The problem with the high road.
At some point during the election, Michelle Obama gave a speech in which she said ‘when they go low, we go high’ and people cheered. And every Hillary supporter took it on as a mantra to combat the ugliness that spewed hate from her opposition. We all clung to it like a life raft of optimism, in a sea of hate.
When they go low, we go high.
It’s catchy. It’s familiar. We all remember at some point being told to “take the high road” when faced with an adversary who was hitting below the belt. Taking the high road implies that there is no reward or goodness to come from ‘fighting fire with fire’. It makes you feel like the ‘better person’ or the ‘bigger person’ in a conflict. You feel stronger because you aren’t letting the other person see that they have affected you.
The problem is the ‘high road’ doesn’t always win the battle. The ‘high road’ is passive. It retreats. It stays the course and doesn’t go after people’s weaknesses.
The high road is more of a stance of moral elitism, allowing someone to feel superior for only engaging positively. Sure in tough conflicts the ‘high road’ can give you solace because in some ways you almost feel like you have God on your side.
That’s right, the power of the high road is having FAITH in the idea that being good is rewarded.
In fact, I remember waking in the middle of the night before the election in a panic ‘What if Hillary DOESN’T win?” And consoling myself with the fact good HAD to triumph because evil just couldn’t…after all we took the high road! We fought fair! We are the good people! In my middle-of-the-night-anxiety-attack-mind, I thought ‘God had to make this happen’. My desperation did not wane and I am embarrassed to admit, that I brushed off my old skills and prayed. It had been awhile. Yes, you heard me. I PRAYED for good to triumph over evil.
And then we lost.
The high road failed us. Being fair failed us.
Going low won everything.
So now we are left to question if we fought the right way. If we were foolish to have so much faith. So now Hillary and the DNC leaders might be able to sleep at night knowing they ‘took the high road’, meanwhile a sexist evil regime with white supremacy motivations will be selecting OUR supreme court members, determining OUR health care and limiting what women can do with their own bodies.
But Hillary went high! We all took the high road! We are the good ones!
I find little solace in being ‘good’ as we face this dark period which will set American progress back fifty years or more, that the high road was worth it. So if I have learned anything in this nightmare, it’s that there are times when going LOW is justified. While the high road is ethically best in battle it is different in WAR. During a war that will change the trajectory of an entire country, ‘going low’ would have been the right thing to do.
And in this case, I am sure God would have approved.