YOU CAN’T FORCE PEOPLE TO CARE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Many people say that there should be more dialogue between liberals and Trump supporters / Republicans. I disagree. I don’t want to try to talk to someone from Venus if I’m from Mars. We don’t speak the same language or share the same values. Discussion is pointless. It won’t result in any kind of Kumbaya moment.

I’ve been having trouble coming up with a reasonable explanation for my reluctance to reach across the aisle. I always said that we didn’t agree on basic facts so there was nothing we could even agree to argue about.

But I was never satisfied that that answer was the full story. Then I read an article in the Huffington Post, on June 26, by Kayla Chadwick. The article was called “I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People”. There it was – right there in the title! The missing piece in my justification for political isolation, or insulation.

Chadwick says it so well: “I don’t know how to convince someone how to experience the basic human emotion of empathy. I cannot have one more conversation with someone who is content to see millions of people suffer needlessly in exchange for a tax cut that statistically they will never see…I cannot have political debates with these people. Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters.”

I am willing to pay a little more in taxes if it means that millions more people can get medical care, get a good education or afford to feed their families. If you don’t feel that you, through your government, should help people enjoy these basic rights – if you see them as privileges only available to the rich – then there is no common intellectual ground between us. There is no way I will be able to persuade you to care about your fellow citizens.

“The ‘I’ve got mine, so screw you’ attitude had been oozing from the American right-wing for decades.” Chadwick, Huffpost, 6/26/17. What’s even more incomprehensible to me is that the right-wing has convinced the very people to vote for them who, under the Republicans, will themselves lose governmental support programs that they rely on. These people are voting for politicians who want to screw them and their families! I don’t understand this at all.

People are obviously voting against their own economic interests. For whatever reasons, they are also voting for mean-spirited, regressive policies. I can’t nor do I want to try to make these people understand that they too can get sick. Someone they love can become disabled and they too can become poor if they have to care for sick or disabled family members without governmental help.

I am happy to discuss how best to provide aid to those who need it. We can talk endlessly about the roles of the states versus the federal government in these programs. We can talk about the amount of aid that will be meted out. But if you don’t agree with me that every American should have their basic human needs met – with government assistance when necessary – then there is nothing to talk about. Over and out.

24 thoughts on “YOU CAN’T FORCE PEOPLE TO CARE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

    • I can understand stupid. I just can’t wrap my head around people who don’t care about anyone else – anyone who is different from them because of race, religion, beliefs, life style, economic status, educational level, etc. I think the world can tolerate stupid people, just not stupid and selfish, uncaring people with no compassion.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reblogging! I also can’t understand the total lack of empathy that seems to be endemic in this country. Maybe it’s because so many people are taught to hate ‘the others’ – anyone who is different from them in any way, including economic status. To them, everyone ‘deserves’ whatever they get, including poverty and ill health. Sad.

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    • This mean spirit has been in control of many other countries around the world forever. But it hasn’t dominated the U.S. for a long time. Even George Bush wasn’t nearly as bad as the Republicans today. Their attitudes are literally medieval!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think what worries me most is that I don’t know that these people in charge are Americans. I don’t believe they have the best interests of the country at heart. They talk about “America first” but what I think they mean is ” money first” and everything else? Who cares.

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        • The wealthiest classes have always had an undue influence on our government and the policies that govern our lives. I thought that we were beginning to rein in some of that power. Historically we have come a long way since the beginning of the twentieth century. But it feels like we’re slipping back a few steps these days, no question. I hope that this is an extinction burst and that when democrats return to power in Washington, we will resume the march towards more regulation of corporations and banks and less power to wealthy lobbies and campaign contributors. Only time will tell.

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  1. I read that article in the Huff Post and I had two reactions (thoughts?) One, I agree with the basic idea. Two, I hated the tone. I found it patronizing, superior, and elitist — basically everything hardcore red-state conservatives hate about liberals. It said (in its way) “We’re better than you.” That can only be answered by, “We won.” I think there is something very important to think about in this great divide, something I didn’t understand until I moved from what I call the “real west” to California in 1984, and then it took a while to understand it, but it is pretty clear in the way the last election shook out re: the popular vote. That realization hit home when I moved back to the “real west”, to a small farming community.

    Heavily populated areas need more government services and they are richer than rural areas, with a tax base that can share the burden. Small communities like mine believe they can take care of themselves and actually do manage a lot of things on their own hook — our food bank, for example, receives little in the way of government subsidies. The churches and the communities keep it going.

    I think it really is two worlds, not just liberal and conservative and to me that makes it even MORE important to listen and for our representatives (at least) to try to reach across the aisle and make the government work better for everyone. But with that adversarial asshole in the White House and the self-interested pocket-lining Repubs meeting in secret rooms, and the Liberals going off at the mouth rather than working toward compromise, I don’t see it happening. They all make me sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The churches and local people here are fine at managing food banks. There is no place more self-determined than a small New England town. But people in this region do NOT sneer at education. They believe in caring for each other AND assume that the government will do its part. This is true of Republicans and Democrats and remarkably, they manage to get along with each other — in one state! Imagine that! Oh sure, people make fun of the government and get annoyed with it, but over all, most people are decently humane when all is said and done. No one thinks education is stupid or that the poor and disabled should fend for themselves.

      I didn’t read the article. I didn’t want to. Too many people telling me how I’m supposed to feel.

      And as for the “conservative” party? I’m sorry. You cannot tell me that taking away health care from old people in retirement communities is okay by any standard. Anywhere. Any time. No one is going to convince me that people who seriously believe you have to be white to be right is okay either.

      Conversation needs to go two-ways. You can’t have conversations with people who have no room for a new idea their universe. And who hate you before you open your mouth to say anything.

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    • I agree that there are many different types of communities in America. Large and urban, small and rural, wealthy and poor, educated and less educated, etc. Statistically, the red states use the government services and subsidies MORE than the blue states. And the red states will be hit hardest by the reductions to Medicaid proposed by the Republican Health Care Plan. Yet blue states support government aid programs and an ACA type of healthcare even though it goes more to other people in other states. I am not just voting my own pocketbook or for what my own community needs. I’m voting for what is best for large numbers of people all over the country. 22 million people losing healthcare coverage is appalling to me, whether these people are in my state or town or across the country.

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      • OK. The point I’m trying to make is that generalizing doesn’t work. It’s not “liberal” and “conservative.” Some of the most conservative counties in the US are in heavily populated Southern California. There is ideology involved, self-image, belief systems, things people believe about themselves that may not be true. “I’m voting for what is best for large numbers of people all over the country” could be said by any voter in this nation based on what he/she believes to be best for everyone.

        There is also stupidity short-sightedness (I put a lot of Trump voters in this category) but I also put HRC and her “glass ceiling” fetish in that category. But a more “down home” example, some woman in Denver (for example) actually asked on an online Townhall kind of thing with our representative, “What’s so important about farming communities that I should care what happens to them?” I was like, “Uh, we FEED you?” I believe that it’s this complexity that makes it necessary to try to achieve a dialogue. Another reason I think it matters is that NEITHER the conservatives or liberals won the election by a landslide and got the incontrovertible mandate of the people for their agenda. I think this indicates that neither party has a clear sense of what the people want and need.

        I think that what has happened could have been necessary for people to see where they truly are and what they truly need. My rural community is going to be screwed if any of the repubs health care plans pass. Without Medicaid, the vast majority of people living here will not have health care. That will mean our hospitals will — at the very least — have fewer services for people. We have two hospitals, one of them offers maternity care and that has been there only since the ACA.

        I think it’s important to remember that in this rural region (which is red) only 51% of the vote went to Trump. That’s no great win and numbers like that appear and reappear all over the country. To me that means our representatives do us a huge disservice by NOT talking to each other.

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  2. In in this case I would have to disagree, Ellin. I know that it is difficult to interact with these people but you do have to speak with the enemy. It’s only by talking to the other side that they managed to form some sort of peace in Ireland. If ever there was ill feelings towards each other, it was there. I think this also will be true of many other parts of the world where there is war and discord.
    Leslie

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  3. Interesting Post Ellin. While i can see why you feel the way you do and agree you have every right to think and feel they way you wish, i’d point out that the only way to bring people with opposing views closer together is to focus and share/discuss what you have in common.

    Focussing more on what separates you (eg federal funding of healthcare) will only serve to increase the separation. The best way to understand someone and why they think so differently to you is to walk a mile in their shoes, spend time in their life, rather than retreating deeper into your own. You don’t have to stop thinking that everyone deserves the same level of healthcare or become a Republican or member of the ‘opposition’, but referring to a fellow human being as the opposition probably is not really going to help bring anyone together.

    You may think not everyone in your country should be together and presently you may very well be right but the USA is just one country so until there is a FAIR way of kicking someone out of it because of the way they think/feel it’s probably not going to get any better if we keep finding and concentrating on more ways we are different while not looking for the ways we are all the same. Even Trump wants what he thinks is best for his family, right? (Not that all members of his family would always agree with him, but you get the point! 😉

    love (WILLbringustogether lwbut)

    P.S. I do see that there are a number of ways that i personally fail to comply with my blogname and it saddens me, just not quite enough to yet stop myself feeling like i do, but hey…? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • Please be assured i was not implying anyone who writes on or replies to this blog was in favour of that but in Trump’s ‘America’ it IS happening right now (maybe not to citizen’s yet but who can say where he will stop?) 😦 There are voices calling for it in my country also – mostly for supporters of Muslim Fundamentalists, and we currently deport any foreign national/permanent resident who has been found guilty of a crime and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment here after their sentence has been served.

        love.

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        • It is and I deplore it. It is so unAmerican. But someone else said it yesterday and it’s true: One man can’t stop the show.

          He can’t stop the show. He can slow it down, it can make it difficult for us and worse for others. But he can’t stop this show.

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  4. Who said that? It wasn’t me. It wasn’t Ellin. In fact, it was no one on this site at any time. And if YOU keep saying it, I will block you before you can catch your breath. DO NOT START TROLLING ON THIS SITE. THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: You Can’t Force People to Care: | By the Mighty Mumford

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