A glimmer of hope yesterday, and then a reminder of the vast darkness that surrounds that glimmer.
Nick Kristof publishes a stunning op-ed in the New York Times entitled My Most Unpopular Idea: Be Nice to Trump Voters. In it, the high profile liberal columnist urges his liberal readers to reconsider their approach to their compatriots who voted Trump into office. True, he admits, that there are vast ideological differences in this country, but having been raised in a red state himself, he knows that those vast number of Americans who live between the two blue coasts are not bad people. Further, he asserts, the best way to sway them toward more liberal views is to dialogue with them, which obviously will not happen if they are immediately insulted and pushed away.
Regardless of one’s political bent, it’s a lovely expression of both basic humanity and clear-minded rationality. And if that’s what you are hankering for in these troubled times, then just read the article and move on. Do not, by any means, continue on to read the thousands of comments offered by Kristof’s readers.
Admittedly, there are those that, like the column itself, restore your faith in people’s ability to be self-reflective and considerate. But there are others, many others, that not only blast Kristof for his attempt at conciliation and even-handedness, but go on to declare their utter disgust for those who don’t see the light as they do.
The title of Kristof’s article indicates his keen awareness of the response he would garner, and he should be praised for the courage to express his convictions nonetheless. One would hope that this type of outreach will become more commonplace in thought-leaders on both sides of the aisle, and that it will slowly erode the vitriol that has infected so many of their readers and followers.
You can read Kristof’s op-ed here.
Marc Erlbaum, Contributor