Thank you for joining me in this discussion. Your response has shown me that my initial writing did not fully convey the message I wanted to send, so allow me to clarify a few things.
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I respect your decision to reach out and contest my points. I believe that dialogue like this is important, and helps us grow as a community. However, I take serious issue with the large number of assumptions you made about me as a person, and the heavy dosage of condescension which you laced throughout your writing. I believe the idiom, “Attack the idea, not the person,” is an essential piece of constructive dialogue, and so I will continue to live by it from here on out, even if you chose not to conduct your own writing in the same way.
You quoted my words, saying that they betrayed my narrow perspective. I believe you came to this conclusion because I was not clear enough in my original writing, and more specifically, because I failed to provide an example of a time where moments “deserve to be called out.” Luckily, you have given a perfect example of this in your own writing, so let me clarify. The kind of language that you just described from the President of the United States is absolutely unacceptable, and he should be held accountable for it. I believe anyone espousing those kinds of views should not hold a public office in our country.
This, however, brings me to the point I have been trying to make. The only way to ensure that these kinds of people are not voted into office is to listen to the people who voted for them in the first place, and actually address their primary needs. Not everyone that supports Trump is a racist, and not every conservative policy is a bad one. If we only shame, insult, and degrade the people who support Trump, they are not going to switch their vote.
Admittedly, some of Trump’s supporters do like him for how he conducts himself, and as you said, these people “are not looking for a constructive conversation.” These people will vote for Trump again in the next election, because they hold values that are directly contradictory to the values held by the majority of the United States.We must always provide support to those who are targeted by their hate speech and misogyny, and call out the perpetrators of it. But what will blindly clashing with these people actually do?
The approach can not only be to tell people that their views on society are wrong. We need to show them why these views are wrong. In many cases, this will take far more mindfulness, maturity, and patience than the status quo of political debate; but to do anything else is to accept that the United States will never be truly united.
You say that our society cannot tolerate “anyone whose political views have their basis in the persecution or exclusion of others.” I agree. That is why we cannot accept that those views are permanent. No matter how repugnant some views may seem to us, we need to hold on to the belief that anyone can change.
To make this change happen, we need to highlight the things that connect us, not the things that keep us divided. It will not be an easy task, and it could take years for noticeable change to occur, but if we want real progress to occur in this country, we need to make a real effort to get everyone on board.
A zero sum worldview made up of “us” and “them” will not result in the society we need. Since one side centers their values around the promotion of division and hate, we must uphold the values of inclusion, strength through diversity, and a united drive to solve the real issues plaguing people’s everyday lives. Anything less, and we will be stuck with a society whose fractures run so deep they will never be healed.
To conclude, the point of this article is not to say that people shouldn’t be held accountable when they say politically incorrect things. This article is expressing the dream of a society where people will stop saying these things in the first place, and giving a broad suggestion of how we can get there. I recognize that this may be too idealistic, but I believe it is our responsibility to fight for an America that we can be proud of. For me, the status quo of today is not an acceptable option.
Thank you for taking the time to read this response.
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