The Problem With Obvious

imagesAs just about everyone knows Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson has been all over the news because of his comments about sin and homosexuality. Some have defended him. Some of ditched him. And here I am on December 23rd writing about a Louisiana redneck multi-millionaire. What a world we live in.

I think one of the problems with Phil’s words is his patronizing tone. Many agree with his assessment. Some very strongly disagree. But when someone’s argument essentially is, “Duh! It’s super obvious! Just look!” – then you get a dismissive tone and you can feel superior to others. And – people don’t like that. Believe me. I know. I’ve tried it many times and it never seems to go well.

The problem with the obvious is that it’s not an argument after all. It’s more like a vote. And the problem with a vote is a vote can be wrong. Votes have been wrong many times. Obvious decisions have been completely mishandled. Certainly the majority can be right. There is a power in a group choice over time, but that can also turn in on itself. What if the 97% “just knows” that the other 3% should obviously be severely punished and that’s the only reasoning? What if the 51% can turn on and out-vote the 49%?

My gay friends are no dummies, Phil. They struggle. They can see the parts and how they fit, and they don’t agree that it just has to be that way and that makes a more difficult path for them. They may be wrong. But just saying that if a man looks at a woman it’s going to make sense – well, it doesn’t account for so many complicated, weighty, deep and personal things going on inside the heart and inside a life.

Can I make this into a Christmas post? Probably not. Should I? I probably shouldn’t. I hope we can just stop “Obvious”ing each other all through Christmas and life and friendship and acquaintances. I do this to people, and I’m sorry to. There may be a power to the history and the majority, but it also can be an alienating feeling to be on the outside when things just don’t look and feel quite as obvious as everyone says.

Headshot 2 Nicole Hager