People use signs, signals, actions and words in order to communicate. In the United States, I’ve been increasingly worried that we are starting to use different languages to communicate with one another. I don’t mean Spanish and English. I mean our whole landscape has become so polarized and many of us live in such information bubbles that we have started “signing” in different ways, often misunderstanding one another.
This is a more charitable view than one which states we are intentionally ignoring, poking at, etc., each other.
I initially started thinking about this when I started a #DefendDACA rally. The rally turned out to be an awesome event, being televised across Central Florida. It really wasn’t my doing that the rally turned out so well. I had other, quite wonderful, organizers who made things happen.
But what opponents don’t/didn’t understand is that it takes a lot of hard work and effort in order for such an event to take place at all. I should know.
So, when you see a group of people protesting, you can assume that some of them missed work to do so, some of them had to travel a certain distance, and many other things. In other words, they have to overcome life in order to protest. That’s saying something.
The rally I organized was so successful–with many other rallies taking place across the nation on the same day–that our events made national headlines and generated a conversation about DACA recipients. That’s also saying something.
At the time of this writing, however, the president is saying he will protect DACA recipients if and only if he gets his border wall built.
So the events that have been scheduled since the rally I organized are coming down to a negotiation that will probably not fly on the part of DACA Defenders.
Let me say it again: it takes a lot of effort and work to participate in a rally. If you see successful rallies all over the country, that’s really, truly saying something.
But many opponents of DACA recipients have said things like “Get a job!” to folks who rallied. (To be clear, nearly all DACA recipients already have jobs!) It’s as if they are now speaking a different language–a language in which the effort, time and sacrifices made by protesters is scoffed at or not even acknowledged.
As I survey these actions across the country, I have just had to wonder whether some things, like various propaganda, have left people on the Right speaking a whole other language than people on the Left. This language doesn’t understand the concept of protest, making protests on the Left ineffective (if they are trying to persuade people on the Right).
That we are talking past each other now has real-life consequences. DACA recipients will be protected or not, a border wall will go up or not, depending on how we understand one another.
As someone who has only recently started to live in a Leftist bubble, I can say that many people on the Right nowadays simply do not understand–or take time to understand–arguments from the Left. Yet, I know of scholars devoted to studying the Right, so we on the Left get a translation of what’s going on, which keeps us up to speed.
We are now a fractured nation, speaking different political languages. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. We can become fluent in the language of the other, but it’s going to take some work.