Once again, ugh.
On Election Day I wrote Hate. I think it's clear that the United States hasn't healed since then. The reason I'm thinking about this again is because of the recent manifesto from a recent ex-Googler. You can and should read the whole document. Here's a link. However, I'm not going to talk about the document. I instead want to know how we can come to understand each other.
I don't want to say I hate Donald Trump. But you could say that I do considering that I made a "Fuck Trump" sign and put it up in my old apartment's window for months and also took it to the March for Science rally in Boston. I don't like Trump, I don't like what he stands for, I don't like the fact that somebody like him is able to succeed in the United States. But I also have been to trying to understand why someone would support him. I've been reading r/AskTrumpSupporters for almost a year now. Yes, the internet might not be the best place to look for opinions but I think that this community is definitely better than some other Trump positive reddit communities. The problem is, I don't think I've learned that much.
It's hard to have a reasoned discussion with someone when you know that they hate you. Or assume they hate you. With so much racism, sexism, and homophobia in the past and still too much now it's hard to rationalize with someone who you assume hates you, not because of things you had under your control, like enjoying pineapple on pizza, but instead hate you because of things outside your control, like the color of your skin. In my mind there's nothing wrong with being a different color or being female or loving and marrying someone of the same gender. There's nothing wrong with being a woman who loves technology or being a man that loves to take care of others.
And if you were a Trump supporter who told me that you do think black lives matter, that you support gay marriage, and that you did not support Trump's Muslim ban, I would be confused, I would ask you why you support Donald Trump. I don't think I can rationalize with someone who thinks that one group of people is superior to another group of people. I don't think I can rationalize with someone who thinks that the union between a woman and a woman shouldn't provide the same rights and protections as the union between a woman and a man. I don't think I can rationalize with someone who does not want to provide safe refuge to people trying to flee their war torn country.
You would need to convince me that your positions are not rooted in ignorance, fear, or hate. That you don't fear Islam, that you aren't ignorant about what minorities and women deal with, that you don't hate LGBTQ people. Maybe instead you think that abortion at any point is murder, maybe instead you think that less regulation in the economic market is good, maybe instead you think that we need to support jobs in coal, oil, and gas.
I would then ask if you don't care about the other issues with Trump and his administration. Is less economic regulation more important than the lives of people who depend on the Affordable Care Act? The problem is that our viewpoints are probably too far apart, we may agree on some things but on other things it will be impossible to agree. And I think that's part of the reason why we haven't gotten any closer as a country, it's because in some regards we're past the point of no return, we're too far apart.
In other regards we aren't. We need more understanding to reduce ignorance, we need more knowledge to reduce fear, we need more love to reduce hate. If we can reduce the worst parts about us, all of us, then maybe we can start to get closer again.