For a number of years now, our society has been hurt by sloppy thinking, oversimplification, and the distortion and denial of reality. To get out of our current mess, we need to think more clearly. We must stop lumping people together into wholesale stereotypes. Reality is more complex than that. You DO support reality, don’t you?
Let’s avoid the seductive trap of binary thinking (“us” vs. “them,” etc.).
We will not save our nation by merely defeating the people we think are wrong. The people who were defeated simply go underground and come back again:
Example #1: After World War I’s Treaty of Versailles heaped abuse upon Germany, the German people came back with more extreme nationalism and World War II.
Example #2: Even though the Union army defeated the Confederate army in the Civil War, they did not defeat racism, so even now – a century and a half later – racism still poisons the U.S. and some people fly the Confederate battle flag.
Even military generals understand that in order to defeat another nation in war, they need to UNDERSTAND the enemy. Smart generals do NOT simply accuse and blame the other side. They know they need to TRULY UNDERSTAND the other side. This is true of people who disagree with each other politically, even if we are not using physical violence against each other.
True understanding can lead to compassion, and compassion can lead to healing. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” How much progress could we make in our society if we were to truly understand the sorrow and suffering that many Trump voters have suffered? Let’s start by understanding them. Then move forward.
I encourage people to watch “How to De-Polarize American Society,” my November 2020 TV program on TCTV cable channel 22 three times a week this month (every Monday at 1:30 pm, every Wednesday at 5:00 pm, and every Thursday at 9:00 pm). Also, you can watch the video and/or read the thorough summary I typed up of what we said at this link on my blog: http://parallaxperspectives.org/how-to-de-polarize-american-society I posted some additional resources at this link: http://parallaxperspectives.org/de-polarizing-american-society-more-resources
If you watch this video and/or read the thorough summary I typed up, you’ll see this is a very different approach to dealing with the U.S.’s current political crisis. We do not name any politician or any political party. We do not seek to defeat “the other.” We talk about healing our nation’s polarization.
Even while we want to win electorally, the society-wide problems will persist, so we must deal with them wisely and compassionately to promote healing so our nation can actually solve problems.
The article at this link was published before Biden defeated Trump. It is highly relevant now — and relevant to what I wrote in the blog post above: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/11/the-elections-troubling-message-even-if-trump-loses-americas-political-civil-war-isnt-over/?utm_source=mj-newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-newsletter-11-04-2020