By Jay McAdams
What Roger Ailes understood a couple of decades ago when he started FOX News was that if you have one opinion and offer an opposing view, people will tend to compare those two opinions as if they’re equal, even if they’re not both equally valid points-of-view. Since the so-called presidential election, pundits have been saying that Dems didn’t listen to the very valid points-of-view of red-state voters feeling left behind. That may be true. But it doesn’t mean that the red-state voters who think Trump is great, who think that the Russians are our friends, who think we should dismantle our government, who think we should do away with ethics rules and norms, who believe regulations are bad things, who believe that global warming is a left-wing hoax… just because millions of mostly uneducated Americans believe these things it doesn’t mean that these points-of-view are intellectually or morally equivalent to the opposing views. And in fact, they are not.
What has been frustrating the Republicans for decades is that their world-view is out of touch with the rest of the world. There is no liberal bias in the American media. The liberal bias is in the world, not in the media. That’s just how the rest of the world thinks today. Yes, there are places where people still hate gays. But those places are rightfully isolated from the civilized world. There are places in America today where the “N” word is still used freely, but those places are out of touch with the rest of the country which has made that word taboo. Just because some places in the South didn’t get the memo, that doesn’t mean that their antiquated POV is morally valid today. These two opposing beliefs are not of equal moral value in the 21st century. The view that we should be free to discriminate on the bases of race or gender or sexual orientation or nationality is not a moral one either, but it has gained red-state steam in the past year.
I have a hunch that fewer conservatives have passports than liberals. Because when you travel the world and talk to people from other countries, you begin to better understand the context of your life in the U.S. It makes you see the areas in which all people are the same. While if you’ve never left the country, it makes sense why you might feel threatened that foreigners are taking over. But these two positions are not equal. One comes from an informed place and one comes from a place of ignorance.
So let’s debate for real. With common sense. Let’s compare apples to apples and have the courage to call it out when people try to compare apples to oranges. All things are not equal. Red does not equal Blue. Religious values are not necessarily moral values. There are more than two ways to look at things. How about a move to get every American a passport and urge all of us to travel abroad for a little dose of global context? With Trump celebrating Bastille Day in Paris, the days of Freedom Fries are gone and conservatives are free to go to Paris. Or Rome. Or Madrid. Or Mexico. What conservatives would learn if they listened to the rest of the world is that the rest of the world is more liberal than they are. It’s not just MSNBC. It’s the entire civilized world that they are out of sync with in 2017. Just like the Taliban. Just like the klan.