The smug style, at bottom, is a failure of empathy. Further: It is a failure to believe that empathy has any value at all. It is the notion that anybody worthy of liberal time and attention and respect must capitulate, immediately, to the Good Facts.
If they don’t (and they won’t, no matter how much of your Facts you make them consume), you’re free to write them off and mock them. When they suffer, it’s their just desserts.
Make no mistake: I am not suggesting that liberals adopt a fuzzy, gentler version of their politics. I am not suggesting they compromise their issues for the sake of playing nice. What I am suggesting is that they consider how the issues they actually fight for have drifted away from their egalitarian intentions.
I am suggesting that they notice how hating and ridiculing the people they say they want to help has led them to stop helping those people, too.
I am suggesting that in the case of a Kim Davis, liberalism resist the impulse to go beyond the necessary legal fight and explicitly delight in punishing an old foe.
I am suggesting that they instead wonder what it might be like to have little left but one’s values; to wake up one day to find your whole moral order destroyed; to look around and see the representatives of a new order call you a stupid, hypocritical hick without bothering, even, to wonder how your corner of your poor state found itself so alienated from them in the first place. To work with people who do not share their values or their tastes, who do not live where they live or like what they like or know their Good Facts or their jokes.
— Emmett Rensin, http://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberalism
This is what needs to change for there ever to be hope of slowing the perpetually widening chasm that exists between the two parties. The needless caricatures, regardless of how “plain the facts are”, drive people into the angry arms of revolution.
Yes, keep the parody. Keep the satire. But when your only “trusted” news sources are The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, and Saturday Night Live, you’ve left no room for understanding real people’s anger, only the media’s mockery of an easy target.
It is maddening to be asked to choose a side that only seems to have the ability to show compassion to a select group of individuals.