A lot of progressives out there probably don’t read much conservative literature, I didn’t either until this election season and, some sage counsel from my older brother. Now that I have begun to read the writings of my “opponent” I find it to be the most useful thing I can do with my time spent on politics.
I read this article on the decline of race relations in the US recently. (I apologize in advance for the obnoxiousness of the National Review, as a builder of the web, their site is offensive in its pushiness, apologies.) The article really opened my eyes. It taught me about facts, facts that I didn’t know, and used those facts to tell a story I had likewise not heard. That story was gripping, compelling, even painful to hear. And more than anything, it showed me the answer to a question I’ve wondered many a time. “Why is so-and-so spouting this racist rhetoric on facebook? I know they are a decent, caring person.” Well this is why. Because some people live in a very different world from me. And if we take a hard look at the details of that world, some racism, be it flagrant or unintentional, makes complete sense. To be clear, I’m not saying I condone it, racism is never the answer, never, full stop. But it does exist, and to solve a problem, any product manager knows, you must first deeply understand that problem, its sources, how it manifests, and whom it affects. This article was a huge breakthrough in that search. And I don’t think it’s a perspective and a set of facts that I would have found as easily, if I hadn’t forayed into reading conservative journalism. As such, I am elated to have done so, and thoroughly intend to continue. I hope you do too.
This election has been horrifying for a myriad of reasons, but certainly most of all, it’s been horrifying that trump has supporters, lots of them. Horrifying that my fellow Americans would support such a lunatic of a candidate. I’m less upset by Drumpf than I am but what he’s shown me about our electorate.
The easy out, is to think: “Gosh its terrible that so many Americans are so shitty.” But that’s not American. In America, we work for the betterment of all people, not just the ones we agree with. That’s the America I believe in. We can’t write off and loathe Drumpf supporters, they are us, we are them. They are our brothers and our sisters, they are humans, who think and feel just like everyone else. I’ve no doubt they love their children and fear death, as all do. They have their reasons for supporting Drumpf, without understanding those reasons, we’re doomed to continue this horror of an election on into the future.
Republicans aren’t the enemy, partisanship is. Drumpf supporters aren’t the enemy, our own ignorance is. Hilary isn’t the answer, a political revolution is. We must stop dividing, we must start listening. Our great nation was literally built by the founders to force us to compromise. We must stop with our unending rhetoric against one another and start listening, really listening, and then face head on the very real and difficult problem of finding compromises, solutions, for all. Solutions that serve us all, not just one side of the aisle or the other. It won’t be easy, and to participate, we’ll all need to start listening not just to the opinions we agree with, but the ones we don’t.
You want a different America, be a different person. Don’t be a liberal or a conservative, be both. Black and white is never reality, it’s all gray. Face that fact, and rebuild yourself in its image.
*Climbs off soapbox*