Advocating for a particular moral value you hold close to your heart can dominate your psyche. It has the potential to dominate your social interactions, your choice in friends, and your inner monologue. Moral values come to define our personalities and the lens through which we view our world.
Those who firmly believe the law enforcement system is corrupt see the police in a different way than those who see no problem. Politicians who vote for the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill see the benefits of state-based health care rather than a federally centralized system. People who support a woman’s right to choose see Planned Parenthood in a different light than those who are pro-life.
These differences are, above all, natural. A homogenous society is a stagnant and unproductive society. What’s more, far-reaching issues like health care, abortion, and law enforcement do not necessarily require you to fall on a particular end of the spectrum. Someone is more than capable of seeing the benefit of state-controlled healthcare present in the Graham-Cassidy Bill, while supporting proper funding for Medicaid under the current Affordable Care Act. These political and social choices, however, don’t confine themselves to solely social and legislative politics, in fact, they’re more present in our casual lives than you may think.
I love football. Sunday afternoons are sacred. I believe strongly in the emotional, social and political power of sport, and am deeply passionate about the individuals involved. I’m moved to the brink of tears when watching championship moments. Those tears a result of the pedestal on which sports stood during my childhood. However, I’m moved to the same amount of emotion when I hear the stories of victims of domestic abuse. The NFL, disgustingly, has a domestic abuse epidemic. Players are constantly arrested for domestic violence charges but are rarely held accountable for their actions.
My Rolodex of moral values is therefore challenged because I help a corporation, which has demonstrated it doesn’t value women, boost its already high ratings every weekend by tuning in. This is genuinely a conflict I toil with daily, as I listen to music that objectifies women, stand-up comedy that makes light of serious plights and watch reality TV that reinforces unhealthy body standards and relationship expectations.
I realize the pettiness of such a conflict, as few of the issues listed directly affect me as a straight, cisgendered, white male. So what I’d like to do instead of analyzing what those moral conflicts mean to me specifically, I’d like to instead analyze their legitimacy in reinforcing troublesome ideas.
I believe that any idea that is perpetuated across mediums and with high frequency has the ability to ingrain itself in those it reaches. Therefore I believe that consistent misogynistic lyricism in certain popular tracks can influence those who listen to it if the idea is reinforced by other artist’s following suit.
The answer to the free speech question is somewhere in the middleAmerican universities are in intellectual turmoil. Last month, Middlebury College students erupted in anger at lecture by the conservative social Read…
However, I also believe in the selective power of the human mind. Just because I attend a comedy show that makes light of a serious topic, does not mean that I now associate that topic only with humor and disrespect. Just because I support the Minnesota Vikings does not mean I support domestic violence.
This entire issue all revolves back to the middle ground. Enjoying NFL football, for example, does not mean supporting the entire corporation and its entire history, in the same way supporting a politician does not mean agreeing with their entire platform.
In essence, our lives are brimming with choices that challenge our moral values, and choosing to entirely eliminate those components is not the productive option. Rather, a baseline recognition of the negativity associated with something coupled with a consistent mental check-in of your strong moral beliefs sets you up well to be a kind and accepting member of society, while still being able to enjoy those things that bring us genuine joy.
Lucas Johnson ([email protected]) is a sophomore studying journalism