Greg Gutfeld, a conservative pundit, often says that “It’s not enough to be right. You have to be persuasively right.” (I think he’s picking up on the tone-deafness and out-of-touch style of which many Republican politicians are often guilty.) In politics, Gutfeld’s mantra is certainly true. But unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work out exactly that way. Often, a person can be wrong, but be quite convinced of their own rightness, and quite persuasive in convincing others of the same.
Witness: Donald Trump.
At any rate, on Wednesday, the conservative firebrand Tomi Lahren sat down with The Daily Show’s host, Trevor Noah. Both are fellow millennials, and to their credit, they were civil to one another, despite coming from radically different sides of the political spectrum.
What was fascinating to watch was the difference in approach. Noah was understated and preternaturally calm. Lahren’s intensity, on the other hand, never let up. She is lovely and youthful, but appears ready to shoot knives on command. Noah pointed out that she seemed so angry, even though she’d “won.” (Lahren supported Trump in the presidential election.) And interestingly, she didn’t fully deny that anger.
The most interesting – and illuminating – part of the Lahren/Noah back and forth came over a disagreement on Lahren’s comparing of The Black Lives Matter movement to the KKK. Lahren defended the incendiary accusation, using the evidence of a few BLM members using hateful and violent rhetoric in reference to police officers.
Noah tries, multiple times, to point out that you can’t judge an entire group by the awful actions of a few. That BLM itself does not condone violence, that it’s an organization set up to bring attention to inequities in society, not murder and attack white people or cops.
On the other hand, the KKK is by definition dedicated to racism. It is a movement for white supremacy. It is responsible for thousands of lynchings, and other heinous crimes against black people. It is not “a few” bad apples in the KKK: the whole institution is evil, start to finish.
Lahren either does not understand the difference, cannot comprehend the distinction, or has decided on playing willfully dumb. Whatever the case, Lahren comes across looking none too smart. Which is a shame, because one of her earlier points – that millions of Americans who live in the vast expanse between the coasts don’t ever really get a voice – is an important one. Her refusal to recognize when she’s wrong will probably make many offended listeners tune everything else out.
Issues have nuance, which too many of our politicians and talking heads no longer care to acknowledge. But they need to, because life itself is made of nuance. Rarely are things black and white, this or that, either/or. The Black Lives Matter movement might attract some individuals who use it for violent or otherwise wrongful ends. That does not define what BLM stands for.
This should not be so hard to understand.