Usually when I sit down to write out my thoughts on a political event, I write because I want to express an idea to resolve an issue. In fact, I would venture to say that most political writing is a reaction to some current event, with an idea of how this event can/will/should be handled.
Today that is not why I am writing, though. Today I am writing because I am looking for answers. And I am hoping if I put my questions out there, other people will start looking for answers, as well
Recently, I did something that I often try to avoid doing. I got into an argument with a Trump supporter. I often avoid this, because, for whatever reason, speaking to any Trump supporter seems to always end up about as productive and clarifying as a Kellyanne Conway interview. In this particular conversation, I became roped in as I knew that the person I was talking to was a working-class person, and his reasons for supporting trump, at least from outside appearance, were not because of some overt racism. The man I was speaking to really, truly believes that Trump is going to fix the economy and save the working man, if you will.
What baffled me about this conversation was that no matter how much evidence I brought forth to this person regarding Trump’s true motives, he did not believe me. In the age of “alternative facts” perhaps this should not come as a shock. However, this person seemed particularly level-headed, so I persisted with him.
[gdlr_quote align=”right” ]How do we organize in a world where “alternative facts” and double-think abound?”[/gdlr_quote]
I called to his attention the Republican Plan for healthcare, which includes slashing medicaid and medicare. I spoke of Trump’s promise of using American materials for the Keystone XL pipeline (another issue in itself) which were imported from Russia, and his initial nomination of a Labor Secretary that was opposed to overtime pay, wage increases and even a minimum wage.
Over and over again, this person rebuffed my physical evidence by simply refusing to believe it. Let me say that again, he refused to believe physical evidence brought before him, simply because it showed Trump in an unfavorable light.
Relate and Win?
This is what leads me to my question, which I ask quite sincerely; How do we relate to and educate a working-class person who refuses to believe physical, quantifiable evidence? How do we organize in a world where “alternative facts” and double-think abound? And most importantly, how do we win?
Dorothy Emerson says
It seems clear to me that we cannot “win” arguments with Trump supporters, so perhaps this is not the best strategy. What we can do is to have conversations in which we find places we agree–like goals we have for ourselves, our families, communities, etc. Explore how we can work together to make those things happen. After establishing common ground, shared values, etc. then maybe we can talk about what sort of public policies will best work to help us accomplish those goals. Then, and only then, can we approach the question of whether or not Trump’s policies will help or make things more difficult.