Secret History

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This is something I bear in mind while interacting with Trump voters. When you find someone, for instance, who starts ranting about the evils of welfare, it’s almost certain that the person you are speaking with is living right on the edge, and terrified of plunging into the abyss.

And, as I learned two days ago when my wife and I attended an event at the Moore Community Center hosted by the Alliance for Maine Women about what’s at stake in the 2018 elections, the way to reach out is not to attack from a position of intellectual superiority. The best chance of connecting, forging a friendship, and freeing someone from the ideological shadow world of Fox News, is reaching out, as a fellow human being, and asking the person in front of you where their beliefs come from—why they think the way they do.

It won’t always work, of course, and you may run into people you find reprehensible, but usually they just slam the door in your face before any discussion can begin. And yet, if Daryl Davis can bring dozens of members of the KKK back into the real world, it is indeed possible for us to get that 40% of American voters who still approve of our president to at least wonder if they’re on the right side. We can’t abandon them.

Remember, too, what our first and only poet-president Lincoln said. The words are just as applicable today as they were 150 years ago:

“With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

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