Respect is the key to a united America; belittling Trump supporters is unfair and unproductive

By Gary Abernathy

A united America requires a willingness to be respectful

When they hear themselves discussed in the media, supporters of former president Donald Trump must sometimes feel like they’re from a faraway universe, strange creatures being examined like an exotic species. They’re called racist, stupid, traitorous and other such adjectives, when in fact they are American citizens living their daily lives just like everyone else.

It’s a phenomenon I discuss in my latest Washington Post column, including how the media should return to the basics of good journalism:

Considering the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism recently found that the U.S. media ranks last in trust among 46 countries, some self-examination on this issue should be welcomed. In 2016, the New York Times decided to start applying the word “lie” to many of Trump’s claims. “We owed it to our readers,” executive editor Dean Baquet said at the time. Others followed suit. But using words such as “lie” and “falsely claimed” in news stories arrogantly supposes an absolute knowledge of truth and makes it appear the news outlet has chosen sides. So stop calling people liars… Instead of writing that election fraud is a lie, or Republicans are “falsely claiming” fraud, go back to the style that worked for decades: “Republicans again claimed the 2020 election was rigged, but no evidence has emerged to support that allegation and courts have dismissed all suits challenging the results.

I suggest that people learn how to respect those who hold different opinions:

There’s no big mystery to effectively communicating with Trump supporters — or for Trump supporters to communicate with everyone else. Treat each other with politeness and courtesy. Respect other opinions even if you disagree. Acknowledge each other’s patriotism and love of country. Don’t assume you understand each other because you’ve read some think-tank analysis. Reach out, be curious and start a dialogue.

The piece published online yesterday, and while I’ve received many thoughtful, civil emails expressing a willingness to try to understand and communicate with the other side, I’ve also received many like these:

“Hard to talk to ignorant, uneducated, conspiracy loving, q following, traitors.”

“For most of the inbred peasant halfwits who support trump, the time for a conversation is LONG over.”

“F—- that message of yours, Gary. (Ed. note: The word was spelled out, of course; same with the next email.) It was bad news in 2016, worse now. You want me to donate more of my time to tickling stupid-by-choice bigots and fundamentalists who just want someone to follow blindly?” 

“F—- you. F—- your beliefs. F—- your political party. F—- all of it. Play nice? Work together? That ship sailed, you sorry sack of s—-. You worthless c—— had your chance for 100 years to work together in one capacity or another, and all you did was everything humanly possible to f—- over anybody that wasn’t one of you. Buckle up, a-——-. The fight to end your worthless a— political party’s beliefs is just getting started.

And they call Trump supporters hateful.

There are people on all sides who are obviously content to live in a divided America. That’s sad. We don’t have to agree with each other politically to treat each other with respect, and that goes both ways.

New Cleveland baseball name sounds like a comic book

The Cleveland Indians were the latest to change their name, which they’ve had since 1915. The new monikor is “Guardians.”

Yes, the Cleveland Guardians will be taking the field next year. Until then, they’ll keep using “Indians,” which seems odd. Is the name “Indians” somehow not offensive through the rest of this season?

“Guardians” sounds like a collection of comic book heroes. It’ll take some getting used to.

NYT guest essayist makes good covid argument

On covid, allow me to recommend a good piece in the New York Times by guest essayist Bethany Mandel putting the “Delta” variant “surge” into perspective. She notes:

(W)hile we keep hearing that the Delta variant is raging, here and around the world, it’s important to keep some perspective in mind about where we are and where we’ve been: In January, we saw an average of 200,000 new cases per day; now we’re seeing a fraction of those peak numbers. And while the average number of hospitalizations increased 32 percent from the previous week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 97 percent of those entering the hospital were unvaccinated.

Advocating more of an emphasis on vaccinations, she also shoots down the notion of new mask mandates or lockdown orders:

If new mask mandates and lockdowns were to be ordered, compliance would largely depend on the willingness of the populace to do so. It’s not a heavy lift to imagine that the only places willing to comply with lockdowns again are the places that least need to do so — localities with high vaccination rates, and as a result, with low numbers of hospitalization and death.

Check it out here.

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