You Can’t Be Right All the Time. But You Can Be an Asshole all the Time.
It’s time people learned, that the less you invest of your time, energy, ego, and credibility in being right all the time, the less of an asshole you’ll look like when you struggle to explain why you’re actually right, no matter what.
Nobody can be right all the time. We reserve those kinds of infallible figures for religions and the leaders of cults you see on Netflix specials. You can sound like an asshole all the time when you try to fit a changing reality inside an unbending worldview.
Nobody is the best leader all the time either. Nobody is the best at anything all the time ever. Michael Jordan’s field goal career percentage was barely 50%. Wayne Gretzky’s shooting percentage is 17%. The people who say they are right all that time are usually the people who were giving themselves their own nicknames in high school. If the people who said they were right all the time were right all the time there wouldn’t have been an economic collapse in 2008, there would have been a bunker labeled “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq and we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now (the “Donald Trump is an incompetent president conversation”, we’d definitely still be having the racism one).
When Donald Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Ave and people would still vote for him, he wasn’t mocking Democrats. He was mocking his supporters.
We could all be forgiven thought for having this mentality though. Everyone you read in the news and see on TV talks like they know everything and are right all the time. Our entire political commentary system, the people who tell you what is going on and what to think are incapable of ever saying that they don’t know or they were wrong.
Their TV appearances, book deals, speaking engagements, and all the other ways that they make their money depend on it. It’s how you explain Ben Rhodes being taken seriously ever. His book was titled “The World as it is” because nobody would waste their time reading “The World According to Nobody but Me”.
The US spent nearly three years racked by the Russian interference scandal. How much money do you think cable news shelled out for expert analysis that was completely wrong? There is video evidence and sworn testimony that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said one thing under media lights and something completely different under oath. Why? Because he knew he wouldn’t be getting any more consulting fees if he told people the truth instead of what they wanted to hear. Three years of political and media hysteria later we’re left with…nothing. No evidence whatsoever that Donald Trump takes orders from the Kremlin or Putin releases the pee-pee tapes. But everybody “knew” Trump was a Russian agent for three years, still do. Why not? The same people who were wrong and/or lying for the last three years still get television appearances.
But it’s not just on CNN or Fox anymore it’s on your news feed. Social media prizes people who make definitive statements of intellectual superiority. You can’t start a hot take to get thousands of retweets with an “I’m not sure, but….”. The split second it takes to share content combined with a staggering lack of critical thinking has turned the entire internet into a bunch of people yelling at each other like they’re all stuck in traffic cutting each other off. Your social media feed has doubtlessly become a trash pile of bumper-sticker arguments and cherry-picked facts and videos that “prove” one point above all others.
Have you ever been convinced by someone else’s video? So why would you expect anyone to be convinced by yours? It’s the very feature that made Trump so entertaining before he was President, which has made his presidency such a gut-wrenching roller coaster ride of incompetence. The man is never wrong in his own mind regardless of what the people around him say or the reality reflected.
It’s the kinds of things you expect from North Korean leaders, you know, the ones who claim they don’t poop. We know that Donald Trump is full of shit, no matter what his press secretary of the week is saying.
If you didn’t invest so much time in trying to convince everyone you’re right all the time, then you wouldn’t have to be so worried about being proven wrong or changing your mind. Who knows, you might even learn something new or grow as a person.
Would that really be so terrible?
Millions of people are protesting across all 50 states. There will inevitably be ugly moments caught on video, but one moment doesn’t represent a movement. Just because someone on Fox News said Antifa is solely responsible doesn’t make it true in all cases everywhere, no matter how badly you want to own the Libs. The same goes for liberals who desperately want to pin everything neatly on their own ideological boogiemen.
Donald Trump’s failures as a leader, as an executive, and as a person are many, but I think that one of his biggest, the one that he will be forever remembered for is that he couldn’t for a moment look out at the protests this week and say to himself “maybe I missed something” to him that would be a sign of weakness. But it’s really the opposite.
History is littered with the failures of people who were so sure of themselves at the moment that they never thought there could be any other way.
You don’t have to join them.
Cover Photo Courtesy of Free To Use Sounds via Unsplash