This is not about baseball but about humanity, although one starting point was asking why some people in baseball say things that seem to conflict with who they are as human beings. The other starting point was an episode of the United States of Anxiety Podcast called “This is Your Brain on Politics,” which reported on the research of neuroscientist Jeffrey French and political scientist Kevin Smith.
Their research is part of a growing field of study about how biology, specifically our DNA, might influence our beliefs and responses to the world. To overgeneralize their work, people are to some degree hard-wired to lean toward being conservative or authoritarian or liberal.
While this implies a segment of the population will always lean towards authoritarian beliefs, it is also empowering because it means people to some degree can’t help being different, that being different and being unable to agree on some points or share some values is something that defines us rather than separates us.
If we can respect that someone holds opposing views because they were raised differently or because they are wired differently, and not because they are intellectually or morally inferior, it opens a door for all of us to accept and embrace diversity as something all human beings are born into and not something that needs to be ironed or lectured out of.
Another influence was an article by Sarah Smarsh in the Guardian titled “How is arguing with Trump voters working out for you?” in which she speaks up for the nurture side of the equation, that the environment one grows up in is beyond our control and so by definition does not make anyone superior to another holding different views.
She argues that empathy and humility are more likely to open doors to understanding than shouting and demeaning, and that’s a powerful message.