Monday, February 20, 2017

Dumbfounded

One month ago today, January 20th, I was on a bus bound for DC to participate in the Women's March. It was during the bus ride that I decided I really wanted to engage in conversation with the "other side". I watched my fellow marchers devouring books, seeking information, desperately trying to understand these people who feel so differently about the direction of our country and our country's institutions.

I haven't been particularly successful at stimulating dialogue on the blog but I have had ongoing conversations with some of my more conservative family members on their Facebook pages. I am discouraged and dismayed by what I hear, but determined to keep the conversation going as long as they are willing. (No one has unfriended me yet.)

I started this invitation to dialogue with these questions: where do you get your news? what sources do you trust and why? A handful of my liberal friends have responded but I can't get any response from conservatives, on the blog or in private. This exchange yesterday left me dumbfounded:

She:
The media works overtime to make up bad stories about Trump, and swoon over Hillary. ...
 Me:
I've been trying to reach out and learn more about how we get our news and information. When I read what you say about "the media" it makes no sense to me. But it's equally clear that what I say makes no sense to you. I have a few blog posts on this subject. Please read and comment on the blog (you can be anonymous if you prefer). I really do want to understand.
She:
You really can't see how biased the media is? Even liberals talk about how the media always sides with the left.
Me:
"The media" is not one monolithic entity which is why I'm posing the question. "The media" is tens of thousands of journalists writing & producing for thousands of print, video and digital outlets. Our democracy depends on this activity: scrutinizing, questioning, demanding transparency. When 45 suggests that all media that is not favorable to him is "fakenews" and lies about everything from the size of his electoral victory to what he said the day before (on tape, in front of dozens of journalists), we should all be very afraid. It is a nail in the coffin of democracy.
She:
No, the media does not determine democracy and we are a republic not a democracy. The majority of the mainstream media is biased and that is a fact. 

This is pretty consistent with what I'm seeing in my (admittedly limited) "conversation" with conservatives: I can't get an answer to the question about what they read or where they get their information, only attacks on professional jouranalists. From 45's mouth to the ears, via sensationalist videos (carefully edited to remove any clarifying context).

This is what we're up against, friends. It really is an alternate reality where anything that doesn't fit the limited world view simply isn't real.

#FactsMatter
#MakeAmericaThinkAgain

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