Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017--Beat Up

I'm getting beat up by some progressive friends who feel I am again being too easy on Donald Trump.

He's so execrable, they are saying, how can I express anything but contempt for him? When the other day I noted something to take seriously in his speech in Saudi Arabia, I could feel a number of people I've known for years deciding never to speak to me again.

Though I probably deserve some of the criticism, trying to explain myself, to one I said--
For me it's about finding ways to talk to each other because Trump supporters want to influence me as much as I'm eager to understand and have an impact on them. And I am not certain about that many things that I feel they need to agree to in advance for us to engage in deep and productive conversations and friendships. For me, everything begins with understanding. Not agreeing. 
Trump people are as concerned about the country as we. It's just that we disagree about many of the things that concern us. But it is concern that unites us and so we refuse to cross each other off our lists and instead look for ways to find some common ground. It's too easy to give up because we approach things differently. And ruinous, in my view, because if there can't be some healing we're cooked.  
So I try to work on that. I may be naive about this but for whoever claims to be liberal, to me, the test of their sincerity is how open they are (how I am) to ideas about which we disagree. 
Often, it works quite well here in Maine. There are a lot of good conversations among those who disagree, there's considerable listening, and I sense some coalescence around issues that involve poor people, children, and the elderly. With poor being the common denominator. For example, most of the conservatives I know are in favor of food stamps. Actually, many would like to see the funding increased. They also want to see the abuse pruned out. So do I. We've also had some terrific talks about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and as a result seen some perspectieve shifting.
In response to this another friend said--"None of this matters. He obstructed justice. Period. A criminal offense." 

Then I received this email from Dr. S, the east coast's best audiologist--
Loved your two latest blogs. Your interactions with Jack got me thinking of more than just hearing well again. The deplorable barbarians just want to “tear it all down, start again.” I guess I would ask, what makes one think that building it all up from ground zero would result in a better outcome?  
I give you credit- -I don’t think I would have the patience, compassion, or whatever else is necessary to maintain an effective connection with any of them. Reason is, their decisions will have and have had a negative impact on our collective health, security, and environment- just to name a few concerns.
I responded--
Thanks for the tip of the hat for recent blogs. I am trying to stay sane even while crazily trying in my small ways to seek some common ground among people who are now more comfortable hurling missiles at each other. 
Dr. S said--
I need some suggestions on how to better relate to those who choose self-interest above all, profit over health, ignorance over education, pollution over clean air and water, denial of clear facts over reality . . .    
You do have your work cut out for yourself. I suspect, and hope I am wrong, that most are unreachable.
To that, I said--
One suggestion about the dichotomies you list--don't assume they aren't more bipartisan than we might think or like. Lots of progressives are greedy (choose profit) educated but still ignorant (biased i.e. "deplorables"), and do not do much more than complain about clean air and water. And around aspects of other social issues like health care, progressives are also prone to assert their own beliefs and ideologies over evidence-based knowledge. 
If we start by agreeing that both sides of the argument are not perfect, we have a chance to find some common ground. Which we need to find a way to do.
As my Grandma Zwerling used to say--"We'll see."

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home