I wish I had a dollar for every well-meaning liberal who is preaching the importance of listening to “the other side.” I grant you that such advice is reasonable when the “other side” is rational–when the “other guy” wants policy X and you want policy Y.
But I constantly read about the people who vote Republican these days, and I defy anyone to enter into a civil, reasoned conversation with individuals who hold these particular views.
Just two examples:
The first is from a report in The Washington Post about a Tennessee pastor named Greg Locke. Locke, who is 45, is head of something called the Global Vision Bible Church, and he has–according to the Post– millions of followers, “many of them online.” He gained national attention during the coronavirus crisis “when he kept his church open and defied the mask mandates of the ‘fake pandemic.'”
Locke is an “ambassador” of a movement where he and other pastors around the country appear at rallies and tent revivals preaching Donald Trump’s fraudulent claims that the election was stolen as a new holy war, according to Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, an organization dedicated to religious freedom.
Locke was on the Capitol steps on January 6th. He’s divided his small town on the outskirts of Nashville, “most recently with a book burning where he and followers threw copies of the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” series and Disney villain merchandise into a giant bonfire. He has declared he now wants to “deliver” people from demonic influences and witchcraft.”
There’s much more, and it’s all pretty horrifying to those of us who neither burn books with which we disagree nor believe in demons and witchcraft.
If that isn’t enough crazy for you, I highly recommend this column by Dana Milbank, titled “I Tried Trump’s Truth Social So You Don’t Have To.” (“Truth Social,” you will recall, is Trump’s competitor to Twitter, which banned him. It has “truths” rather than “tweets” and has been mired in technical glitches.)
And what did Milbank “learn” from visiting “Truth Social”?
Hunter Biden is involved in building and running biolabs in the country.
The CIA and National Institutes of Health are both “deeply involved” in the Ukrainian biolabs.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was set in motion by a CIA false-flag operation that was funded by George Soros.
The covid-19 pathogen originated not in China but in Shpyl’chyna, a village in Ukraine.
The bioweapons developed in Ukraine specifically target the “Abrahamic Bloodline.”
Neo-Nazis from Ukraine joined with the FBI to infiltrate the Capitol on Jan. 6 and participated in the insurrection.
Ukraine was planning to use drones to attack Russia with pathogens from the U.S.-funded bioweapons labs.
President Biden has been using Ukraine to launder money.
Ukrainian neo-Nazis controlled the Ukrainian city of Mariupol before Russians invaded.
Russia’s alleged war crimes were staged.
I also found many posts calling President Biden a pedophile (or a “groomer” in the new parlance of QAnon). I found badly photoshopped images of Vice President Harris in sexualized situations. I found ceaseless attacks on trans people, an edited video of a cat attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attacks on Disney for opposing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, references to satanic sacrifice by the “deep state,” a few racist epithets and endless accusations about Hunter Biden’s laptop and drug abuse.
When Milbank looked for “hashtag Ukraine,” he found posts produced by Russian state propaganda, and a variety of doctored images–one showed Trump holding a sign saying “Zelensky is the Avenatti of leaders,” another was a doctored video of Putin saying “Let’s go, Brandon.” There were also posts accusing Ukrainian leaders of being corrupt, and a claim that Ukraine is “defending the NWO” — New World Order.
If you have the stomach for it, I encourage you to click through and read both the report on Locke, the Christian Nationalist preacher, and the column by Milbank. Then tell me how a rational person can have a respectful, productive exchange of views with people who firmly believe that LGBTQ+ people are the spawn of Satan (and that Satan is real!) and that Donald Trump really won the 2020 election, (those inconvenient seven million more Biden votes were all fraudulent)….
I’m perfectly fine with the fact that many reasonable, sane people disagree with me on issues ranging from national health care to minimum wage to First Amendment jurisprudence. I promise that I can listen to those people, and engage in civil discourse with them.
I can’t–and won’t– sit down with the crazies.
What terrifies me is how many of them there are.