Not mine, found online.

What is meant to do is make you think that understanding their side means that they are also correct. And that is you don’t do this exercise, then you’re not the person you say you are, you’re what you accuse them of being. This is projecting and this is leveling: “no you”, and “you’re just as bad as me”, your anger at their bigotry and viciousness and threats means you’re just as terrible a person as them. It’s meant to guilt you, to make you feel like shit, to make you question yourself and your commitment to your values–so that you ultimately quit objecting and quietly accede to their wishes. It’s mental and emotional abuse. This is a basic tactic of abusers.

You need to differentiate between

  • Understanding what the other side wants
  • Understanding where your commonalities and disagreements are
  • Understanding what the other side says
  • Understanding what people on the other side hear when you speak
  • Understanding what the other side’s tactics were
  • Understanding why the tactics of the other side worked
  • Understanding that not everybody can be neatly categorised into sides
  • Understanding who is on what side


  • Conceding that the other side is right
  • Conceding that you are wrong on everything

The first category is useful. And (straw man alert) just because you voted for Clinton (the person less likely to start a nuclear war, which is the one single issue most pertinent to all of us non-Americans), you are not automatically a good person and right on anything else.

Election forecasters being wrong does not make conservative policy right. Mainstream media occasionally lying about Trump does not make Trump a truth-teller. Trump acting stupid does not make you act smart.

Understanding the stuff in the first category does not mean you have to accept the second category.

Trump winning the election does not make him right on everything, but it makes him right on who was going to get elected.

Or phrasing it slightly differently:

Think back to 8 years ago, when Obama swept the country. How much did you see, then, of the core right wing saying, Gee, we go the country wrong

…did you not notice them just winning an election? They clearly did enough analysis of the country, and then change of their platform, to swing several black, latino and white Obama voters to their side.

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