daring to listen (Political Addition)


 

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Lets be clear the nation IS divided.  It’s Democrats against the Republicans and Fox News against other cable networks.

The polarization between the two parties has grinded our government to halt, our government isn’t working.  Most of the states have closed primaries not only binding the hands of voters but severely limit the reach of politicians.

The polarization has spilled over into our daily lives with some Democrats believing  Republicans are inherently evil and Republicans believe Democrats are attempting to eliminate traditions and values they hold dear.

At a resent social event, a gentleman announced his family would LEAVE if there were any Republicans there.

She watches MSNBC and can’t be trusted.  He’s clearly a right winger, because he watches Fox News, they all are.

Throughout my travels it’s not uncommon for people I know to say.  Why are you going there?  Its dangerous for black people or I wouldn’t visit that state because they are (fill in blank)  The reality is most of these people who have developed these strong opinions have never visited these places.  Or get all their information from one source.   They make their decisions based on rumors or wise tales ” I know this women who went there and “

If its printed it has to be true.

It isn’t difficult to manipulate people who rely on one source for their information. Fewer people read newspapers today, the credibility of the stories created by the organization. can damage that organization.

There is no such standard online.     An blog say Sacratomatoville post can create a story and that can be shared with millions of people within minutes.  Only a very small segment on social media fact checks a story with a few established media outlets they simply share the story.

Last year a blogger created at story that accused Hillary Clinton was running  a child sex ring out of a Pizzeria in Washington DC. One man was arrested for firing a gun into the restaurant.  A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on December 6–7, 2016, asked 1,224 U.S. registered voters if they thought Hillary Clinton was “connected to a child sex ring being run out of a pizzeria in Washington DC?” The poll showed that 9% said that they did believe she was connected, 72% said they did not.     The Russians were very astute as there are millions of Americans who get most of their news via social media, manipulation isn’t difficult.

Everyday People

Last year I visited 17 states .  I left the interstate and got lost on the smaller highways and roads linking rural communities. Visited places like Ozuna,Texas, Missoula, Montana, and Clines Corners, New Mexico.  You get a good sense of what the community issues are at local a non-chain restaurant.  Where some of the locals gather everyday, you hear their opinions about local and national issues.

One man in a restaurant  didn’t see me in the diner in Sweetwater Texas when he said “that Nigger Obama has ruined his country.  While he didn’t didn’t noticed the 6.4 350 pound black man, everyone else did.   One waitress said, she thought he was a good man .   Most of the conversations ended in the restaurant as the patrons waited  for my reaction.   I continued to read my book and eventually things returned to normal.

The man who made the comment, stood by my table and slowly apologized for calling Obama  a nigger.  He just didn’t like him, he was too high and mighty.  He wanted to take away  guns from good law biding people. He has had a gun since he was six year old.  Everybody in his town did, its how people lived in small towns.  He made it clear that he didn’t hate black people and he wasn’t prejudiced or anything like that .  He knew all black people voted and loved Obama.  He just didn’t like all things he changed around, notably “Gay Marriage.  He said, he didn’t hate the gay people, he just believed marriage was between a man and a women.   He said he had no faith in the Supreme Court because they get everything they want and they ignore God believing people.

Before we knew it, he was sitting at my table exchanging views.   He knew I was from California because of my accent and that I was educated because I sound like the blacks on TV.      We talked about Gay Marriage, crime, Donald Trump ,  black lives matter (he supported Ted Cruz and had a thought Ben Carson was a decent black man) .

I learned the world was moving too fast for him.  He grew up in a world a personal checks and pay phones.   Throughout the conversation he kept apologizing for saying nigger in my presence.  It was Black people who helped pull big truck out of the mud during a downpour.  Even though he will never visit California, especially San Francisco.  We sort of had a meeting of the minds. That gay people being married wont affect him or his family.  We learned from each other, no opinions were changed but we both left with greater understanding and respect.

I met many amazing people in 2016 in places I wouldn’t imagined and made a few friends along the way.   My only agenda was to listen, not to convert.  Every person, town or community has a story.  Being a very curious person, I simply wanted to hear the story.

In 2018, I hope to have an extended visit in the south and to visit Appalachia.

“Dare to Listen”

I believe its important to hear the other side.     We can learn from many things from anyone at anytime.  If we dare to listen freely and without judgement.

Until enough of us are willing to hear the other side , we will continue to be divided.

CityFella

 

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