It’s pretty straightforward – and decent, and the right thing to do – to condemn what happened yesterday in Washington, to listen to all the statements, and all the stern comments, and the grave finger pointing, and even the angry positions on the serious thought and intellectual imbalance that led to the misguided attacks.
Yet as it happens, so many times we rush into finding the guilty party, the catalyser, the manipulator of events and facts – when we should go way beyond that. A lot of voices point towards the last four years of fake news and deep fakes where the lines between facts and opinions are as blurred as they have come to be non-existent. But this is not the cause, it’s just a symptom of many. For instance, it was all so intellectually stimulating to superiorly and massively laugh at and dismiss people who quoted Facebook or Twitter to support their beliefs in the so called birther movement, or the reasons for not wearing masks, or how immigrants steal local jobs.
But how many of us stopped to think as to why people have such belief and conviction systems? Outrage and disbelief mix and mingle on liberal social media and are voiced and phrased as utter surprise that there are such people who still support Trump, who storm the Capitol, who think that a pandemic is a fake, or that the Earth is flat for that matter.
However, why are there such people? Or better yet, why do people think all such nonsense? I wager it’s the lack of education
This was the question I was asked by a loved one when I was telling him my recent trials and tribulations at work. The boss was a man, and he was probably a misogynist in the original sense of the word: he abhorred he had to deal with women, treat them with at least a feigned form of respect due to social norms, and thus show such consideration by implementing said social norms through deigning women with the occasional hello, good-bye, and thank you. Of course, all that turned up once you had the ill luck of getting to know him.
He was young, smart, and successful. He had travelled the
world, he liked books and movies, and he was interested in the trendy-fashionable
left wing politics, dressed highly casually, and was not least of all what
would generally be considered a socially charming person: he was perfectly able
to have a witty conversation, show interest in his employees’ personal lives,
offer advice and even help to some extent. He did voluntary work, had his
eco-friendly collective farmers’ group and was genuinely interested in all
things hip and not mainstream. The glass house was a perfect mirage.
He could have easily fitted into a pro choice or women’s rights demonstration. Only he didn’t. You spend enough time with someone, the honeymoon is soon over and the haunting truth starts to leak out of the fairy tale and dawn on you with its ugly dark face. It took me longer to realize it all, and I like to believe it was because I had never come up against anything not even remotely like it.
My fall was steep. But my friend’s question – if you were a man wouldn’t you be a misogynist, too? – made me wonder.