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September 17, 2013 / Dale Melchin

The Real Miss America: Polarization: Why it needs to stop now

I recently put up a post of Sergeant Theresa Vail on my Facebook feed.  At the time I didn’t realize that she had lost the Miss America Pageant to Nina Davuluri.  I had wondered why the post had said “The Real Miss America.”  I thought there was some controversy as to how the pageant was judged.  Nope, it was a bunch of rednecks causing problems.

I’m not going to unshare the picture, because it does capture some of her best shots, and she’s pretty, which is the only reason why I posted the picture.  As a result of posting the picture I was quickly lumped in with idiotic rednecks who seem to have problems with naturalized citizens or second generation folks being in the country or winning a beauty pageant.  I want to clarify that I’m not one of those people.  I believe that America was founded by immigrants and we should welcome new people to the country in so far as they follow the processes and keep the law.  Yes, we probably do need to find a way to change the immigration process, but that is not the point of this post.  I want to tackle the issue of ideological polarization and why it needs to stop now.

Its difficult to tackle an issue like this because it happens in so many camps. It happens in politics, religion, philosophy, Science, all things technical across varying disciplines in multiple schools of thought or just simply the objectives of a person or organization.  It boils down to the idea that one person’s position is superior to another’s and the other’s point of view is somehow wrong and because they are wrong, it is inferior.  Often times it extends out because of the perceived inferiority of the position we need to educate or non-violently combat the other point of view.

Ideological Polarization has its source in attachment and gains its power through social or personal reinforcement.  Let me use a personal example: Calvinism

When I was at Liberty I became a Calvinist.  During my course of time I came to the conclusion that the Calvinistic position was the most correct one and whiskey Calvinists and Ariminans were utter fools and devoid of God’s grace as a result.  Keep in mind that the correctness of Calvinism was enforced by the circle I ran in.  The inferiority of other views was reinforced by me alone, because of my belief in the circle I ran in.

I eventually broke out of this position for two reasons.  I began to question the validity of Calvinism.  I stopped running in a circle where Calvinism was reinforced.  As a result I began to explore again.

Now you are going to ask, what does this have to do with Miss America?  I’m glad you asked.  Let me demonstrate

The issue of the Miss America Pageant has its source in those same psychological principles.

There is a group of people who are out there who believe in the following.  The superiority of the United States.  The superiority of those of European descent.  The inferiority of those who are not of European descent.  Now I grant that those people still exist, but I hope, they are in the minority.  I now question that because of the loudness of the current controversy.  Even a group that is small in number can cause problems if they make enough noise

These folks, whether they realize it or not have had those 3 aforementioned ideas reinforced through their lifetime through a combination of choice, family or close friends and their own stubbornness (which feeds back into choice).  These folks are also completely and utterly wrong.

I looked at the newly crowned Miss America, she’s very attractive, very intelligent, and very adept at what she does.  These ladies are on equal ground and were judged fairly.  The women in the pageant are judged on merit and for reasons of merit Miss Davuluri was judged worthy of being the next Miss America.

So those of you who are ignorant, bigoted and racist enough to think other wise are utter fools for acting that way.  I pity you for your willful ignorance.  I understand your position and it is inferior on the grounds that it lacks merit.  All human beings are created equal and have the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Yes, I was very polarized there, deal with it.

Now, here is why ideological polarization needs to stop

There is no point of contact:  I will demonstrate this using the slightly less controversial subject of politics.  If you put a Conservative Republican and a Liberal Democrat in the same room, both of whom are highly convinced of their view and ask them to solve a particular problem, nothing will get done, and you’ll probably have to call the police.

Neither of them believe in the dignity of the other person.  Neither of them believe in the viability of the other person’s point of view.  Both of them probably lack the humility and the maturity to engage in any sort of dialog.  As a result, its best not to put them together.

Since there is no point of contact, there is no way to communicate.  Communication and understanding are absolutely vital to the survival of a family, and organization, a state and a nation.  If there is no communication, no relationship can be formed.  If there is no relationship, there is no reason to cooperate.  If there is no reason to cooperate, then each party will be at war, literally or figuratively for resources of various kinds.

If we are at war with each other again, ideologically or otherwise, its going to impede getting good results.  At worst, nothing important will be accomplished except for one party or the other’s objectives. At worst, it will result in a war of words.  At the very worst it will result in actual fighting

That is why we need to stop polarizing, here is how to do it.

We need to recognize why another person has come to a particular point of view, even if you don’t agree with it, and that they came by the view, honestly or otherwise.  And in areas where it is intolerable such as racism or bigotry, we have to set clear expectations that the external behavior will not be tolerated, but we also have to recognize its going to be hard for people to change.  Sometimes, its not worth bothering with folks of the ignorant sort.

If it is a situation where the dignity of humanity isn’t at stake, we need to understand the other person’s position and communicate that we understand them as well.  That will often times open the door of opportunity for us to be heard.

I personally have had dialog with many people who have views who are very different from mine, and while I don’t agree with them, I appreciate and respect where they are coming from, and yes, I celebrate those differences.

I understand that there are some areas where people aren’t ready to listen, and that is OK.  It is best not to spend the time and energy on them.  In the case of the Miss America Pageant.  Its just a contest.  I’m cool with the fact that someone other than Anglo-American won.  The racists need to grow up and get over themselves.

At the same time, lets not get mad at other people, just because they have another preference.  We have bigger issues to tackle than this, and it is high time we start tackling those issues, with a commitment to our own values, a willingness to listen, and the maturity to cooperate with someone even though they have a different point of view.

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4 Comments

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  1. jonolan / Sep 17 2013 6:51 am

    Ah, yes. Be tolerant of others…unless you’ve decided their beliefs are non-PC and intolerable. 😆 Those sorts just need to be shut up.

    Not that I mind that a non-White or a 1st-generation immigrant won the contest. It doesn’t matter to me in the slightest. I will say, however, that the pageant has become a center for political correctness and that Sergeant Theresa Vail didn’t win both because she was blond-haired, blue-eyed White and had a background and belief structure that was at odds with the pageant’s swing towards pandering to- and coddling minorities and Leftists.

    • Dale Melchin / Sep 17 2013 8:37 am

      Jon,

      Would you clarify what you mean by politically incorrect? Also can you offer proof that the Pageant is engaging in this so call coddling? I would take exception with this comment because the last 3 Miss Americas were white women, two were blond, one had raven hair, and the one in 2010 I will point out was African American. All of them are beautiful accomplished women. The ones from the early 2000s were as follows 7 white 2 African American Descent, One Latina and varying ranges of hair color. Please, tell me again, where they are coddling?

      You sound like you are alleging reverse discrimination? Can you please tell us where it occurred? Where is the proof that the judges voted against her for any of the things you’ve stated? I didn’t know that the pageant was about beliefs, but about accomplishments?

      Just food for thought.

    • jonolan / Sep 17 2013 8:48 am

      Don’t think in terms of just race. Remember the issue with a finalist not spouting the “correct” pro-Gay answer? Also, look at the race numbers you’ve cited and compare them to US demographics…and take into account that the final 2 in this years were both Asians, who hadn’t been represented before.

      Now look at a “perfect” blond-haired, blue-eyed, hunting, veteran who got bumped out in favor of a more acceptable set of candidates. The pageant, from what I’ve seen, is about beliefs now; I can’t say where it was ever about accomplishments though.

      But proof? How would anyone provide proof? All I see is a trend and that trend leans towards deliberate diversity and away from anyone who holds or exemplifies more traditional American values.

      • Dale Melchin / Sep 17 2013 2:48 pm

        Correlation is not causation

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