Your average liberal (a totalizing concept we’ll use just for this hypothetical) tends to be on the right side of history on the issues of race, class, and gay rights. But they also tend to stereotype big business, religion and the south as indicators of exploitation, hatred, and ignorance.
At this point, I’m sure I’d have a few left-leaning acquaintances who’d be more than willing to argue that religion really is a means of spreading hate, that big business really does nothing but destroy the environment, that the south really is of lower general intelligence.
If you can find someone who can successfully do so without resorting to strawmen, appeals to emotion, or cherry picking, please send them my way. Indeed, it’s usually these and other logical flaws that our average liberal points out in his conservative biased counterpart.
Why am I even bringing this up? Outside of just casual interest, I think this sort of observation can explain a lot in our current political climate. We have a good host of conservative people who are angry and willing to commit to their anger by electing a racist demagogue to our highest office.
When I see liberal appeals to these folks, I usually see derision. I see condescension. I see people who aren’t willing to see the other or even acknowledge their issues. This inability to converse with the other, someone who’s in pain, both seems to be setting us up for a very high stakes election (let’s be honest guys, defeating Trump ought to be easy and it hasn’t been so far), and also seems to expose a blind spot in liberal values.
If nothing else, perhaps acknowledging your own biases will help – on the off hand you actually meet someone who will admit they’re supporting Trump – to hear them out. All they want to do is be heard, they want to know that their pain is real and that others see it. Right now, the only guy doing that wears a Cheeto-stained badger on his head. The party of the poor and working classes shouldn’t have to work this hard to appeal to the poor and working classes. Listen, don’t tell. You’re listening to folks who are especially tired of being told. Just as the LGBT community rightfully called on false empathy to conservative politicians hat ‘prayed’ after Orlando, finding your Trump supporters and preaching to them about how the Democrats will fix their problems is going to seem like a false empathy. Instead, just listen. Just hear them out. You don’t have to agree – Lord knows you probably can’t. But just listen. And maybe you’ll figure out why so many people are willing to go through such drastic measures to be heard.