By John Buzzard, Chief Eggplant Editor
After a string of violence related to the recent election of President Donald J. Trump, it seems that there has been a rapid increase in the percentage of Americans who believe that they have the moral high ground. This shocking report was first published by the PEW Research Center researchers and released through The New York Times. In an article entitled “I Am Better Than You,” editor-at-large Derrick Fischer claims that those who dissent with his opinion are “the reason this country is failing.” Fischer continues to report that all of his friends agree with him, and so he is therefore obviously in the right. Many readers were shocked to find that this article contained accredited evidence that was peer reviewed, unlike many articles supervised by Fischer. The PEW report found that when asked if their political beliefs were ‘moral,’ participants overwhelmingly reported that they were on the right side of history.
It is not uncommon to find the behavior described by Fischer and the Pew Research Center in the wild if you really look for it. The trend that an individual believes they have the moral high ground has been prevalent throughout the election cycle and beyond. For example, this type of behavior was seen when supporters of Hillary Clinton claimed they supported her because they couldn’t stand a ‘racist, misogynistic, bigoted candidate’ like Donald Trump. On the opposite side, when asked about their support for Trump, many responded that they backed him because they are ‘true Americans.’ The media bubble was fascinating throughout this election cycle because every news headline shamed a particular political party for not falling in line on their political spectrum. Among our peers, this type of behavior can be found through a practice known as ‘virtue signaling’.
It’s easy to spot this behavior when scrolling on Facebook and finding a sad picture of a child accompanied by an essay explaining why the reader is “Not a Real ____” if they don’t support a certain cause. For many others, condescension during political discourse achieves the same effect. When an argument comes to a close, the moral high ground defense is often used, and can be seen when an opponent uses such phrases as, “Sweetie,” “I don’t have time for this,” or “Have a nice day.” These ticks, as well as other synonyms, are clear signs that you, as a debater, are in the absolute wrong and must accept defeat for even being privileged enough to attempt to reach out and have a discussion.
It seems as though we are in a very volatile time in which it has become almost impossible to have a civil discussion without ending up on the wrong side of history. If an individual refuses to accept a certain fact of life, they should be told that they are bigoted because they don’t share your moral high ground. In many modern debates, it seems as though both sides believe themselves to uphold the absolute truth, some sides more than others. The Pew Research Center has made a groundbreaking find with this study that can be easily backed up by anecdotal evidence.
Remember, if you ever find yourself in a situation in which you don’t have the moral high ground, you should re-examine yourself, check your privilege, and stay out of the conversation. Special thanks to the Pew Research Center and the New York Times for reminding us to always have the moral high ground.