Americans seem doggedly focused lately on things that matter.
Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter.
After watching last week’s GOP convention and the first days of this week’s Democratic convention, after hearing crowds chant about black and blue and all lives mattering, after listening to former President Bill Clinton spend Tuesday night convincingly outlining why his wife’s life story matters, I’m left wondering this: Does anything matter?
I ask that because, when all of it is over, nobody seems to think much differently.
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If you hate Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton’s meandering love-story-as-political speech didn’t change your mind. You probably watched it and then sent out snarky tweets to Twitter followers who largely think the same way you do.
And if you view Donald Trump as a dangerous candidate, there was nothing at last week’s GOP convention that would change your mind. So you probably watched it and sent out snarky tweets, as I did, to Twitter followers who largely think the same way you do.
I realize political conventions have never been good at swaying people from the opposing side. Perhaps there’s hope of piquing the interest of an independent or two, but in an election featuring two wildly divisive candidates, kind words are largely spoken to the choirs.
So does anything matter? Are we in a place where even a master communicator like Bill Clinton can’t reach people outside his ideological orbit?
I’d say yes, which is a shame. We live in a time when every point has a counterpoint.
As the words “black lives matter” were first uttered, they were met with shouts of “blue lives matter” and “all lives matter.”
A television pundit praises Hillary Clinton and another is standing by to call her a liar. Same with Trump.
There’s The Huffington Post for the left and the Drudge Report for the right, Fox News and MSNBC, liberal Twitter hashtags and conservative Twitter hashtags.
I can say Bill Clinton expertly detailed the wealth of his wife’s experience and showed the real woman behind what he called the “cartoon” her political foes have sketched. People who don’t like Hillary Clinton will respond by calling me a shill for the Democratic Party, or worse.
That’s what happens in a world where people describe those who detail facts as “liberal fact-checkers.” As if reality bends to ideological biases.
How can you convince anybody of anything if they don’t believe in things that are true?
Political persuasion is tough now, in an age of hard-headedness.
I thought Bill Clinton did an admirable job making the case for Hillary Clinton. But a lot of people last week thought Trump’s kids did an admirable job making the case for him.