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It's OK to Call Out Bad Behavior on Your Own Side

Ken Bone

Posted on August 13, 2019 08:40

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Tribalism has taken root so deeply we're afraid to condemn bad actions committed by our own "teams."

Over the past few days we've seen several instances of bad behavior from our public figures. Go ahead and save that last sentence. You'll be able to use it again soon, I guarantee it. What troubles me is not so much the actions themselves, but the tribalistic way that people react to them. This is nothing new, but it has really stuck out recently.

Here's what I mean. Most of us have seen the recent video of Chris Cuomo threatening to throw a heckler down some stairs. The heckler is a jerk, by the way. I'm not going to defend that behavior. The reactions to this video are predictably split. Conservatives view it as assault, while many progressives see it as Cuomo standing up for himself. Switch out Cuomo for Sean Hannity and it's a virtual certainty that we would be having the same discussion in reverse.

Another example is how President Trump (it's so hard to pick just one Trump example) publicly mused about using an executive order to force social media platforms to censor anti-conservative speech. All too many conservatives are touting this as a step toward "fairness" while others view it at a potential curtailment of free speech and a serious overstep of executive power.

The point is this, we need to get back to a place where we see it as OK to call out the bad behavior of people on our own political sides. Stating that Cuomo threatening violence is wrong should not make you feel as if you are no longer a "good progressive." By the same token if you have conservative values you should be very concerned about any potential threat to the First Amendment coming from the President.

We have fallen into the trap of thinking that we have to defend people who side with us simply because they usually side with us. However, political affiliations are not sports teams, no matter how much we portray them as such. You do not have to root for the people who wear the same colors as you.

Defending our values rather than our figureheads is the mark of true belief in our ideologies. Does this mean we have to cancel people over their mistakes? Of course not. It does mean that we should be recognizing those mistakes, calling them out for being wrong, and sticking to our beliefs instead of to our fellow believers. It's time we start judging actions instead of names.

Ken Bone

Posted on August 13, 2019 08:40

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