Talking to people face to face is a great concept, but it doesn’t work if one person is just faking engagement while secretly trying to persuade the other. A sincere mutual curiosity and tolerance is needed. I wonder if you might enjoy this TED talk:

Jochen Wegner: What happened when we paired up thousands of strangers to talk politics

Unfortunately, the sincerity seems missing on the Republican/conservative/Trump side, in my experience. All my “right-leaning” colleagues seem to be in the talking business, just like their demagogues on Fox. They never shut up. They aren’t interested in learning anything. As far as they are concerned, they already have the whole story (and it can always be summed up very easily as “The Democrats are destroying America.”) Different events, different conversation, same take-away, every time.

You’re asking a lot to ask me to extend respect and show tolerance and patience for yet another one of these “conversations”.

I routinely make the effort to peel the onion of stories and issues. I google. I read. I do my own due diligence. I utilize fact-checking resources. I look for long-form pieces at the highest level my background allows me to comprehend.

They make no such efforts. They just parrot talking points they hear on Fox or Facebook. They are frequently unaware of bigger context, and they are always oblivious to the logical fallacies they’re using.

We — the readers, learners, responsible citizens, the curious, the humble, the observant … are really very angry at the Republicans/conservatives/Trumpists, because they let themselves be deceived and blinded by lies, because they compromised their own values, because they looked the other way, and because they couldn’t or wouldn’t ask themselves if the impressions they were taking away from Fox News and Facebook were logical and complete. We think they just believed what they wanted to believe, did no real research at all, suspended their values and critical thinking, and ended up hurting us all as a result of their bad choices.

Republicans and conservatives who voted for Trump owe the rest of us an apology, and not just for the 2020 elections, but for all the extraordinary damage of the last four years. Trump decreased competency and nonpartisanship in all the branches of the federal government. He ballooned our debt (before Covid hit), increased wealth inequality, and decreased the effectiveness of our foreign intelligence and diplomatic and security agencies. He only thought to use Covid as a political prop, when lives could have been saved by calling for unity and sacrifice and really getting testing and tracing going.

I know several people who voted for Trump whom I respect in many ways. They love their families. They take care of their communities. They give generously to charity. They are helpful and supportive at work. They are, in most respects, high-character people.

But they screwed up in their civic duties. They were unprincipled and lazy in going along with the misleading impressions and narratives created by Fox and shared on Facebook. They let themselves be deceived, when just a little due diligence or critical thinking would have exposed the logical fallacies and misinformation and hidden narratives. They didn’t want to see it, so they didn’t look. They were irresponsible at least, and it isn’t a stretch to call them willfully negligent and reckless, too.

I cannot go along with calls for mutual respect and more engagement. I put in the time and thought needed to be a responsible citizen while they didn’t, and their support for Trump and Republican Party fascism screwed all of us, big-time, as a result.

They should apologize first. Then maybe we can talk.

By the way, tax breaks for the wealthy are bad fiscal and social policy, man-made global warming is an established fact, and historical data, not blind respect for authority, is the proper source for faith in vaccines and public health.

Here are a couple of other excellent and informative TED talks you may enjoy:

Bjorn Lomborg: Global priorities bigger than climate change

Chad Frischmann: 100 solutions to reverse global warming

Conversation mover. Engineer. GenX. FL-CA-AL-TX-Korea.

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