If you don’t know who Tomi Lahren is by now, then you either live under a rock or 2016 has sent you into a deep slumber. Regardless, the conservative talk show host who has been an ulcer for liberals everywhere somehow just made the most important point of 2016 — labels.
Appearing on the Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Tomi Lahren made a jest about millennials and labels that I don’t think she intended to have the effect it did. Her words — “I’m a millennial — so I don’t like labels” — have been ringing in my ears since that interview where both sides were flooded by confirmation bias. However, what she says here should resonate with an unbiased audience because it actually stands for something much greater than this election.
In a world saturated with labels, grouping and difference, it shows we are moving on — millennials just aren’t buying it. It shows that the most recent generation has learned from the mistakes of past generations, and that labels have been the main reason for division since day one.
When a person identifies under a different label, it opens up a massive opportunity for xenophobia and fear. Years of division — in some cases, centuries and millennia — have pushed humans apart from one another, in a way culminating in the mass hysteria case study that was the 2016 election.
Time and time again, this nation has seen examples of how people put themselves, their party, their faith or whatever it may be ahead of another opposing “group,” and this goes for both sides. We see this in many pro-life arguments where the Bible is said to dictate life, and also with extreme left socialist arguments, where capitalism is many times completely condemned as a system.
The issue here is not that people want their values represented — this is perfectly acceptable and the reason our democracy is structured the way it is. The issue is that groups fight for their voices to be heard over others and insist that everyone should adhere to their standards. In a nation where no two people are even remotely similar, this is an impossible feat and it causes division, extremes and hatred where there should be none.
Thinking back into the 2016 political climate, you can see divisions between Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, Fox News and MSNBC, Republicans and Democrats — the list goes on. It’s always one or the other, and the people in the middle are left to be ostracized by the extremes.
This interview with Tomi Lahren was one of the first times in the last year and a half where opposing sides were able to come together for a high profile conversation of value, and look what we got out of it.
Turns out people who have the most polar opposite ideas can find common ground in something, and we were able to identify an underlying problem in this uncertain political theater.
To be clear, this is not an argument against diversity, which is a beautiful thing we should all embrace. However, we can’t learn and embrace each other’s ideas if we are too afraid to communicate. In fact, Tomi Lahren, with whom I share almost no views, is the one who has gotten me to reconsider the lack of connection and increase in divisiveness in our world. So I think all us Millennials owe our favorite host a thank you, because she just laid the groundwork for future compromise.
Dan Chinitz ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in international studies.