“Whataboutism” And The Degradation of Social Discourse

By Brandon Gazdag

We’ve all been taught that you shouldn’t talk about politics or religion when breaking bread with fellow human beings.  It can lead to disputes between the closest of friends, and this is why most of us are wary to bring up our personal opinions (unless of course you are on social media).  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  

We are being conditioned to keep these thoughts to ourselves lest we be attacked (usually verbally), and this is leading us down a path that Orwell predicted in 1984.  People will do the bidding of Big Brother and keep others in check when they get out of line, so to speak. Outrage culture is becoming more and more popular thanks to platforms like Facebook and Twitter where someone can access anything you have posted, many times out of context. They contact family, friends, and even employers to try to harm you socially or financially when they don’t like what you have to say.  

The majority of the citizens of this country no longer consider freedom of speech a priority. This should be alarming.  The people who want to keep the little freedom we still have are being pushed onto the fringes of society and labeled outcasts in order to be on “The right side of history” in their own words.  But this may be doing more harm than most of realize.   

Whataboutism. Since our last federal election, the Democratic Party’s focus has been solely on removing President Donald Trump from office without giving any sort of viable explanation.  The narrative seems to change whenever it gets stale and this is becoming increasingly more prevalent as we near the 2020 election. We have been through numerous unsubstantiated claims such as Russia being the culprit behind Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat, obstruction of justice on the hand of The President, and even extortion of a foreign government in return for dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in order to bolster his campaign for 2020. 

I don’t want to focus too much on the 2016 election as it has grown tiresome, but unlike what many are claiming to be sexist intentions behind votes for President Trump, the truth is clear.  Hillary Clinton thought she would have the easiest challenge she ever faced in 2016 and got a swift reality check. She failed to campaign in the Midwest swing states, choosing high priced fundraisers instead.  Another downplayed motivation for voters not showing her support in the last election was her brazen mockery of how she was behind the coup in Libya. She stated on television, “We came, We saw, he died” referring to the gruesome death and public sodomy of Muammar Gaddafi in sociopathic fashion.

But anytime someone brings up a valid criticism of the Trump Administration, his supporters are quick to bring up the actions or words of others that have been otherwise accepted as normal by most people.  This is detrimental to the cause. It comes off as nefarious or deceptive to the person you are trying to persuade and more times than not will make them just stop taking what you have to say seriously. 

Respect is the glue that holds social interaction together. Without it, any sort of conversation will quickly crumble.   This is not an endorsement of any political party or agenda. We should all be able to freely express our opinions and ideas without being called names that we would not want to be called.

Next time you’re tempted to use a ‘whataboutism’, I challenge you to take a step back and come up with something better.  Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship with them, and respect them for forming their own mindset instead of blindly following others they place on a pedestal. Let’s make discourse civil again.      

Follow Brandon on Twitter @bgazdagwriting

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