Dear Tomi Lahren,
You don’t know me, and I won’t claim to know you either, but I do know and watch your show. I follow your twitter and instagram. A lot of people do. I’m sure this doesn’t come as news to you. I’m sure the fame you’ve built has been no accident, so I don’t have to tell you.
I’m not famous, so I don’t know, but I imagine the most taxing part of it would be this: That a person can approach you, a person you do not know and have never met, but who knows and recognizes you. A stranger, to you. Who knows your angles and perspectives and beliefs, but you don’t even know their name. My name is Dakota, by the way.
They may be a fan. They may agree with many of your beliefs, and be grateful to you for voicing them.
Or they may not. They may be haters. They may be sloppy and tasteless. Or they may take careful notes and come prepared. They may have watched your show in opposition, seeking to confirm all their existing biases about you, attacking and dismissing every point as you deliver it. They may have already composed a mental list of comebacks to your major punchlines, prepared to pick your politics apart. Condemning you for your beliefs, and despising you speaking them.
I imagine the majority of your mail, and strangers who approach you, fall loosely into one of these two groups. But I like to think a third group reaches you, too, who may not take so strictly to these two apparent sides.
I would also like to think I’m in that group.
In any case, I know that you reach millions of people, and you reach them through primarily two mutually exclusive lenses: Left or right. Blue or Red. Liberal / Conservative. Two sides.
I’m not a rocket scientist, but I did take astronomy in college, and this us-and-them mentality reminds me of the factor of uncertainty that exists in physics:
I won’t go too deeply into the uncertainty factor because I’ll probably butcher it, but from what I took away, “uncertainty” was discovered in terms of the atom, in which, the speed of an electron can be tested and determined without knowing its location, or its location can be tested and determined while you’re blinded to its speed. Ultimately, you can determine one, or the other, but never both at the same time.
The same thing could be said about your show:
A person may watch your show, but depending whether they identify as right or left, or red or blue, that is the only lens through which they’ll view. Meaning a person watching through one lens can never know what the same thing would have looked like through the other.
Except, whereas uncertainty in the case of the atom is a law of physics, and absolute, the uncertainty through which we see the media is a social construct, I believe, that we have built. Or at least I like to think so, because that means we could likewise dismantle it.
Like the movies, which were only ever shown in two dimensions, until they came out with those shitty 3D glasses with the paper rims and red and blue floppy lenses. What ever happened to those glasses?
Like the unassuming innocence through which we watched the world as kids, those glasses are a thing of the past. We need to teach ourselves to look through both lenses, right and left, red and blue, in three dimensions. Maybe the world won’t be so violent if we learn to see in shades of violet. (Get it? Because red and blue make violet?… Like nothing is black and white… See, this is why I’ll never be famous.)
So, Miss Lahren, all of this is just to say: Although I strongly disagree with much of what you say, I respect and admire what you do. And although we take two mostly clashing sides, we’re not that different. We’re both blonde, 20-something, sassy, white American women. We both love dogs. We’re both passionate and driven to starting a discussion with as wide an audience as we can reach. The audience you’ve reached happens to be wider. Not that it’s a competition, but you’re winning. Ultimately, we’re both working to deliver (different) messages.
And I can’t deny, you’ve done a better job of it.
We both seek to establish ourselves in the world as intelligent, fearless, independent women, who speak for ourselves and speak the truth (as we perceive it). Only, you’ve already achieved this. You’ve already danced with that success. You host your own show. You’ve been the only woman speaking on a panel with five older men. You went on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, who is incidentally the love of my life, and I can’t even call you a lucky bitch about it because you more than earned your place there at his desk. You met and faced a man, not to mention a room full of booing fans, who strongly oppose you on almost every point, and you met him with courage, civility and respect. You’ve extended yourself to people with different perspectives from your own, and you don’t shy away from saying what you have to say.
Meanwhile, I’m a barista. And as much as I fancy myself the host of my own liberal-snowflake, behind-the-counter talk show — slinging espresso drinks and heated conversations on current social affairs — I can’t deny that you reach as many people in one minute after posting as I probably have in the six years that I’ve been here behind the counter, touching the minds and the hearts of customers, one cup of coffee at a time. Other than that, I have this blog that I’ve abandoned, and a bunch of clothes that I’ve repurposed into protest signs, and nothing else to show for myself, or my efforts to reach the world.
I disagree deeply with you on many issues: immigration, BlackLivesMatter, racial injustice, guns, to name a few. But I disagree with some liberals, too.
I disagree with the individuals at UC Berkeley who fought to silence a conservative speaker. I do believe that all perspectives should be represented and included, no matter how unpopular, and I agree with you that this was contradictory and hypocritical to the liberal cause.
I disagree with the decision to exclude pro-life women marching from the women’s march. They were women marching, after all. I’m sure some liberals would disagree with me on that one.
I agree with you, that the kidnapping, torture and abuse of an innocent teen in Chicago was wrong and disgusting, and I bet I’m not the only “snowflake” who agrees it was an act of hate. I do not endorse the actions of the individuals who beat that boy, nor the individual who shot down officers in Dallas. I disagree with individuals and haters who dismiss you as stupid or heartless, or the things you have to say as totally invalid. I agree with you, that I wish we could all disagree without presuming those on the “other side” to be ill-intentioned.
Ultimately, I think all perspectives should be represented, whether or not they’re “useful” to my cause. And I want to give you credit where it’s due, for being a young woman speaking up, louder than I am, having the talk that we all need to have. A talk which I think many of us fail to acknowledge is one that can’t be had without hearing the other side, and actually listening.
I aspire to be as much of a catalyst and voice of my cause, one day, as you are of yours. And lastly, regardless of where you stand on the wall, I just want to thank you for building those bridges, and starting those conversations, and reaching so many people, myself included.