The daily news is filled from edge to edge with non-stop debate. The debate is all about the upcoming 2016 Presidential Elections. But the subject matter of the debates isn’t about policy, security, economy or even social injustice. Instead we are wasting hours of precious news time whining about who said what to whom and how offensive it was.
Are Hurt Feelings Important?
Most of us learned at an early age that our feelings are something that matter only in special situations. If we have an emotional relationship with someone then our feelings matter. But if the situation is not based on an emotional context then emotions have no place.
Global and National politics have never been about emotions, or at least they shouldn’t be. So why are we spending so much time debating the hurt feelings of a non-specific “segment of the population”?
Leaders and pundits may not exactly say they are talking about hurt feelings. Instead they use phrases such as “Divisive Language” or “Offensive Speech” or even “Bigoted Views”. But what they are really talking about is the fact that some group of people has had their feelings hurt.
They don’t leave it as a simple observation either. They hasten to reassure the “offended” people that they would never say anything so offensive themselves. Many times they will even talk about how much they support the offended party’s right to be offended; that they are entitled to their hurt feelings. But is that really helping to fix the problem?
Suck It Up!
Validating someone’s emotional reaction to hurtful words doesn’t fix the problem. Attacking the person speaking those words doesn’t help either. To start with the “problem” isn’t with the speaker, it’s with the listener. Most of the time …
There are clearly important situations when emotions matter. The “bullying” video above illustrates this point. But there is a massive difference between a vulnerable young lady and the Politicians that are vying to be the next American President in 2016.
With all the rhetoric spouted on news programs about who said the most recent offensive thing, you’d be tempted to believe we are watching a bunch of kids working out their own emotional issues. But we are actually watching a group of supposedly mature emotionally stable adults that want to control the world’s most powerful nation. Yet all they seem to do is whine.
And what is one of the things they whine most about? The fact that no one is “talking policy”. The whiniest whines are about how no one will spend any airtime actually debating the issues that truly matter to our country and our future. Then why aren’t they spending their time talking policy and issues instead of spending it whining about irrelevant things like someone’s hurt feelings?
The Real Problem
As mentioned above, the real problem isn’t with the people that say offensive things. The real problem is with the people hearing those things. Our reaction to what we hear is entirely within our control. When someone gets bent out of shape or has their feelings hurt, that person has just lost their self-control. That loss of control is the problem. And it’s a problem we need to fix.
Growing up we were taught that problems of this nature are solved when we rise above the petty emotional response. We also learned that our best victories came when we changed ourselves, not when we changed others. When did we forget these most important lessons?
It would be a serious oversight not to mention that the popularity of “Offended People” on Mainstream Media outlets is the decision of the outlets themselves. They are the ones that decide what fills their airtime. In today’s America, they have learned that the emotional soap opera stories attract more eyes and ears. Political speeches and honest-to-goodness policy debates? Not so much.
People even acknowledge that the popularity of the first Republican Candidates Debate on Fox News was because of people’s interest in seeing who said “the wrongest wrong thing”. To Fox’s relief, the hunger of the viewing public was not denied.
Back To Real Issues
When will we see the American News Media Machine return to their better senses? When will see them make decisions that put the important headlines in our faces? When will we as a country stop wasting our precious time wringing our hands over the offended parties and the offending parties?
Let’s hope it happens before the 2016 Elections, or we just might elect the least offensive person and not the most qualified. And that would be worse than hurt feelings.