Saturday, November 5, 2016

The essay I posted yesterday, "Letter from a Red County; or, The Election: A Love Story," has been picked up by Vox Populi for wider distribution today. I am moved by the thought that the editors of a national outlet believe that an election-week story of ambiguity and restraint is worth disseminating.

Of course there is evil in the world, and we must acknowledge it and fight it. Often that means identifying particular human beings who are embodying or promoting evil. But we also have to live with our neighbors after this election is over. Most Trump supporters are not "deplorables." They are confused and confusing. They are human beings, with small hopes and fears, with large hopes and fears. Labels hurt, and they divide. They are a form of bullying, and we should not stoop so low.

I think that many fervent partisans see argument as the only righteous response. If we don't argue or promote or proselytize or battle, then we are weak. I don't agree. I think, sometimes, we need to mute our voices. We need to step away from any sense of ourselves as educated, elite, clear-thinking. We need to "live within," not always "live against." It's painful, yes. But it may also be a moral necessity.

I am amazed, and not amazed, at some of the responses this essay has garnered on Vox Populi's Facebook links. Clearly Republicans do not have a monopoly on cruelty. It seems to me that progressives need to take a good, hard look at our own flippancies, assumptions, and inhumanities.

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