I had dinner the other night with family. I was less than enthused about attending because I knew there were going to be a couple of family members there with whom I imagined there might be some tense conversations. I just shared with you my ideas about “What Divides Us”—how we need to find a way to bridge that massive gap between us and try to listen so we can talk, discuss, and learn.
I was wrong. It’s all bullshit! Facts don’t matter. I had zero interest in engaging in an utterly pointless political conversation, but it really was the elephant in the room. I won’t rehash the details of the evening but I’m guessing you can imagine. Things ended abruptly, with my antagonist shouting, “I voted for Trump, and I’m voting for him again because I like what he’s doing! Yeah, I know he’s a pig, but that doesn’t matter.”
Some people can’t accept things on face value; they want to know what makes it real or how it works. It’s how we’re wired. How does an internal combustion engine work? Why does a north-to-north magnet repel, while a north-to-south magnet attracts? Others are comfortable just knowing that the engine runs and that magnets do what they do.
Susan Shapiro recently reminded me of George Lakoff’s writings (thank you, Susan) about understanding the foundational position of people’s moral arguments. Many people don’t argue from a position of broad knowledge or experience; rather, they operate from a “gut feeling,” which trumps any amount of history or logic or reason that you might offer.
I don’t remember if it was effective tax rates, or unemployment numbers, or any of the other handful of topics that we had no real discourse about, but things ended with my counterpart ending the conversation with a desperate shove from the table, proclaiming loudly that he was done. He’s just a working man, and he likes what Trump is doing, and that’s all there is to it.
I have to say that I’m offended by the excuse, I’m just a “working man” and its implication that, “I’m the salt of the Earth that makes the world go ‘round.” I’m a working man, too, and I can guarantee you that my difficulties in life have been exponentially more difficult than this “working man’s” lot has ever been. He’s a chump who has no idea what adversity even means.