Once again, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has created a firestorm with her comments. This time, she has compared the detention centers that house those attempting to enter the United States to the German concentration camps that murdered millions of Jews. While her comparison has caused an uproar, it also has started a conversation.
Why is this comparison so telling about the thought processes of opposing sides? The answer lies with those who think in a linear fashion versus those who look beyond the issue to explore the possible consequences.
Linear thinkers believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, which is why they are such staunch defenders of the Second Amendment. The opposite side, I will call them envisionists, argue that the Constitution needs to be an evolving document that adapts to the rapid pace of change.
Therein lies another issue. Linear thinkers oppose change. You only have to look at the MAGA mantra to see this. Envisionists see change as inevitable, and indeed necessary to allow our country to grow.
So, you can see how this can cause major problems.
Many scientists and engineers are linear thinkers. They don’t look beyond the possible consequences of their inventions, focused only at the inventions themselves. A prime example is the invention of the atomic bomb. While some, such as Albert Einstein, realized the horrific consequences, others only saw the immediate challenge of splitting an atom.
There is the issue of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem. Linear thinkers see this as an affront to patriotism. Envisionists look further and see this as a means to draw attention to police brutality as it relates to minorities.
So how does this relate to the debate around AOC’s comments?
Linear thinkers see this an affront to the descendants of millions who died at the hand of the Nazis. Envisionists evoke the words of the poem “First They Came”, which warned of the issue of complacency. They see the possible consequences of housing “undesirables” in the awful way they are currently being detained and the echoes of history when this happened in the past.
Linear thinkers lack the imagination to see beyond the immediate issue.
Sadly, there is no way to bridge this gap. Linear thinkers will continue to deny there is a problem, while envisionists will continue to attempt to reason with them. Somehow, “I told you so” doesn’t seem to be enough. And it will never succeed in bridging the gap, which is just too far.