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Why we can't give up on each other. (Or: Holy crap, Glenn Beck!)

I saw this on a friend's Facebook page today, telling his Trump-supporting buddies to get lost, and it admittedly resonated:
I strive to be a man of peace and I will always be cool if we find ourselves in the same place. But if this circus clown gets elected, I will never forget what you have done.
I want change as much as anyone, but you’re standing by a monster who boasts of committing sexual assaults, won't reject his endorsement from the fucking KKK, taunts his audiences to physically harm his critics and rejects religious freedom and other rights that generations of Americans have fought and died to earn and preserve.
This election season has been deeply trying to all of us. As it culminates, it's natural and easy to wonder how the hell we can live with the other half of Americans whose values so repulse us. Maybe it's time to divvy up the country? Liberals get the coasts and Great Lakes states, while conservatives get the rest? Might that be safer than trying to stick together?

What I keep trying to remember is this: The people we are today — the thoughts, the worldview — are not set in stone. We can change. For example, Glenn Beck*:
“I did a lot of freaking out about Barack Obama.” But, he said, “Obama made me a better man.” He regrets calling the President a racist and counts himself a Black Lives Matter supporter. “There are things unique to the African-American experience that I cannot relate to,” he said. “I had to listen to them.”
We have not always been this polarized. It's not a given that we need remain this polarized. But some of us are going to have to change our worldviews. And all of us, all of us, are probably going to have to listen to experiences that we cannot otherwise relate to.



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Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

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