March 19, 2017… Day 59
I read a Cracked article today about how people do change their minds, but they do it quietly, indirectly, sneakily. The author was formerly socially (and fiscally) conservative and believed homosexuality was a lifestyle choice and that black people were not as smart, among other things. She was sheltered in a conservative Christian community but she gradually changed her views and her political affiliation.
She said that being nice in comments sections makes a huge difference, because quiet, non-argumentative people are eavesdropping all the time. If you act in an upstanding way, they might be ever so slightly more willing to listen to your views, and over time little cracks can form in some of their beliefs.
What does it mean for you? If you’re persistent, and patient, and genuine, and reasonable, you’re probably making a difference already, even if no one will ever tell you so. The yellers and trolls will never stop yelling and trolling (they might even get louder), but that doesn’t mean nothing’s working. They’re not your targets. If you tune out the yelling, you might faintly hear the sound of popcorn crunching in the dark.
— Christina H. in Cracked
She also said that you’re more likely to influence someone who is near you on the political spectrum. If you seem like a mostly reasonable person who believes one “crazy” thing, rather than a person with a whole suite of different-seeming values, then you’re more likely to win someone over.
I’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole. I’m too angry and dialed in. I think a lot of people from my hometown AND my current workplace have unfollowed me on Facebook. I might have the pleasure of being called neoliberal and Republican-lite and corporatist from people to the left of me. But for all of that, I am probably too far to the left to seem viable to conservative voters.
But I have tried to be calm and courteous in comment threads. Because as much as we dump on comment sections, they are one of the few places where we talk about politics with people outside of our bubbles. I’ve often noticed a conservative person being non-defensive, calm, humble, polite, and measured. And I’ve thought, “I admire how that person is conducting themselves right now.” Not the falsely polite and “reasonable” way that some people are… that way that just riles you up and makes you MORE emotional, and you know that behind that person’s calm exterior they are smugly gleeful about how wound up you’re getting (people on both sides do that). No. There’s a real authentic type of conservative commenter who knows they don’t know everything and just has good manners online. Sometimes these people actually earnestly apologize when liberals snarkily correct their usage or spellings. (Liberals, this is one of the STUPIDEST things we do. I am begging you to stop.)
I saw the movie Moonlight today, and it is too beautiful to speak of casually. I thought the filmmakers were generous with hope at the end of their story. But it makes you imagine what it’s like to not be able to feel and express a full range of emotions, because of all that’s been done to you and everything you have had to survive since childhood. It’s the sort of movie that I don’t want to write a “take” on. Sometime I might write an essay or a story that’s my “response”to Moonlight but it won’t even be about Moonlight, and no one will know except for me that it was fueled by the film. To me that honors a work of art more than just talking about it as if you know all about it.