I wonder if we are the first generation so apt to describe ourselves as ‘warriors.’ Social justice warriors. Culture warriors. Happy warriors. The description isn’t always a bad thing, it’s simply humorous how common it has become to use wartime terminology.
However smile-inducing the terminology, what is completely lacking in comedy is the wartime attitude that our culture also carries.
We can’t have a discussion without it being a battlefield. Lines are drawn down the middle, and you MUST pick a side. (Oh, and it better be the RIGHT side.)
It doesn’t really matter whether you’re discussing a political issue, like marijuana legalization or gun control, or even discussing your opinion of The Office (hint: if asked, the right opinion is one that LOVES the show). There’s going to be a battle fought over it.
What our society NEEDS to understand is that not everything is a war, and not every battle deserves to be fought.
As Guy Benson and Mary Katherine Ham explained so eloquently in their book End of Discussion, you should have the right to say, “Meh. I don’t really care about that.”
It is unhealthy for a culture to feel like a sword must be picked up over every single stupid thing. Don’t hear what I’m not writing – there are certainly battles to be fought and wars to be waged. The pro-life movement is one noble example. Yet, it seems like most of us have lost all ability to distinguish which are actually worth it.
This is why you have people completely disengaging from the political process. To be expected to have and defend an opinion over every single policy point is exhausting and polarizing. No wonder people hate it so much – policy wonks don’t even like to live like that. (And if you do…shoot me an email and we’ll talk.) And, not only are they expected to live like this in the political arena, but in EVERY arena of life.
Can we blame them for trying to cut off one source of exhaustion and frustration in their lives?
Let me give you some liberating news: you don’t have to care. You don’t have to have an opinion on the latest TV shows. You don’t have to have an opinion on every candidate or every issue or every piece of breaking news. You can even be actively engaged in the policy-making process without having an opinion on every single area of research out there.
Not everything needs to be fought over – I would argue that very few topics actually find themselves worthy of it at all. You have the freedom and liberty to set the example for your friends and family and say, “Actually, I don’t feel like arguing about this because I don’t really care. Can we talk about something else?”
Make America have fun conversation again. Put an end to the relentless warrior mindset.