Maybe We Won’t Have To

I have made it my life’s work to know and love people who are very unlike me. As a result, I have a wide network of friends and contacts all across the political spectrum. I’m speaking to you all right now.

I wish you all knew each other the way I know you.

Most of the people you fear, or even hate, aren’t what you think they are. I know this, because I know them.

You could, too. The common ground is there. It might not be much, and it might not be something that’s all that important in the grand scheme of things: baseball cards, ‘40s movies, green chili. It might be something more consequential: losing your mom, a cancer diagnosis, raising kids, staying sober (or not). You all live in the same world; there are countless ways to connect.

Even as I write this, I can hear you thinking “Why should I? They [fill in the blank here].”

I know. Has it occurred to you, though, that human connection is a weapon? That it will be harder for them to hate and fear you after you’ve connected over your shared love of watercolor landscapes or good ice cream or jazz whatever it turns out to be? Has it occurred to you that they will have a hard time coming out of that experience unchanged?

So, of course, will you. Which may have something to do with your reluctance, if we’re honest.

Y’all are all over my feed promising not to give up fighting for your cause no matter what, and I’m not even gonna try to talk you out of that right now. But I’d like to see you add one more promise: commit yourself to make a human connection with someone that — if civil war broke out tomorrow — you would probably shoot.

Because then maybe you won’t have to.

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