On Political Polarization and Brotherly Love

Roderick Graham
5 min readAug 15

This is ultimately a piece about brotherly love in an age of political polarization. It doesn’t quite start out that way, though. I must first start with the hate.

I believe a group of people in this country, many of them identify as “anti-woke,” are committing bigoted acts.

I will describe two of many.

I believe the people who began speaking of “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter” are doing racist things. Why propagate this slogan right when black people were attempting to shine a spotlight on the police brutality visited on them through the slogan “Black Lives Matter”? The historical and contemporary instances of aggression by America’s police towards black people are well documented. Why not allow black people the space they need to air their grievances? I was living in Providence, RI, when a bomber killed three people and injured hundreds during the Boston Marathon. The citizens of Boston came together around the rallying cry “Boston Strong.” How callous would it have been if neighboring Providence decided that they, too, were strong and began wearing “Providence Strong” or “All Cities Strong” t-shirts?

I believe the people who refuse to open their hearts and minds to the individuals who identify as trans, who refuse to allow schools to teach young people about their trans sisters and brothers, and who insist on calling trans persons mentally ill are committing transphobic, bigoted acts. I see comments about “the trans agenda” or “trans ideology” every day on social media. I see these constant allusions to pedophilia whenever a trans person is mentioned. Why do this? Why demonize these innocent people — young, old, rich, poor, white, and non-white — who are simply trying to live their lives and live them with dignity? I wonder if the people who traffick in these ideas have ever sat down with a person who is trans or the families that love them.

I could go on. The outcry when a person of color is cast in a movie or television role that a white person has traditionally held. The argument that because George Floyd was not a perfect individual, he somehow deserved his fate. The pushback against Pride Month. The boycotting of stores that sold Pride merchandise or platformed trans persons.

These actions are all bigoted at the core. I hate these actions.

Agape and Verstehen

Roderick Graham

Gadfly | Professor of Sociology at Old Dominion University | I post about social science, culture, and progressive politics | Views are my own