January 23, 2017

BEPPE, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE:

Popping Bubbles : I finally stepped out of my progressive bubble--and now I understand why people hate "the liberal elite" (Annalisa Merelli January 10, 2017, Vox)

On Facebook, my heavily "blue feed" shared news and commentary that unanimously condemned the victory of the "no" camp. Many of these articles claimed the vote was yet another example of democracy failing progress: The misguided, misinformed people who had voted "no" were helping to stunt Italy's growth or, worse, had fallen for the xenophobic promises and empty slogans of politicians like Grillo and Salvini.

Misguided, misinformed people like, me apparently.

I voted no, first and foremost because I disagreed with the reform. I didn't do it because I want Italy to leave Europe, dislike immigrants, or because I despise career politicians. Quite the contrary, in fact. I, too, am worried that Italy might end up going backwards, closing borders, and limiting chances. But--after gathering as much information as I could on the reform and its likely consequences--I concluded that, amongst other issues, the proposed changes to the constitution would end up making a future populist government's life unnecessarily easy and even more dangerous.

It was a difficult vote, and while I stand by it, I don't discount the possibility that history may prove me wrong. So I was eager to hear the reasons why so many of my friends had voted "yes." Before and after the vote, I wanted to understand their points, and I certainly respected their choices.

But they--the yes voters, whose opinions and commentary filled my social media platforms--didn't seem to have the same respect for my reasoning. As an opinionated citizen with consistently liberal views, I am used to being attacked and insulted by conservatives for my choices and opinions. But the liberal critiques I read weren't so much attacking my decision as they were questioning my intelligence and my ability to understand the issue.

For the first time in my life, I was on the outside of the so-called liberal bubble, looking in. And what I saw was not pretty. I watched as many of my highly educated friends and contacts addressed those who disagreed with them with contempt and arrogance, and an offensive air of intellectual superiority.
It was surprising and frustrating to find myself lumped in with political parties and ideologies I do not support. But it also provided some insight into why many liberals seem incapable of talking with those who hold different opinions. (This is, broadly speaking, not just a liberal problem.) In so much of what I read, there was a tone of odious condescension, the idea that us no voters were perhaps too simpleminded or too uninformed to really grasp the situation.

The majority of these arguments did not explain why my choice was wrong. And after reading piece after piece of snarky, bitter commentary, I too lost the desire to engage with my yes-voting peers.

Posted by at January 23, 2017 5:21 AM

  

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