If you are trusted, or possess moral authority, then with your words you can move the needle.
‘Mark, can I borrow $100?’
‘Because of your past conduct I have come to trust you, so yes, you may.’
‘Mark, you need to reconsider your actions.’
‘Because you have earned my respect, I will.’
This simple idea applies to enemies as well. You and I may be duking it out on a battlefield, but if you have kept your word in the past, then I may agree to a ceasefire in order to tend to the dead and wounded, or I may agree not to use poison gas.
Lies and betrayals naturally destroy trust and the power that it grants. So does hypocrisy, which is a kind of lie.
Now, being born in the rural South in 1966 in the afterglow of our victory in WWII, I grew up assuming that all Americans loved America, more or less. As a youth in the 80’s I had come to understand that there was a great political division but I was in my early thirties before I began to grasp its depth. But throughout my adult life I heard Progressives (the enemy in my view) extol the sovereign virtue of democracy and freedom of speech. In my naiveté I took them at their word. Division or not, at least we had some common ground.
But 2020 was a wake up call. I now understand at last, late as always, that the American Left is not tempered by love of country, our common institutions, or our founding myths. Conservatives and Progressives do not after all have that common ground.
What the American Left cares about is the advancement of its revolution which reduces the human experience to appetite and equality of outcome. It cares about democracy and freedom of speech, or racism, education, or the rule of law for that matter, only in as much as they are useful tools to advance the revolution. Tools to be discarded the moment they get in the way.
By its outrageous lies and hypocrisy in 2020 the Left has shown its hand and thereby squandered one of its greatest assets. Namely the moral authority that the Common Man had granted to it on issues such as democracy.
The Left has removed its sheep’s clothing and revealed itself for what it is, and now even Bubba and Joe Sixpack can see that we are facing an existential crisis. That there are two camps between which there no longer remains any common ground or trust, and whose worldviews are hopelessly irreconcilable.
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