“I understand the vehemence. Trump is a demagogue who vilifies and scapegoats refugees, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, racial minorities, who strikes me as a danger to our national security. By all means stand up to him, and point out his lies and incompetence. But let’s be careful about blanket judgments.
My hometown, Yamhill, Ore., a farming community, is Trump country, and I have many friends who voted for Trump. I think they’re profoundly wrong, but please don’t dismiss them as hateful bigots.
The glove factory closed down. The timber business slimmed. Union jobs disappeared. Good folks found themselves struggling and sometimes self-medicated with methamphetamine or heroin. Too many of my schoolmates died early; one, Stacy Lasslett, died of hypothermia while she was homeless.
This is part of a national trend: Mortality rates for white middle-aged Americans have risen, reflecting working-class “deaths of despair.” Liberals purport to champion these people, but don’t always understand them.In Yamhill, plenty of well-meaning people were frustrated enough that they took a gamble on a silver-tongued provocateur. It wasn’t because they were “bigoted unthinking lizard brains,” but because they didn’t know where to turn and Trump spoke to their fears.”
Thank you Nicholas Kristof. You continually impress me for daring to go where others don’t even want to follow. I have a category just for your writings at my blog, InconvenientNews.wordpress.com, which I called “Saint Nicholas Kristof.” Even if I dropped the Saint, it still often applies. I enjoyed some of the comments blowing back against you so much I recommended some of them. But you are still right. We are in a serious fight, like JR Tolkien’s epic fight for middle earth. Only this threat to both the planet and our way of life is real.
So I want to remind the angry commentator’s, and myself, your wisdom is from both love and discipline. We have to save the country and the planet. If we are going to use the democratic system, we have to think and communicate strategically. It makes no sense, as you aptly pointed out, to write off or insult the very audience that you have to educate and win over. This round of the war isn’t lost, it is just beginning. Thank you, for the lesson in tactics, manners and wisdom.
I was directed to a piece about Thich Nhat Hanh, and his followers, who counselled people to find peace even with Donald Trump. The idea was to recognize what you hate about him, has vestiges in yourself. You can therefore value your enemies, as being vehicles to help you become a more perfect, loving person. It is a Buddhist principle to value your enemies, for you can learn about your own weakness, by recognizing the weakness that making you angry.