Recently, I managed to re-connect with some old gaming friends. We had become friends through an online browser game that simulated global politics and, for a while, was fun.
However, what ended up ruining the game for me is that a lot of the debates became stale, the conflicts repetitive, and the political chatter grating. Gone were the days of diplomacy-by-trolling and edicts from emperors to not wear pants. It became too serious. “Winning” the game became all-consuming, and it ruined the fun. In the end, it seems like most folks wandered off for their own mental health. I did the same.
A few remained friends through social media, but many I just didn’t keep up with. Last week, one of my favorite people from this group invited me to a group chat where a bunch of the gang was gathered. Catching up, years later, has been great.
Now, many of these players are far more liberal than I am, and it has led to debates, but these debates are enjoyable. We actually have to pierce each other’s bubble and treat each other as humans.
Somewhere along the way, we as a larger society seem to have stopped doing that entirely.
Take the situation with Starbucks. Many on the Right are saying that Starbucks is simply going to indoctrinate its workers in order to make the company even more of a Leftist institution than it already is. If there is anyone on the Right who has said they want to engage and have these conversations on race and society with Starbucks, its employees, and the black community as a whole, I haven’t seen it.
And, it’s not about telling them why they’re wrong, either. I’m talking about going out, leaving your bubble, and actually engaging them with a smile and an open mind.
Remember the metaphor of the happy warrior? It was an Andrew Breitbart favorite. He advocated going out and fighting your political battles with a smile on your face, and he was right in doing so. Politics is a draining hobby, and it will totally sap your humor if you let it.
Social media has become the epitome of that. It is a cesspool of humorless, angry, political fiends hellbent on dehumanizing anyone who disagrees with them and taking themselves way too seriously. In the end, that doesn’t do anyone any good.
There has been plenty of ink spilled in the name of “reclaiming discourse.” While I’m not entirely sure it can be reclaimed (seeing as no one can seem to agree on what’s been lost or taken), it can be made more fun. We can treat each other as humans, have discussions, leave our bubbles, and generally be good people.
And, if your first reaction to this is “Well, the LEFT…”, then stop right there. That’s part of the problem.
Bring back conversation, not just discourse. Go out there and talk about it with a smile on your face. Prove to me there’s no rust on our happy warrior army.