Rally to Restore Sanity = the tone argument in meatspace.
Not everyone is going to be nice and quiet when they ask for their rights. They’re not going to be sane, either. And they don’t have to be. Because you’re denying them the things to which they are entitled as human beings. To be detached and “rational” about things is a privilege of those a safe distance from the problems under discussion.
We are often too quick to equate civility, rationality, and sanity. The revolutionary may be rational and sane but not civil. An enthusiast may be civil and sane but not rational. The psychopath may be civil and rational but not sane. We an be justifiably angry and exhibit some, all, or none, of the three.
I’m a lot more ambivalent than JGH on the Tone Argument. It’s true that it’s a lot easier to speak calmly about things that don’t really affect us. We should not confuse detachment or distance for impartiality. We’re not being reasonable if we demand that others step out of their comfort zone and into our comfort zone before we listen to them.
But I don’t agree that rationality is a privilege and luxury reserved for those safely distant from the problems under discussion. Apathy masquerading as objectivity is easy for those who are either detached or have a vested interest in ignoring a problem. It’s not really a way of meeting anybody on common ground. Nor is unharnessed anger or open hostility. Neither bridges the gulf between groups or people. Both are … tone deaf. Or, perhaps more accurately, both prevent us from hearing or being heard.
Speaking passionately in a way that connects with those who need to year your message or listening earnestly to those who need to be heard are both rare and wonderful gifts. Both of those, yes, are exercises in tone. If those are gifts you have—it’s important—for all of us—that you use them.