even.  However, this bullying of those who voted differently is no different than the story I linked above.  You cannot claim moral superiority when you hate people who think different than you and chose not to forgive them.  Sure, you can choose that route, but hatred and grudges only hurt you not the people it is aimed at.

In fantasy we see what happens when those who zealously follow a religion, politics isn’t really any different.  For some politics is their religion and they will live or die by their ideology.  We cannot base our happiness, or our character choices based on who is in office.  Dislike the person voted in all you want.  Believe what you believe, even do it passionately, but do not let that dehumanize the other side.  That statement still stands even if the other side doesn’t treat you with dignity.

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