The disagreements over how to respond to Bin Laden’s death throughout the online progressive circles I travel in have generally been expressed with a lot more emotional generosity and tact than the similar disagreements over the royal wedding. A big part of that is people’s acknowledgment that this is a big, complex, difficult issue about which people are bound to have strong and conflicting emotions.
There are some issues that we in progressive movements know we disagree on, and disagree on amicably. What gets us heated is when we disagree on something we thought we agreed on, or feel strongly that we should agree on. But the lesson to take away from those moments isn’t that some of us are fake progressives, but that ours is an ideologically diverse community.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to convince each other, or even that we shouldn’t get upset about each others’ (perceived) blind spots. It just means that it’s more productive, more useful, and ultimately more intellectually and morally rigorous to approach those disagreements as disagreements that are occurring among people who share a lot of values but diverge on some issues, rather than as deviations from an agreed-upon political line.
(Adapted from two comments I left at Feministe this morning. Off to teach now, but I’ll try to update with some more thoughts specifically on how this relates to student organizing later this afternoon.)