Cognitive Dissonance/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on July 20, 2019


An article by Professor Kathleen D. Vohs on cognitive dissonance appeared at WashPo on July 18, 2019. The question at hand was how was it possible for supporters of President Trump not to protest the comment that 4 Congresswomen go back to the places from which they came. To many, the racist intent of these remarks were obvious. Do Republicans truly support such comments? The Vohs response is that such a conclusion may be in error. Cognitive dissonance occurs when reality and what people may truly believe appear to be in conflict. People will then work to reduce the dissonance by finding a way to get the “conflict” to be resolved. In this case, one way to do so, is to deny that telling someone to go back home conveys a racist message. Perhaps it means, one pol stated, that they should go back to their districts and fix the problems they find there!

I believe that people believe that peaceful solutions to conflict are of the highest order. But what can one do when the “other party” is not seeking a solution? In such a case, you can substitute resignation with an added push to try to mediate and find proper resolutions of the conflict. Mother Teresa’s words are worth reciting here: “Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.” Don’t blame the other party. Take the ball and run with it.