We’d better start talking — and listening — to each other

We need to learn to talk to each other respectfully.

Here’s a bit of a sad story. I was invited to join a group that promised people with different views could discuss them civilly. What a concept. Within a day, I was called a “libtard” and a couple slightly less offensive things.
I tried, but it just took two days for me to realize this was a place to argue, not discuss, and I left the group.
Why can’t we talk?
Well, for one thing, we’re encouraged to see anyone who disagrees with us as stupid, and to let them know how stupid we think they are.
I have a number of friends and family members with whom I have deep, deep disagreements, but we can talk about them. If I see an angry right-wing post, I might disagree and explain why my perspective is different, or I might just keep on scrolling, knowing they’re operating from a different set of “facts.” I won’t change their minds, because they’re as certain that humans aren’t causing climate change as I am that humans are destroying the planet. I have pulled some people a little to the left on some issues. I have met anger with quiet calm — until you call me a “libtard.” Then I’m likely to type a nasty response and leave.
If one of my progressive friends is disrespectful to a conservative friend who just wants to discuss an issue, that person gets a single warning.
If I get a troll, that person is blocked immediately.
Yes, I get angry at what’s happening, but I’m not going to blame it on the voters because they’ve believed the lies fed to them by Fox News. Voters are little more than the lambs being led to the slaughter. Corporations lie, big money buys the election by peddling lies and we bicker over stupid things.
I had a friend the other day who was incensed over the fact that news organizations called the people who were bombed in Sri Lanka “Easter worshipers” instead of Christians. I pointed out that the two are synonymous, since no other religion celebrates Easter. Also, more than 300 people are dead, and I don’t think their families care about whether they were called Christians or Easter worshipers. We went back and forth a couple of times, and I finally just said, “More than 300 people are dead. That’s what we should be focused on, period.”
How did this friend get so upset? I’m betting he saw an outraged “Christian” talking head on Fox News who saw the phrase as an attack on Christians, that poor persecuted minority.
This is what we have to fight, not each other.
When I comment that I won’t vote for another candidate who doesn’t support Medicare for All, a living wage and dramatic changes in environmental policies, I’m letting the DNC know a year in advance that they will lose again if they try to foist a “centrist” on us again. I am not participating in a “circular firing squad,” I’m trying to let it be known that they need to let the voters decide.
When we stop talking, we wind up with the most disgustingly corrupt, venal and backward administration in this country’s history.
Fascists gain power by dividing people into small groups so they can win.
If we stay on this road, our Democracy will be dead in a decade, if not sooner.
If we stay on this road, our planet will become uninhabitable for humans — all humans — in a century.
We need to find ways to talk, and we’d better do it soon.
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