I saw a headline yesterday that read “Republicans are Having A Meltdown Over Bradley Cooper’s Presence at the DNC.”
Cooper starred as US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in the movie American Sniper. Apparently many conservatives assumed Cooper was a Republican because the film reflects a conservative worldview. Or so I am told; I did not see the film. (The only reason I know the little I know is that one of the students in my Heroes and Heroism seminar last year presented on Kyle.)
I have no idea whether Bradley Cooper is a Democrat or a Republican, and I don’t really care. I don’t know if he was at the DNC because he wanted to be to be there or because he was accompanying someone else who really wanted to be there. And that is precisely the point: I don’t know. I don’t know Bradley Cooper.
But some no small number of people apparently thought they knew Cooper and his political leanings based on a role he played in a movie. Think about that – they assumed they knew he shared their worldview because of a single movie role.
On its face, that sounds pretty absurd. But don’t we do that sort of thing all the time? We assume we know people based on the flimsiest of evidence. We observe a single thing they say or do and form judgments about them based on it. We claim to know exactly what someone is like because they did or did not do something we liked or didn’t like. Or we know what their position on X must be because we saw them talking to someone else who has a position on X.
Maybe we need to develop a little more comfort staying in the “I don’t know” zone, and refrain from making judgments about each other that lack sufficient basis. If we do, we just might be able to get to know each other a bit more.