Best-Of Advice, Thoughts

On walking the low road

“To engage with them at all is to walk the low road”. Coke I have been with you since 2010 when I was fresh out of high school. This brings a tear to my eye. We don’t move forward or have our own ideas challenged without engagement. You haven’t lost a reader, I will never allow myself to be in an echo chamber like you are creating for yourself. I started disliking what you have to say for a couple years now, but recognize the value in hearing what someone I disagree with has to say.


You’ve missed my point entirely. I detest an echo chamber. I need to be challenged by people with opposing viewpoints. I long for the dialectic, and I am desperate for worthy adversaries.

You don’t need to tell me that we don’t move forward without engagement. I’m with you 100% on that point. The problem is that the Trump-loving religious/alt-right has degraded into an infantile, reactionary horde of the cruel, the ignorant, and the stupid. When I say to engage with them is to walk the low road, I mean it.

Trump and all his little Trumpkins simply aren’t capable of joining the rest of us on the high road, and by the rest of us, I don’t just mean liberals or Democrats or those who think like me. I mean anyone with the capacity for rational discourse. I mean people who can rub a few words together and form an original thought. I mean folks who aren’t actual fucking neo-Nazis.

There was a time in this country when the political right was represented by some genuinely brilliant bastards. They were privileged pricks with their heads up their asses, but they were articulate and well-schooled, they were worldly, and they could defend their political views with thoughtful debate using legitimate lines of reasoning.

Take William F Buckley Jr. for instance. That dude was one of the most gaping assholes of the 20th century, but he was smart as a fucking whip. His positions were loathsome, but he knew what he was talking about, and his arguments were exquisite. Say what you will about Buckley’s opinions, but the man didn’t just walk the high road; he fucking paved it. Is there anyone in Trump’s camp articulating the conservative world view at the level of someone like William F. Buckley Jr.? Fuck no. Even Buckley himself thought Trump was a monster.

Take Henry Kissinger as another example. He’s one of the most evil motherfuckers to have ever walked the earth, worse even than Dick Cheney, but he was dangerously intelligent and he knew his shit. He was the very definition of a worthy adversary on issues of conservative diplomacy, and when it came to public discourse, he always walked the high road. Is there anyone amongst Trump’s nominees who has half the brains of Henry Kissinger? Fuck no. They’re all Kissinger-sized scoundrels, to be sure, but with the added indignity of being a bunch of lackeys, lickspittle, and know-nothing corporate goons.

Over the years, there have been a number of right-wing thinkers with whom I have vehemently disagreed, but I still followed their work, because I knew they were making the very best case for the other side — magnificent assholes like Thomas Sowell, George Will, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum, and occasionally even David Brooks — but their voices have been drowned out by idiots of such magnitude that I can barely stand to keep listening.

The death of the eloquent conservative voice began during the era of Reagan and finally reached what I thought might be rock bottom during the era of George W. Bush, but things have gotten cartoonishly worse since the rise of Donald Trump. It’s gotten so embarrassingly bad that even Glenn Beck has taken a step back to wipe the shit off his shoes. I’m sorry, but when the likes of Tomi Lahren and Alex Jones are considered legitimate news sources worthy of citation, you can’t deny that there’s nothing left but low road, and you can fuck right off if you think I’m going to walk it.

I refuse to engage the opposition at so low a level, and I refuse to normalize Trump’s administration by dignifying its mouthpieces with any kind of legitimacy. They are simply not worthy of my validation. They are not worthy of yours. If you can’t see that, maybe wipe that tear from your eye and start paying attention.


63 thoughts on “On walking the low road

  1. Jen says:

    Yes! I get frustrated by many things, but what feels the worst is that so many illogical and false arguments have lowered the bar and become accepted to the point that I’m considered to be close-minded when I really am just rejecting complete bullshit. Thank you for articulating this and giving me some additional sources to read.

  2. ken says:

    I also had to give up talking to my Trump friends. They started telling me, “the NY Times has it wrong, once again” when we would talk about things in the world and the Trump campaign because some talking head on TV told them so. You can’t bring facts to a stupid fight.

  3. Becky says:

    A very earnest question specifically for you, Coke, which I hope you’ll respond to. Given that we lost the election “fairly” (inasmuch as the system is shitty but nobody broke the rules), it seems like we DO need to somehow bring people from rural areas in. They were, after all, the ones who came out and elected Trump. It also seems to me like there is a lot of very strong evidence that we lost because we were too self-congratulatory and too self-righteous, and we became so lost in our own smug sense of Knowing and Being Right that we completely lost touch with the people who haven’t had the same kind of access to that learning that we’ve had. We left a lot of people behind because they weren’t fit for the academy, and in retrospect, that was kind of awful of us to do. For me, this past election was a humbling wake-up call that we can’t just brow-beat people into progress, but I’m honestly at a loss as to how we can correct that. I assume when you say we shouldn’t engage with Trump supporters, you mean the hard-line alt-right types who use fun phrases like “libtard,” go out of their way to mock the idea of safe spaces every time someone suggests Black and Brown people ought not to be shot in the streets, or who spit the word “millenial” as though it’s profane–and not the ones who held their nose and voted for Trump to see Clinton lose, or the ones who voted for Trump because they are so angry with the lack of representation of their interests on either side that they wanted to see the system burn, or the people who have never had a chance to learn how to identify reliable sources of information. I don’t feel like those people are beyond reaching. Do you? And if you don’t think they’re beyond reaching, how can we reach them? What can we actually do to fix this?

    As an edit, I also am wondering how to reach the people who just didn’t vote at all.

    • Chris says:

      When the whole scene is viewed as only 2 parties that fundamentally do the same wrong shit (torture, kill US citizens on foreign soil without a trial, give a 0% tax rate to the super rich – that’s a real thing), that’s a problem.

      Many voters could not identify with either wealthy, white, best-selling (ghostwritten) author of a candidate. I was so surprised the Clinton ticket did not include someone of South or Central American descent. 27MM Hispanics were eligible to vote. Texas alone would have brought her up to 270.


      • turkroach says:

        Tim Kaine was the DNC chair in 08. Stepped down to let Hillary’s friend DWS take over. Coincidentally it’s proven that DWS hindered Bernie’s campaign. It was awfully nice of Tim to give her the seat, I’m sure he didn’t expect anything in return 🙂

    • Strangely Rational says:

      “we lost the election ‘fairly’ . . . nobody broke the rules”

      How does Russian interference in our election figure into that, though? Even Trump can’t deny that anymore.

    • Mr White says:

      I know this is late, but a couple things:

      first, as I’m sure you’re aware at this point, saying “nobody broke the rules” is pretty dubious, and at this point I’d bet my life savings (which is substantial) on the opposite, so – yeah, let’s just TL;DR and say they cheated, both in colluding w/ Russia and in suppressing voters, and by lying out their disgusting asses about nonsense like emails and Benghazi, and despite all that, Hilary still won the popular vote, so she was the PEOPLES choice. Imagine if Trump had won the popular vote but lost the EC, we’d never hear the end of that! He wouldn’t shut up about how he was “robbed” by an unfair system and how Hilary won on a technicality. Think about it- you KNOW he’d be saying that, even now well after the election. He’d probably build a media empire on it.

      Anyways – back to the second thing, which is your statement “it seems like we DO need to somehow bring people from rural areas in.”

      Ok – here’s the problem We tried bringing them in. Anyone tells you that we didn’t, or that we didn’t have any policy ideas other than “we’re not Trump” is lying and probably a fucking moron. We do all kinds of things to try appealing to these people – WE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. The problem is, we’re facing an adversary (the GOP) that will LIE, cheat and steal, to convince those rural voters that we are bad and the enemy. They invent shit like emails and Benghazi and “we’re coming for their guns” to get these people to vote out of fear, and there isn’t much we can do to combat that – at least not that I can think of. Can YOU think of a way to effectively stop people from believing lies, or stop liars from telling lies? I’d love to hear it. They also have a media wing (Fox News) that is constantly reinforcing the idea of the “elite SJW liberals”, painting us like annoying Lena Dunham’s, which is basically the opposite of what rural people would ever want to identify with. Even if they liked some Democratic policies, the GOP has done such a good job of branding us as “snowflakes” that are weak on military to the point that they’d STILL vote for the Republican, just cause they feel like that’s who represents who they are personally. It’s actually a lot of identity politics, which is ironic when you look at the people who always bitch & moan against that… yep, the GOP projecting, once again!

      So basically, we’re not doing anything wrong, the GOP is doing everything wrong, but they cheat, and we are trying to win by “fighting fair”. We need to stop doing that, and battle it out in the trenches with these lowly fucks. And you know what? If those rural people your’e so worried about, if they see us be tough and fight those assholes – they might actually feel comfortable in voting for a Democrat, so I guess I’ve answered your question when I wasn’t trying to.

  4. Betsy says:

    Coq thinks we’re the future, even if this is a shitty setback. I don’t know if we are. My fear is that the women’s rights of the past century or so were just a (mild) exception to the patriarchy trend of millennia. If anybody has some hope to offer, I’ll take it.

    • Stephen says:

      You are the future so long as you are willing to fight. If you march, if you organize, if you do anything within reason (and legal limits) to push back against the GOP agenda, you are the future. You may fail at times, and you may face blowback for fighting. Expect failure; it is a stepping stone to success.

      The future belongs to those who fight the hardest for it. If you want to be the future, start swinging.

      • Betsy says:

        I agree, and I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I’m not in the US but I’m donating to orgs, supporting good journalism, and will prob look for something to volunteer – likely a women’s org.

        At the same time, I suppose I was asking for something more trite. I’m seeing a lot of people I trusted become complete misogynistic assholes, and it’s really, really discouraging.

        • Stephen says:

          I wish I could help with that, but I lost a friend over this election – someone who was an okay person save for giving their vote to Cheetoh Benito – and I still struggle with the impulse to try engaging with Trump voters (and dumbass conservatives) on a level above the average Trump tweet.

        • Mel says:

          If you’re in the U.K. join the Women’s March on London! It’s inclusive so anyone who wants to join the cause can come along.

        • Strangely Rational says:

          I’m less inclined to believe that people became complete misogynistic assholes than that they simply came out as complete misogynistic assholes.

          In other words, it was always there but was kept beneath the surface until encouraged to come out of hiding by being legitimized by others. There’s a mob out there disguised as reasonable people; it’s only when someone stirs it up that you see who the voices of reason really are.

          This is a good thing, because it means that we’re more likely to be able to address the problems in the full light of day, instead of futilely trying to convince people that yes, sexism really does still exist. It’s not a bad thing to discover that someone you assumed was a friend is really an “enemy.” It hurts, yes, but far better to see a harsh reality than stay blind to a cozy illusion.

          • Right on!!
            I grew up in AR with those closet bigots and live with them to this day in WA State. They aren’t confined to the old south or the rust belt, they’re everywhere.When I can’t avoid discussing recent politics with acquaintances I find myself embarrassed for them, for their willful ignorance. And that, the willfulness of it, the fact that they don’t want to know any better is what bothers me the most. They don’t want to know facts that disprove their long held beliefs in the lies of the far right radio and Fox news. If they stay ignorant they don’t have to think beyond the fact that the world is going to shit and it’s someone elses fault. My immediate response to the election was, “The patients have taken over the asylum and we’re all in deep shit”.

    • Jason says:

      I believe there are a lot of answers to this that are all valid, but the most concrete one I can think of is that our education system is shitty, we’ve only put money in certain parts of it, and generations have now grown up failed by the system. They weren’t taught history or politics or the nuances of racism or how the government and law works or even how to treat others. We all started out as children with a singular view point, and schools failed to cultivate a sense of curiosity or interest in others, and anyone who didn’t find a way to teach themselves or was privileged enough to receive a decent education has now grown up to repeat the cycle.

    • Monochromicorn says:

      Because we’re basically just apes on ritalin, and the fact that we have anything at should be surprising as fuck.

  5. Doomsayers says:

    Thank you dearly for reviving the word scoundrel and bringing my attention to lickspittle.

    I believe poster is flailing towards the compassion we all want to feel. We don’t want to turn our backs on fellow Americans, or anyone, because they are stupid. We don’t want to give up on them because they are ignorant. We don’t want to isolate them because they are grievously mislead. There exists in our dumb liberal hearts a desire to find their redemption in reason where they have damned themselves with malicious hypocrisies. That is the tear that falls.

    The salt in that tear is recognition of greed where the enemy is already rich and a dark future for those who have been conned.

    So some of us try to reach out when we have strength, and when we don’t, we return to our epithets and attempts to slash at our attackers. All the while, we know it doesn’t help. When Mitch McConnel can’t even abide his own words, we know we do not have integrity in office, and all that is dark about humans lays pen to legislation.

    • Stephen says:

      The way I see it, we can feel empathy for Trump voters – after all, they put themselves into the same situation every other American will face come January 20th. But that empathy can only be base-level “I respect your right to exist” stuff. Anything beyond that would normalize their bullshit and give them more respect than they deserve.

      • Doomsayer says:

        Until we truly empathise, I don’t feel we can really crack this problem. We have to get to the heart of what motivates such hatred and maliciousness. How much of it is real, and how much is manufactured as scaffolding for a flaccid self image? How much is born of fear and why is it taught?

        We really need a movement in the education system to teach the “blue eye brown eye” experiment. But so few people are qualified to run it.

        • Doomsayer says:

          I looked into the abyss last night. I was in a live chat where people were mourning the farewell, and others were spewing hatred and insanity. I don’t know how to get to those people. they are so far away from reality. It’s like talking to a chatbot, the thoughts aren’t connected or grounded in any sort of reality. I don’t even know how they are human. The only thing that kept me from wanting to kill myself right that moment was that there were far more tears than hate.

  6. Joe says:

    Have to say I agree. You know from an email I sent to you, I tried engagement (or at least I was willing to) because I thought, the problem is everyone is being dicks to “the other side” and no one feels heard anymore; someone needs to take the first step across the gap!


    I listened to a few people, and found myself staring into an abyss of madness. They’ve been roped so bad by the rhetoric that it’s just not worth sussing out the details any further.

    That is NOT to say that there aren’t those of us on this side of the line, too, who are also swirling around inaccurate narratives that we cling to because they feel good.

    Still, you’re right, Trump’s rise to power is legitimizing people like Alex Jones. And now, Fox News is going off about how “saying there is fake news is the fake news itself” so we’re just completely fucked.

  7. Elsie says:

    Seen on NPR last night: a Trump supporting unemployed registered nurse recovering from an opioid addiction in need of medical care, who accepts Obamacare at the same time disparaging it and mouthing false news stories.

    The red rurals have been poisoned and we can’t fix it. We can attack the supply chain that provides them with populist nationalist narratives. We can pressure media organizations to plainly label Trump fabrications as falsehoods. We can register every young man and woman to vote.

    The pendulum will swing back. It is imperative we make sure that happens in four years instead of eight.

  8. Nona says:

    I am not a US citizens so question to all of you who agree with CQ answer : how are you going to NOT engage* with the 63 million of your co-citizens who voted for Trump ?
    Face it, people had different reasons for voting for Trump. It’s OK to call them out on tacitly condoning the rhetoric spewed by the racist pussy-grabbing hateful orange monster. It’s right to refuse to engage with a degenerate ideology. But how the fuck do you not engage with the people themselves** ? And who the hell is going to elect a Democrat in 2020 if you don’t ?
    Maybe we’re used to it here in Europe because we have fascist third parties that can and do pose an actual threat, and maybe I’m used to it because I’ve been speaking to low income white voters of all ages from when I was a baby communist (and actually 1st 2nd 3rd gen immigrants who vote for the racists and the fascists).
    Their reasons for voting are varied. The feeling of exclusion from political power and discourse is obvious. But there are other policies that resonate (often borrowed and twisted from the 60s progressive left) : frustration at globalization, the open market economy and woes about national sovereignty.
    And I have to say, I have to agree with them on some level. And the social-liberal left has no interest in addressing these issues. Heck, we did it before when we were the leading political party post-WWII, but even getting our national communist party to get their heads out the liberals asses and talk about decisive issues is hard.
    The focus on policy lost Clinton her election to a sensationalist. You can vehemently disagree with the racism of Trump’s campaign; but part of the cure to his infection is to engage with the ideological questions that preoccupy his voters.

    * by engage, I mean talk about policy, ideology, and win the fucking argument.
    ** not the hardcore unapologetic ones. Just the regular ones.

    • G says:

      “by engage, I mean talk about policy, ideology, and win the fucking argument.”
      Right there is where you’ve made a mistake. Trumpists were never engaged in talking about policy. Trump’s “platform” was stuff and nonsense. So really, who has failed to engage? They didn’t vote for ideas to fix those things. They voted for pouting with their thumbs shoved up their asses because it felt good to do so.

    • Aletheia says:

      I engage with those that *wish* to be engaged. I have come across a handful or two of them, but… yeah. The vast majority of Trump supporters (online, at least) are the hardcore, unapologetic, “if you don’t lavish daily tongue adulations upon Trump’s asshole, you need to die,” “LOL butthurt libtards” type, and there really *is* no engaging with them… :/

    • Betsy says:

      I think there’s far more value in engaging with the people that stayed home and didn’t vote for anybody. It’s a significant chunk – turnout was fairly low this time around. Some of them are pretentious as hell but at least their brains haven’t fried.

      Also, it’s not like Trump is this immensely popular president – his approval ratings are the lowest for a President-elect in modern history, IIRC.

    • Strangely Rational says:

      “how are you going to NOT engage* with the 63 million of your co-citizens who voted for Trump . . . by engage, I mean talk about policy, ideology, and win the fucking argument.”

      I’d like to make a distinction here between people who are Trump supporters vs. people who voted for Trump. The two are not the same.

      Trump supporters are those who actively approve/d of what he represents. With those people, it isn’t possible to “win” the argument. That’s been made clear throughout the course of the campaign. They do not respond to facts, logic, or appeals to basic human decency. It’s not like nobody tried to reach them. We did, and it didn’t work.

      People who weren’t/aren’t active supporters but voted for him because they thought Clinton were worse might be reachable, but there still has to be a serious disconnect there when it comes to priorities and reasoning ability. It’s not impossible, but it’s going to be a challenge. Enough of one that it is a waste of time to try and work on people in the former category.

  9. Larissa says:

    Coke does it again. That brilliant bitch.

    I have also been following her since 2010 since graduating from high school. Religiously. I disagree with some of her rhetoric but to stop engaging with her or reading because you disagree? Jesus Christ.

    I personally choose to step away from whatever hellish moronic garbage decision making orange man makes because I have my own shit to deal with. I’m still informed, though. You have to be if you’re living in it. I have family members who are racist and ignorant and anti-intellectual. Can’t avoid the Trump talk. Still love them. Will I let my future children be around them? Probably not. This isn’t black and white and it isn’t going anywhere. Maybe I’m a gaping asshole for disengaging? Some peace needs to exist. Some love. But don’t turn your back to anyone and don’t get too fucking comfortable. We are magnificently screwed.

  10. Jason says:

    Finally! I disagree with people like John Kasich, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, but I think they have intellect and valid views and I respect them as politicians even if I don’t respect all of their opinions. Trump and his ilk aren’t worthy of respect or engagement, because unlike the politicians I just listed, they don’t attempt respect or engagement in the slightest either. And maybe not all Trump supporters, but Trump and his cabinet and posse of neo-Nazis do not give a shit about anyone but themselves.

    There are those on the right who are trying to do what they think is best and right for their country and others, and while I disagree with their methods, we both share a common goal.

    Trump does not care. He did not campaign for president to ‘Make America Great Again,’ he did it because he’s petty and power-hungry and wanted to piss off Seth Myers.

    He wants to become the greatest, richest, and most powerful man that’s ever lived, and this dream of his is entirely selfish and excludes the benefit of any person who stands in the way. I’m not just talking about those who oppose him, even his supporters who get in his way with their own needs are tossed aside.

    There is no point in engaging neo-Nazis and fascists like Trump, because their opinions don’t just differ, they disregard others entirely.

  11. Rose says:

    Yes, yes, yes. This articulates what’s been in the back of my mind for so long. I’ve engaged with friends and family all over the political spectrum- from hesitant, single-issue Trump voters, to racist Republican grandparents, to nihilistic libertarians, to peaceniks, to- maybe my least favorite of all- liberals who play perpetual devil’s advocate in an attempt to appear enlightened. I’ve wasted so much time in the past arguing with these people, on Facebook and in person. I’m tired of being told I’m pretentious, that I live in a “bubble”, and that I need to understand other points of view by people who won’t even attempt to meet me halfway. My new New Year’s resolution is to stop wasting my breath on these chuckle fucks.

    • Alice says:

      I don’t think so. It’s like fighting with that kid at school who just responds to all your arguments with farting noises. There’s no ground to be gained, just wasted energy.

    • Regina says:

      Smart evil is predictable and logical. This gives you the opportunity to prepare a defense. Dumb evil is chaotic and serves no other purpose than to release hatred and anger.

    • Kait says:

      Not if the dumb evil is smart enough to do the bare minimum or even cheat to ensure it controls things (focuses on swing states and likely voters)

  12. Monochromicorn says:

    Right on.

    I’ve come to understand that ignorance is not stupidity, and that stupidity is cultivated, usually because there is something to gain. You can’t argue with someone intent on sowing that garden.

  13. Diggin says:

    There is a distinction between not engaging with a Trump voter at all and not engaging with someone who is incapable of empathy. I have only met very few of those people, they are closed-minded, bigoted and cock-sure. They make up 1-2% of the population and they will be never be persuaded. In a few days they will occupy your government, and for too long they have occupied your media. Coke is right, engaging with them is futile.

    However, we must be tireless advocates for the Trump voter, their marginalisation is the right’s capital, so are their fears. The exploitation of their fears has been enabled by dismantlement of institutions that looked after their education and well-being. The “otherness” that they project onto others is the otherness that they feel.

    Our voices must be louder than the voices that propagate their fears. When we advocate for better standards we must advocate with them in mind because their advancement is so closely linked to our own. Simply put, their engagement is tied to our progress.

    • grouch says:

      I’m convinced there’s basically two kinds of people who voted in the last election – the people who know they lost, and the people who don’t know they lost.

  14. grouch says:

    That was beautiful. I almost wiped a tear from my eye for opposite reasons.

    Relatedly, something interesting is going on in Canadian politics right now. Our right-wing party (the Progressive Conservative party)has taken a sharp turn to crazytown over the past 20 years. We thought our previous prime minister was as bad as it could get (sound familiar?), and now, the PC party has a leadership race happening. There are 12 announced candidates, of which 2 (and one who hasn’t announced yet, but probably will) are worth talking about.

    Kellie Leitch: former paediatric orthopedic surgeon and business school prof who denounces “elites” and praises Trump, and regularly says alarming and idiotic things.

    Kevin O’Leary: a shitty Canadian reality tv businessman who is bad at business, also an asshole, running because Trump inspired him to do so.

    Michael Chong: A polite, educated person who believes climate change is real, a pan-Canadian identity that transcends cultural differences is a good thing, and the way to fight climate change is through aggressive carbon pricing and deregulation.

    I’m going to join the PC party just so I can vote for Chong in the primaries, because my disagreements with him are about policy decisions, not reality and who is a person. I value worthy adversaries.

    • Kait says:

      Ugh. KKKellie Leitch is actually my MP. She held two fucking ministerial positions under Harper and now rails against “elites.” How many ministerial positions do you need to be considered elite, Kellster? 2? 3? More than 5?

      The thing about KKKellie is that her riding is rural Ontario. We aren’t diverse, we’re pretty white and I’ve had people tell me that’s exactly why they move here out of more diverse areas like TO where they “feel like minorities” (oh? Are minorities treated badly in this country or something? I’ll always regret not saying that back them). But the problem with Leitch’s rhetoric is that people hear it and actually harass and assault minorities and people they judge to be “not Canadian.” But KKKellie’s never going to see that in fucking Creemore, will she? It won’t be her constituents getting assaulted. Like, this isn’t a fucking game, you absolute piece of shit. And she doesn’t believe it. You can hear it in her voice when she speaks. It’s all so that she’ll win. A gross part of me cannot wait for O’Leary to end her campaign with the snap of his fingers.

      Here’s what I hope for KKKellie: she wouldn’t deign to actually come near any of us plebs (her website and Facebook have stopped listing her campaign events). We’re not good enough to shine her shoes, in her mind. I hope she holds rallies with these mouthbreathers. I hope they come up to her afterwards and look her dead in the eyes and say, “Good on ya, Kell, I never liked those *insert racial slur here*s either.” And I hope she fucking goes to her grave knowing that the vilest element of society sees her as one of them, and she did it all to win and ultimately lose in the end.

      In summary, fuck KKKellie Leitch.

  15. Strangely Rational says:

    Count me among people who appreciate a worthy adversary.

    In my dealings with religious conservatives, I can think of one person I consider to be a wicked smart worthy adversary. I usually disagree with her conclusions, of course, but she makes some of the best logical arguments I’ve seen on that side of the fence, ones I actually find challenging to debate. I’d much rather have a discussion with her than someone I agree with.

    Not coincidentally, she’s the religious conservative I know who is most strongly opposed to Trump.

  16. Soooooooooooooooo says:

    Voldemort was voted prime minister of magic and u want to discuss it with his supporters? The death eaters surely have something intelligent to say about why the voted Lord Voldemort. Bellatrix and the Malfoys did it for just reasons.

    Makes sense to me.

  17. Kai says:

    The important thing to remember is that the typical alt-right/fascist dickhead you encounter on the Internet isn’t remotely interested in a good faith debate. They’re snot-nosed schoolboys who wave their fingers in your face and chant, “I’m not touching youuuuu” until you get frustrated and give up.

    They know their opponents are inclined to be civil, so when they do stuff like, say, harassing a random trans person on Twitter, they weasel their way out of the consequences by wrapping themselves in technicalities. Because, you see, they didn’t physically harm anyone, and anyway don’t you care about ~free speech~? Worthless trolls like Milo Y can continue outing closeted trans kids and siccing his rabid fans on them because those actions are “only” speech, and he can continue playing the “I’m not touching you” game as long as he *just* stops short of direct violence.

    At this point, if you want to make any kind of social progress, it’s better to focus your energy on protecting vulnerable people, rather than debating with the assholes who hate the very existence of said people. Don’t prioritize debate; the fascists certainly aren’t.

  18. Mo says:

    Yes! This is why I love you. You took something I’ve been attempting to articulate for several weeks now and made it eloquent. I’ve been watching Buckley’s tv debates on YouTube lately and while I disagree with most everything he says: he has rational arguments. We’ve allowed people incapable of rational and productive argument to take control of the conversation. There’s no point in debating when the person you’re opposing isn’t able to converse in the realm of reality.
    Thank you for this.
    The conservative side needs to step up their game and stop being the party of anti-intellectualism. They’re not doing themselves any favors.

  19. Kait says:

    But the thing is, dear letter writer, there’s no middle ground to be had on most topics. The false equivalence that plagued the election campaigns and dominates most of our important social conversations is just that: false. Yes, for some issues, the truth is a compromise, but for others, it’s not and can’t be. Like, if I support trans people in their lived experiences and believe they should have the same rights I do and a Trumper thinks they should be electrocuted into “becoming” cis or shouldn’t even exist, then I can’t meet that person in the middle and… what? Mandate conversion therapy for some trans kids? Execute some trans people?

    There’s no middle there. I can’t concede that a climate change denier’s opinion is “as valid” as my own simply because she has that view. That is what’s disingenuous, to pretend that there is something inherently valid about another’s opinion due to the simple fact that someone holds it.

  20. turkroach says:

    Your problem is the rhetoric has escalated on both sides to a very high degree. It’s impossible to reach across the aisle in any direction right now. In a normal election we would be calming down by now, but thanks to liberal narratives the rhetoric is artificially inflated with constant hopes and fears of usurping the presidency. It will calm down when your media gives up and stops manufacturing crises about the next big thing that will stop Trump. If you want to empathize now, the first thing you should read is a wikileaks analysis from conservative media, and then verify them on your own. Liberal media has largely downplayed the leaks and let people think they can write it all off as a big nothing, or worse, russian propaganda. Just try this one list.

    Ignore number 10 it’s stupid, but that doesn’t diminish the other 99, especially because you can read them yourself.

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