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I’m writing this post for anyone on the Left who might be curious about the political Right. Not for your leaders or political elites, but for you: the everyday person who believes the stories and the rhetoric of the Left, and feels that those on the political Right are to be feared and condemned.
But before I tell you why I don’t care about your feelings, let me tell you about myself and how I suspect you might feel about me.
I’m a Conservative. I live in a quiet community with friendly neighbors who join together to decorate our street for the Christmas holidays.
I like to read the news. I read books mostly about current events. I love dogs and watching TV shows about Alaska and veterinarians. My friends are people who raised good kids, and now in their later years, indulge their grandchildren. They often visit them because they have the time to do so.
Some of us love to cook; others dine out. We get together at Thanksgiving and have a neighborhood Christmas party. Some of us are couch potatoes; others fight off the challenges of aging by getting exercise at the gym.
Some of the guys play golf. Some of the women do, too. We bring meals over when people are unwell. Some of us go to church, others don’t. Some of us take vacation trips; others are homebodies.
In other words, we are ordinary people. In many respects, we are just like you.
We are not white supremacists.
We are not domestic terrorists.
We are not racists.
We want to live our lives in peace; isn’t it your deepest wish to do the same?
But I have come to believe that goal doesn’t ring true for you, at least not at a conscious level.
You trust in your feelings to make judgments and decisions.
You think those of us on the Right are cruel because we rely on not only feelings but on reason.
You hate this country, not for what it has become, but because you think we must bear the guilt of our country’s history, forever.
You want those of us on the Right to take the responsibility for every disappointment, poor decision, and crisis simply because you have become convinced that we are the best people to blame.
Your blame is not connected to evidence, facts, or truth but upon fear and hatred. It is also convenient and easy to blame us, and your feelings confirm your dissatisfaction with our country for not being a perfect place. You feel the country, and those of us who love this country, are guilty. Of horrendous crimes.
* * * *
By relying on your feelings, however, you are living a life of delusion and unhappiness. Feelings can be wonderfully satisfying in certain contexts. But when you rely on your feelings, you create a narrow and limited pathway for comprehending your life. Data outside of your feelings is deemed hateful, non-compassionate, and destructive.
When are feelings a satisfying and appropriate indulgence? When we embrace our friends and families. When we cook our favorite meal. When we make homemade chocolate chip cookies and eat them when they are still warm. When we are overwhelmed with joy at a child’s first birthday party. Even when we grieve the loss of a friend’s passing, our feelings allow us to appreciate what life offered him, and has offered us.
That experience of feelings is a personal investment that allows us to fully engage with our lives in an intimate way.
But it is not sufficient for making important decisions, to explore the pluses and minuses of the world around us; it ought not to be the sole way for choosing our friends and our aims in life.
If we limit ourselves only to our feelings, without expanding our life’s experience with information, or with resources that challenge our own ideas, preferences, and biases, we are locked into a mindset that will isolate us, making our lives ugly and dark.
I’m not suggesting that you use only reason to make your life’s choices. Nor am I saying that relying on your feelings is a poor approach.
I am saying that if you rely solely on your feelings without expanding the way you see the world, the way you see the political Right, the way you see me, I am compelled to make a choice.
I can’t make you change your mindset.
I won’t change my own view of the world.
As long as you indulge your feelings to justify your hatred, your attacks on America, and on our citizens, I will condemn who you are and what you stand for. I’ve made a heart-wrenching choice.
I choose not to care about you and your ideas.
And I couldn’t care less about your feelings.Published in