First off, i’m going to lead with this. It’s sweary, so wear headphones if you need to, but regardless of your opinion on the outcome of the 2016 election, you need to watch this:
Trump and Clinton weren’t the problem. They’re both symptoms. Nearly half of the registered voters didn’t bother to vote because neither were appealing enough to do so. (Yes, voter suppression is a real thing and that played a part of the low turn-out, but not all 100,000,000 people were suppressed. A good percent just didn’t want to vote.)
And it wasn’t just the “ignorant poors” that voted for Trump, he had votes across the spectrum, including from minorities and women. Folks are angry. Folks aren’t being heard. This is what angry ignored people do.
Because both sides continually do the same damn thing. We shout at each other. We dismiss any reason that the other side might hold an opinion we disagree with. We’re all delusional from crap like confirmation bias, “No True Scotsman” bias, Learned Helplessness and pretty much all the stuff you can read and listen to about here. And i mean everyone. Myself included. Because i am a mammal that has a brain.
i lived in Baltimore and West Virginia. In my very limited experience, i’ve seen systems work against people for decades. Poverty is very real and not what you think. So is disenfranchisement. People have reasons for their actions and beliefs.
Look, right now, as a country… hell, as a species… we have a huge problem. We’re isolated from each other. We’re building walls figurative and literal instead of doing what we’re best at, communicating. Hate comes from ignorance and fear, but it also comes from experience and frustration.
Turn off the media. It’s lying to you because getting you worked up gets you watching which gets them money from running boner pill ads. (Side note: go watch the news from sites like CBC, BBC and NHK. Ideally, all three. They got horses to run, but in completely different races.)
Find someone with a differing political opinion, and have a discussion, not a yelling match.
1) Find common ground as often as possible.
2) When they voice an opinion or statement you disagree with, find the root of the cause. Ask about experiences they had that lead to this belief. Do not dismiss it the way you wouldn’t want your beliefs dismissed.
3) Disagree, politely. Do not try to change their mind. Seek understanding not conversion.
4) If you can tell they’re getting agitated or threatened, take a break and discuss a neutral topic like favorite foods or weather or traffic. Again, find common ground.
Do this, because that’s what makes America Great.
And on that note:
Let me note that, yes, horrible acts by people embolded for the wrong reasons should be confronted and stopped. Those who are oppressed should be spoken for. It’s going to be messy, horrible, and there’s going to be a lot of tears.
There will also be people who do not want to talk and hold opinions and beliefs that are repugnant to you. You will not be able to talk to those people. There will be others, however, that are more reasonable. You will be able to talk to them.
Likewise, i fully recognize that i “look the part” and can speak to folks without raising too many hackles. That’s my goal at least. Understand what motivates and rationalizes the sort of things that lead to what we’re seeing. This is a cancer. You don’t take one pill to cure cancer. You take a lot and hope to hell you’re taking the right ones.