If we’re going to _____________, why don’t we go ahead and ______________?
It’s an exhausting argument I’ve heard and read over and over in the past weeks and months. It’s certainly not a new one, but it seems to be a favorite deflection tactic. Sometimes if/then logic is important, but such claims are often less for consideration and more for spewing.
If we’re going to protest this, why not that?
If we’re going to take down or rename this, why not that?
If we’re going to take these precautions, why not those?
It reminds me of the typical child/parent interaction of “But why can’t I if others…” and “If they jumped off a cliff would you?” We all know the interaction is riddled with exaggerations.
We’re grasping. We’re deflecting. And in the process, we’re not spending energy where it would be more productive. If you wonder why one thing is being protested and not another, discuss it with someone who supports what you don’t understand or disagree with. (Choose that someones well.) If you don’t know why someone is offended, ask (then listen well and refuse to respond before you’ve given some serious consideration to their experience). If you aren’t comfortable with some precautions or lack thereof, refuse to reject those who take a different approach and dismiss or assume their concerns.
Instead of spending time and energy on the if/then argument that usually brings up possibilities that are far-fetched and distracting, settle into the issue at the center of it. What’s at the core?
Anger? You’ve experienced that, too. And you know more anger doesn’t help.
Hurts and wounds? You’ve experienced those, too. And you know they don’t mend when they’re ignored over time.
Justice? You’re (hopefully) for that, too, even if you disagree with what that looks like in some situations.
Freedom? We all want that, but freedom isn’t having everything our own way. If that was the case, how would we ever resolve when one person’s freedom offends or hurts someone else’s? Or does that only matter when you’re infringed upon but not when you infringe on someone else’s freedom?
Does that line of reasoning send us right back to an if/then declaration?
Let’s agree to not spin out of focus. Let’s not point in so many directions that we confuse ourselves and others. We often think we are laser-focused on one point, issue, or truth, but as we listen to our own reasoning, we find discrepancies and hypocrisies. At the very least, let’s be humble enough to know we will falsely assume and take the wrong approach at times.
The very things that annoy us in others might point back to us.