I consider myself a liberal and a progressive. I consider being liberal my philosophy on life, and being progressive the practical approach to making that happen. Perhaps I'm too patient, or too pragmatic, or value nuance, but I am becoming more and more disillusioned and disappointed with similarly-winged Americans.
It seems we (as collective mindset) seem to be getting more absolutist as we go along, more prone to knee-jerk reactivism (is that a word?), and more prone to apply a litmus test to anyone who dares to bring shades of gray into an apparent black & white set of "rules". This is naturally most prevalent on social media (i.e.: the Book of Faces), where it seems some people don't even bother to read the articles anymore. They see the clickbait title, and comment "That's it - no more for me!" or "BOYCOTT!!".
Forget doing a little research to see if the article is even true, or if there's more to the story (or the person) than meets they eye. It's 0-to-60 instant outrage. Read previous comments to see if someone has offered some subtlety or evidence to the contrary? Who has time for that?
Let me provide a couple examples...
A member of a left-wing group reposted an image from another group of a woman in a burqa at what appears to be a teller window. He asks "should this be allowed?"
You would think he asked "which should children be boiled in: water or oil?" You could almost feel the flecks of spittle coming out of the screen. "How dare he tell women what they can and can't wear!" "How dare he suspect her of terrorism!" "A woman should be able to wear whatever she wants!" "So what - I can't wear a cross on my necklace when I go to a bank??"
The problem with all of those responses is that they assume the worst in the question, without really getting to the reason behind it. It's a bank. How are banks going to balance respecting a person's religious beliefs while maintaining security and safety for their employees and patrons? What's the difference between wearing a ski mask... or full-face motorcycle helmet... or hoodie and sunglasses... and wearing a burqa into a bank? In any of those cases, it could all be innocent or it could be setting the stage for a potential robbery.
Someone asked "when has there ever been a robbery by someone wearing a burqa?". I googled it - and it actually has happened more than once. I was a little surprised, but hey - looking things up... what a concept.
There's also the reality of woman wearing burqas. I remember when we started the never-ending war in Afghanistan, every feminist (and liberal) was aghast that woman in the more fundamental religious areas of Afghanistan were required to wear them in public. It seemed like cruel punishment for just being a woman. Yet here in the U.S., it's a "choice"? Like a woman wouldn't get beaten down by her family (and community) for not wearing one in public. Please...
The only part of the original post I found offensive was that someone surreptitiously took a picture of another person wearing the burqa in public. I suspect the photographer's motives were much more xenophobic than the person who reposted it asking for opinions.
Another story making the rounds is Ken Langone - who is being described as "one of the founders of Home Depot" - said some pretty ugly things on FOX "News" about food stamps. There is no defending his comments. Once again - the outrage was instantaneous: "Never going there!" "BOYCOTT!" "Lowes - here I come", etc...
Had any of them taken a second to look, it would have been pretty clear that Langone is NOT one of the founders - Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were the founders. Ken Langone was a venture capitalist who provided the funding to get the business going. He has never been associated with any of the business dealings, and likely no longer has any financial stake in the company.
Home Depot was also one of the first companies to extend same-sex partner benefits before it became commonplace. That's something that liberals and progressives should be happy about.
Langone is a Republican, and typically donates 20-30K dollars a year to the RNC or specific candidates. However, he also donated $200M dollars to NY Medical Center, and they built a new wing that bears his name.
Someone posted the explanation he was not really the founder numerous times in the comment, but no one read them; they were in too much of a hurry to be outraged.
Real life and real details are messy. Every person has pros and cons - there are no absolutes. The whole "fake news" awareness doesn't seem to enter into it when a meme or clickbait story delivers everything a person wants to see in less than 10 words (hell - it makes Twitter seem verbose with 140 chars). We risk making ourselves look like idiots and dilute the integrity of our message when we make snap judgments and proclamations, rather then taking the time to look into the details of a story.
We used to be the smart ones. Let's get back to that.