Self-Defense of the Conservative Mind by Way of a Liberal Lens

I LIKE TO MAKE my arguments with evidence, the more facts to work with the better. On the weekend of May 19, conservative media personality, Tomi Lahren, who is only 25 years old, experienced an “assault and battery” while brunching with her mother at Minneapolis’ Union Restaurant.

Unfortunately, a police report was not filed – imagine that! – so, the available evidence we must use is of the “he said, she said” internet variety. For the point I wish to make, it is enough.

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Tomi’s Bad Day

Apparently, Ms. Lahren entered a modest, yet popular bar and grill. The price range is around $30 per plate. While dining, a small group of persons formed and began engaging Tomi because of her public statements on current event topics. Someone assaulted Tomi by yelling, “Fuck you, Tomi!”. [1] An unidentified person throws a glass of water at her head. That is called “battery”.

It is hard, at this time, to defend such “antifa”-like tactics. The country is already charged. So, this kind of “protest” is not helping inspire growth and change. The ridicule displayed on Twitter and social media does Fox News’ work for them. The talking points are reaffirmed, to remind their audience the frame: no one cares about your pain, white person.

Lahren says she attempted to stand up for herself by confronting the group amassed against her. Or, a video surfaced of this encounter. There is a bouncer who intervenes.

Whatever. I don’t know. There is no police report. Once there is a police report, we can have the conversation about justice. For now, let’s speak on protection.

Down the Rabbit Hole

The question I pose is: What is Lahren supposed to do in that situation?

In a private business, someone whom she does not know, assaults and batteries her. While she is a public figure, where does her privacy as a citizen of America start and begin? Is she accessible at every public outing? That doesn’t appear to be fair. Such a piercing level of spotlight is mentally unbearable. Some private time is necessary for health benefits.

Second, why did not the business owner step up and defend the Constitutional right of freedom of speech? Surely, Tomi can disagree with her neighbors, and still live. It is the question of the general public becoming used to seeing violence towards those who disagree with the general public that is at stake.

I propose the dominant fear inside the conservative mind is the erosion of social norms to the point of violence towards the conservative.

From said perspective, what is happening to Rosanne Barr is unacceptable majority rule to oppress a political minority. It is the media burning an “R” on her for racist, when she hasn’t done anything more than use her First Amendment rights to speak her mind.

Barr just re-booted her classic sitcom. It works because all the original cast members remain alive. The show is nostalgia. Considering how besieged conservative minds perceive themselves to be, Barr was a mental oasis. She reminded them that it is okay to be them.

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“There is nothing wrong with you. You are safe.” That is a powerful message. That is necessary message.

Please hear that. Please, please hear that.

Suggestions for Better Outcomes

For us to move forward – to address the divided mind that is purposely being festered – we must choose to engage each other in a different manner. It starts with listening and echoing back the argument you hear from the other person. If the other person doesn’t feel heard, he or she doesn’t feel accepted. Not feeling accepted creates the divide.

Do you follow me?

Insight Number One: In the late 1930s, a salesperson named Dale Carnegie wrote a textbook, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  The very first idea Mr. Carnegie attempts to hammer in his Reader’s head is: no one views themselves as the bad guy.

Let that sink in. Neither Tomi, nor Rosanne, view themselves as doing anything other than living their lives. In their personal storyline, they are Robin Hood. The “Liberal Media” is out to hurt them by fanning the flames of public opinion against them.

The “R”-label isn’t justified. She had the number one rated sitcom. Her numbers were incredible. She proved she had an audience for her show. She was making money for her television station. Why did ABC fire her because the public, not her audience, disagreed with something she said?

How is that fair? How is that tolerant?

Insight Number Two: Conservatives literally do not think like you think. According to cognitive scientist, George Lakoff, the American conservative mind believes that fierce competition and tough love brings out the best in an individual. [3] Rocky. Think Rocky.

In the Conservative American mind, opportunity is everywhere. Follow the rules of America and America will work for you. It is the failure to do things the way they are done here that causes failure. Otherwise, the system is built to produce a landscape of opportunity.

For the liberal mind, think The Pursuit of Happyness. Opportunity is not everywhere. The opportunities that do exist demand an extraordinary fiber of person to endure the conditions necessary to access them. The conditions making these demands are horrific. They do not need to exist. A better economy is possible.

Insight Number Three: Everyone likes the sound of their own name. What does that mean? It means, the goal of a political discussion is not to convert the conservative to your side. The goal of a discussion on race and racism is not to change the other person’s mind. The goal is to help that person implement their worldview. Call it the Dr. King Method.

During the Civil Rights Movement, he asked (White) America to live up to the idea of America. You can do the same.

When any subject is discussed, it is coming from those two polar opposite viewpoints: Rocky vs The Pursuit of Happyness. Hence, if you are a liberal speaking to a conservative, “gun control” is a horrible choice of words to discuss how to limit access of guns to those who aren’t responsible owners. If I am speaking with a responsible gun owner, I want to help him police gun owners without the use of government overreach. “Gun safety measures” is a much more effective term.

To be one with him or her, i would construct an argument using I choosing to pepper it with the ideas of personal responsibility, meeting a moral standard and the rules of gun culture.

Inspire Number Four: America is traumatic. You read the news. The conservative mind is just as traumatized as the liberal mind by the dizzying pace of the modern world. No one is thinking. Even the most mature of us are reacting to, more than planning what, is happening. At some point, we have to acknowledge the battered person who is attempting to survive in a strange world, which keeps changing – by the hour.

People want relief. Provide that for them. After you hear them vent, share with them how the news landed in you. There is no point in contesting what they say. Let them be right. Remind them in every way that you can they are in safe space. Otherwise, you are fighting a fear-freeze-flight response. No argument can penetrate a chemical wall aimed against it.

So, to conclude this three-part series, the biggest way to reduce arguments with conservative minds is not to have one.

Words by Kokayi Nosakhere

 

  1. https://www.theroot.com/tomi-lahren-has-drinks-thrown-at-her-during-hip-hop-bru-1826253182

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